Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

h1

Devotion and Justin Bieber

April 28, 2010

Breakfast television was captivating viewing last Monday morning, caused by a certain individual – Justin Bieber. My family watched as we heard the news of the live concert being cancelled, the swarming of the television studio by hundreds of female tweens and finally the one-song, studio performance of the bite-sized Canadian.

But what got my attention was the devotion of the thousands of fans to this pop (although I’m sure he’d like to be known as R&B) star. Some camped out all night at Circular Quay, others flew in from interstate, some made signs, all screamed at the sight of even a picture of Justin and all knew every word to his song. It made me reflect on our devotion to Jesus. What can we learn from these fans on how we relate to Jesus?

They were devoted to Justin, but is Jesus the one we are ultimately devoted to? Do we take every opportunity to get to know him better? Do he and his word fill our minds so that we live lives to please him? Can we not help but share our excitement over him to others? Does it lead us to do crazy things like love our enemies or get up early to read the Bible and pray?

But how do we grow this devotion to Jesus within us? We do this not by the excitement of going to a concert or stalking a celebrity, but by the ordinary activities of reading and reflecting on God’s word, being part of a Christian community and praying to our heavenly Father. It is in these ‘ordinary’ things that we see Jesus and how worthy he is of our devotion.

So if we’re excited over someone, then enjoy their music or movies or even their appearances on TV. But our devotion to them should pale into insignificance compare with our devotion to Christ. He has loved us, not by performing for us, but by dying for us. He has given us true cause to celebrate because by trusting in him we have a right relationship with our Creator.

h1

Bodies – Robbie Williams >Review

October 9, 2009

Well, Robbie is back. Just when you’d thought he’d gave in and rejoin Take That he has released a new record. In true Robbie style he has blended strings, electro/synth, a wide vocal range and even Gregorian chants (didn’t they already make a comeback in the 90s?) together to produce Bodies. However, if you’re looking for cohesion or even some hint of a steady stream of consciousness this single is not for you. The lyrics are all over the place with no overarching theme or smooth flow of ideas. This is complimented by an unrelated video clip where Robbie is riding through a desert and standing on abandoned aeroplanes. While the musical elements combine well and the chorus is strong, nothing else makes sense! I’m thinking it’s got something to do with the centrality of the way our body looks in life.

What is interesting is the numerous Christian references made throughout the track. God, prayer and even the rapture get a mention. But it’s the last thirty seconds which intrigues me. Robbie (and backing choir) proclaim that ‘Jesus didn’t die for you; what are you on?’ It leads me to ask, why do all these non-religious people keep mentioning things about God? They are so obsessed with Christian things. Robbie is obviously painting idea that Jesus’ death for humanity is ridiculous. But, if he’s not looking to Jesus, what is he looking to? Our bodies? Is all there is in life the desire to ‘look good naked’ and achieve perfection in body? I’m not sure I’m up for Robbie’s alternative. Maybe Robbie should click here.

*

*

h1

I Look To You – Whitney Houston

September 14, 2009

Okay – probably time to ‘fess up; back in the day I was a big Whitney Houston fan. I can remember mum playing ‘I wanna dance with somebody’ in the car when I was 11 and I can sing a mean ‘I will always love you’ at KaraokeWhitney Houston.

She’s done pretty well with her new album ‘I Look to You’. It’s #1 on the US Billboard & European Albums charts and is #16 in Australia this week. I haven’t listen to the whole thing yet, but the short grabs I’ve heard sound promising.

Her first single of the same title is not a standout (it just creeps in to #5 on my chart this week) but look out for the next single ‘Million Dollar Bill’- more uptempo and more appealing. She hasn’t had a great Australian track record, so we’ll she how she goes. So far she’s out-pacing Madonna whose new single ‘Celebration’ (which is unusually weak for her) has dropped out of the US Top 100.

h1

The blogosphere is a crazy place

August 13, 2009

I just found out that I’m quoted on the BBC’s chart blog for my Lady Gaga review. This blogging is a crazy business!

h1

The Ton appears on Fervr

July 14, 2009

I’m now a published writer! Well sort of. My Jordin Sparks review has appeared on the Fervr website. The Fervr site is worth checking out, especially if you’re a youngish person. It’s also good to recommend to the young Christians you know. Enjoy!

h1

Battlefield – Jordin Sparks >Review

July 3, 2009

Jordin Sparks could have continued in her ways of groovy R&B (see One Step at a Time) or catchy pop (see Tattoo); but instead she has chosen epic ballad for the first single off her new album.

The songs starts off slow and reflective (the clip starts off plain boring – the expensive car doesn’t even move!), but when the bridge comes one gets a taste of what’s to come. The song builds to a chorus dominated by Jordin’s vocal prowess. It is written by OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder (he also wrote Bleeding Love and Halo), and while the verses and lyrics are nothing to write home about and the concept is an old one (for those under 25 google ‘Pat Benatar’) the song is well crafted. The song peaks at the ‘better go and get your armour’ bit – love it! By now the clip has warmed up to one worthy of the track.

But what of its theme? Jordin sings of the common experience of what love seems to be like. What is hard for her to grasp is if love is meant to be lovely, why does it seem like war? This question can’t be answered without the Christian worldview that human relationships are fallen as we have rejected God and are inherently self-seeking. With this perspective, love goes against our nature and hence is like a battlefield (or a least a battle). Jordin’s solution that ‘you better go and get your armour’ is in fact the opposite of what love requires. Love needs the laying down of armour and being mutually vulnerable and selfless. This is the love that is modeled on and modeled by God who laid down his life to love us.

h1

Change – Daniel Merriweather >Review

June 12, 2009

One of my favourite songs from 2007 was Stop Me by Mark Ronson, featuring Australian born Daniel Merriweather. Now, he’s gone solo and Change is his first offering.

This is another song to add to the soul revival that’s on the airwaves but it’s a good one. With the marks of his mentor all over it – smooth, solid bass and drums and old-school horns – Change is a blend of all that I like in a track: fun to listen to, quality vocals (he sounds a little like Terrence Trent D’Arby), interesting instrumentation (I love the piano line), good to sing along to and semi-meaningful lyrics.

Daniel is singing about how it’s foolish to think that the world will change. Problems with violence, the environment, one’s own apathy all get a mention as endless factors in our lives. Daniel doesn’t leave us in despair but sees the solution as to ‘start asking who’s in charge’. That’s an interesting question to pose. I guess if we seem helpless to change the world we need to look to who’s running it. Wouldn’t it be great if we had hope that there might be change in the world? Wouldn’t it be great if something had been done to turn our problems around? Wouldn’t it be great if even ourselves were changed from the inside so that we can live in accord with a better world? Maybe we should ask the One in charge?

NB – For the original clip see here.