iv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1"> Pop Music reviewed at Hollywood Jesus

mUSiC indeX@ HJ
POP MUSIC FROM A SPIRITUAL POINT OF VIEW


 

 

Google
 
Web www.hollywoodjesus.com
POP MUSIC Reviews and Articles



HOSTED BY DAVID BRUCE
Web Master of HollywoodJesus.com

INDEX BY POSTING ORDER

BEN LEE: AWAKE IS THE NEW SLEEPBEN LEE: AWAKE IS THE NEW SLEEP
Review by Jacob Sahms: Ben Lee, who in interviews has said that he prefers an open spirituality to organized religion, released Awake is the new sleep, filled with quirky lyrics, spoken and sung words, and loads of questions about love, life and death. The lyrics and vernacular provide a conversational tone, in Lee’s sing-songish delivery, that is both simple in delivery and layered in meaning.
The MyriadYOU CAN'T TRUST A LADDER
Review by Jacob Sahms: The Myriad hits harder than Copeland but the fingerprints you see on their album, You Can’t Trust A Ladder, are Aaron Marsh’s. With the same angst but a bit more rock, the Myriad sorts through feelings of confusion and frustration, and a bit of hope thrown in for good measure.
Click to go to FOO FIGHTERS: IN YOUR HONORFOO FIGHTERS: IN YOUR HONOR
Review by Jacob Sahms: The latest from the Foo Fighters rocks out…half of the time. With the dual disc push of late, they provide a rocking first disc and a pseudo-acoustic second to make up the complete album, In Your Honor.
MezmerizeSYSTEM OF A DOWN: MEZMERIZE
Music review by Matt Hill: When “Sugar” came out back in 1998, I knew that System of a Down was a very . . . um . . . different band. Imagine pseudo-jazz high-hat, walking bass lines, syncopated crunching guitars, and schizophrenic nonsense lyrics, all chirped out in grandiose fashion, and you’ll kind of have an idea of what that song was like. I was completely taken. Then I was taken by the rest of SoaD’s self-titled debut. Then the stuff off of 2001’s Toxicity. And now I’m taken again.
Click to go to WEEZER: Make BelieveWEEZER: MAKE BELIEVE
Music review by Matt Hill: If you went to school during the 90s (like I did), then you probably remember Weezer. “Oh, yeah—the ‘Buddy Holly’ guys!” you’ll say. Or maybe: “yeah, the ‘Sweater Song’ guys,” or “yeah, the ‘Say It Ain’t So’ guys.” In any case, Weezer is “back.” But if you’re a real Weezer fan, you know that the “Hash Pipe” guys never went anywhere. Over the past 10-plus years, they’ve released five albums, though none has been as popular as 94’s Weezer (the “blue album”).
THE WHITE STRIPES: GET BEHIND ME SATANTHE WHITE STRIPES: GET BEHIND ME SATAN 
Music review by Matt Hill: Get Behind Me Satan is elemental. Natural. It’s about the most simple, most primordial, most universal, most basic, yet most personally dramatic experiences that people can have: love, betrayal, longing, reversals of fortune, frustration, death, coming to terms.
Click to go to THE WALLFLOWERS: REBEL SWEETHEARTTHE WALLFLOWERS: REBEL SWEETHEART
Review by Jacob Sahms: Rebel, Sweetheart
kicks off with the war all around in “Days of Wonder,” as the Wallflowers recognize the affects of their environment, regardless of how much they might like to ignore it. The optimism to rise above situations permeates the album, but the recognition of the negative environment remains, a dense fog through which hope must penetrate.
Click to go to AUDIOSLAVE: OUT OF EXILEAUDIOSLAVE: OUT OF EXILE
Review by Jacob Sahms: Out of Exile rocks with purpose. Jumping to the title track, I found a man locked in secure solitude who was led by a woman out of his loneliness into wholeness. Saved from the darkness, his territory grows and he find that “the blessings on my table/multiply and divide.” Without discounting the opportunity for romantic love (it has its own saving elements), the wisdom element came to mind: locked in isolation, lonely, and depressed, we can be saved by community and the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. God does move in mysterious ways!
Click to go to AUDIOSLAVEAUDIOSLAVE: AUDIOSLAVE
Review by Jacob Sahms: Audioslave’s self-titled album kicks off with “Cochise,” referring back to the nineteenth century Apache leader who led his people in resistance to the troops of the United States. The song urges the subject to resist temptation and giving up, to embrace life instead, to really be free…and this is the thrust of the entire album. Chris Cornell sings that “ I am not a martyr/I am not a prophet/And I won’t preach to you/But here’s a caution/You better understand/that I won’t hold your hand.” This is no self-help album, but rather one filled with hope in friendship, community, and faith.
CD InfoMXPX: PANIC
Review by Jacob Sahms: Panic, the latest by MXPX, begins with the recognition of a need—that is, the need to get the word out. In “The Darkest Places,” Mike Herrera rocks out, “ I’m shing the light on the dark places/You know and I know/We have to face this now…” With this declaration, the album steps off into the punk rock world that MXPX has inhabited for ten years and counting.
Click to go to COLDPLAY X&YCOLDPLAY X & Y
Review by Jacob Sahms: Coldplay’s latest, X & Y, searches for relationships that last and maybe more, but the blend of soulful insights and melodic rhythms are worth inspecting further. The album begins with “Square One,” as good a place as any to start. Chris Martin sings, “you’re in control, is there anywhere you want to go?” but quickly turns to “You just want somebody listening to what you say, it doesn’t matter who you are.” Here lies the dichotomy that Coldplay explores the whole way through: we make the decisions about our lives that have the greatest impact but we cannot survive in isolation—we need others.
Click to go to RAY CHARLESRAY CHARLES: Genius Loves Company (2005)
Review by Jim Davis: “Genius Loves Company” is Ray Charles’ last studio recording, completed just 3 months before he died. This record could have easily been titled “Company Loves Genius”, as each of the talented artists that accompany Ray on this record shine, and in so doing reflect the admiration and appreciation that each of them have for him and his music.
Click to go to FURTHER SEEMS FOREVER : Hide NothingFURTHER SEEMS FOREVER : Hide Nothing (2004)
Review by Jacob Sahms: Further Seems Forever drives their new album toward clarity and revelation with lead singer Jon Bunch in Hide Nothing. Their alternative emotive sound rocks a bit in celebration and definitely rolls in the down swing of life and pain. This latest album by FSF rocks with some great lyrics and heartfelt searching, as the band longs for everyone to accept the peace that they dream for the future.
Click to go to ALTER BRIDGEALTER BRIDGE : One Day Remains (2004)
Review by Jacob Sahms: Following the break-up of Creed, the niche of “mainstream rockers” was open, and some of the former members of Creed moved forward to retain their position with a band, Alter Bridge. With hopeful lyrics and driving guitar support, Scott Phillips, Mark Tremonti and Brian Marshall (an earlier Creed My big question approaching their album, One Day Remains, was, will the struggles with faith and hope continue without their former lead vocalist, Scott Stapp? bassist) joined up with vocalist Myles Kennedy to give another shot at stardom in rock ‘n roll.
Click to go to RELIENT K: MmhmmRELIENT K: MmhmM (2004)
Review by Jacob Sahms: Relient K latest, Mmhmm, has an adult sound that has been lacking in their previous outings. That is not to say that all of the fun-loving elements have been removed, but the overall themes are more involved than the past. Having been a non-fan of the band for so long, I was extremely surprised to find that Mmhmm is one of my favorite albums of the last year.
Click to go to ANBERLIN: Never Take Friendship PersonalANBERLIN: Never Take Friendship Personal (2005)
Review by Jacob Sahms: Anberlin has an alternative beat and introspective tone to their lyrics that caught me in Blueprints for the Black Market, and compelled me to hurry to purchase Never Take Friendship Personal. Stephen Christian has an ‘everyman’ sound to his voice and their depictions of relationship in the ups and downs of life come across in their angst.
Click to go to BRIGHT EYESBRIGHT EYES: I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning (2005)
Review by Jacob Sahms: Connor Oberst’s singular sound rises above everything else in the messages that Bright Eyes bring to I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning. While the supporting cast changes from song to song, Oberst’s direction and poetic approach is present throughout.
Click to go to THE AFTERSTHE AFTERS: Wish We All Could Win (2005)
Review by Jacob Sahms: The Afters bring a sweet-sounding rock and roll to faith-inspired lyrics in their album Wish We All Could Win and has earned them a slot on Best Buy’s “Up and Coming Artist” rack. The Afters are made up of Josh Havens , Matt Fuqua, Brad Wigg, and Marc Dodd, but they are joined by violins, viola, cello and keyboard at times, bringing a blend of sound that really works. In addition, the lyrics are insightful and bear a variety of interpretations, but most importantly, all are written by the band.
Click to go to WILL SMITHWILL SMITH: LOST AND FOUND (2005)
Review by Jacob Sahms: Will Smith’s latest, Lost and Found, caught my eye (because he will always be the Fresh Prince!) but there were a few songs I had to add to the blog! “Ms. Holy Roller” lashes out (initially) at Michelle, who has of late come to know Jesus, and now condemns Smith. He raps back that he has known Jesus since Sunday School and Easter, that “I always strive to be righteous, my version of God/The reason I never write verses with curses inside/The reason I never purposely hurt persons/I’ve applied many teachings of God/Searching the reaches of God.”
Click to go to YELLOWCARD: OCEAN AVENUEYELLOWCARD: OCEAN AVENUE (2003)
Review by Jacob Sahms: Yellowcard rocked out Ocean Avenue in 2003 but unfortunately, I did not experience them until late 2004. The album has been playing in my car for the last sixth months and I feel obliged to give them a shout-out here in my blog. Ryan Key’s vocals (and guitar), joined with the violin and vocals of Sean Mackin, the guitar of Benjamin Harper, the guitar and vocals of Pete Mosely and the drums of Longineu Parsons III provide ample rock and roll. The lyrics within the songs provide the listener with something to reflect on and upon further review, to relate with as well.
Click to go to HOUSE OF HEROESHOUSE OF HEROES (2005)
Review by Jacob Sahms: House of Heroes brings an edgy rock in their self-titled album that can shake the speakers and rattle the brain with some up-in-your-face attitude and intense topics. Blasting off with “Buckets,” the band caustically encourages a code of silence if you want to get paid, offering up the option of either silencing your intended message to please those who make the decisions or starving because you cannot do your job. Once you sell out in your attempt to eat, you become one of the oppressors because “There are no doctors, only victims, only butchers,” sings the band. The lack of optimism continues as House of Heroes sings that “there are no churches, only prisons, only senators.”
Click to go to MAT KEARNEY: BULLETMAT KEARNEY: BULLET (2004)
Review by Jacob Sahms: Having just met Mat Kearney through his performance in downtown Richmond at Alleykatz, I feel compelled to present and interpret the faith elements involved in his album, Bullet. Here, the soft-rapping, piano and guitar-playing vocalist drops words of substance and stories of experience on the listener. There is a healthy blend of humor and understanding that shines through his live performance, but breaking down the lyrics of the album allow us a deeper look into the mind of Mat Kearney.
Click to go to WAKING ASHLANDWAKING ASHLAND: COMPOSURE (2005)
Review by Jacob Sahms: Waking Ashland delves into relationships with the other/God from the very beginning of their album, Composure, and does not let up. InI Am For You, the I AM rises up to love and save…againstThe comfort we create to prove we’re something, we’re starving/Screaming in the night because you want answers from the one/And there’s hope again. The one is answering in the refrain, against the cold comfort in this song, and against theShades of Grey that the singer has fought through in the opening track.
Click to go to COPELAND IN MOTIONCOPELAND: IN MOTION (2005)
Review by Jacob Sahms: Copeland’s In Motion wants to put its hands on love to hold it, define it, and put a name there for all to see. In “No One Really Wins,” love takes center stage as the singer urges his beloved not to make any changes to prove herself but to just let go. “I hope that you look back before you go ‘cause grace looks back before it starts to leave…In the endless fight of grace and pride I don’t want to win this time.” In any relationship, the fragile balance between boundaries and complete interaction includes the balance of grace and pride. Grace is the thing that brings two people closer than their humanness allows.
Click to go to ATHLETE: TouristATHLETE: Tourist (2005)
Review by Jacob Sahms: Athlete’s alternative feel carries a certain amount of angst with it that relates to the ‘human condition' in Tourist. Starting with “Chances,” the vocalist admits that he needs the efforts of the ‘other,’ whether a spiritual power or a girl to take him over because he lacks the ability to start over on his own. The neediness continues in “Half Light,” and again in “Tourist,” as he spends time away from the girl/other and misses who he is when they are together.
Click to go to TIM McGRAWTIM McGRAW: Live Like You Were Dying (2004)
Review by Jacob Sahms: Having sold millions of CDs and having crossed over from country to contemporary pop, Tim McGraw transcends a genre but brings his own sound to each record. Somehow, even as he has moved out onto the ‘main stage,’ McGraw has remained grounded in his personal experiences. His grounded reality is what allows him to pull off Live Like You Were Dying for those attached to country and those who can’t stand it. McGraw is getting older and he knows it, but he’ll deal with the fear and the possibilities evenly as they are rolled up in one. That’s the beauty of Tim McGraw.

Go to SWITCHFOOT: The Beautiful LetdownSWITCHFOOT:The Beautiful Letdown (2003)
Review by Jacob Sahms: Having traveled from despair to surrender and from a struggle for consistency to hope, Switchfoot showcases the journey itself in The Beautiful Letdown. “Meant to Live” raises some of the same questions that peppered Chin: “Have we lost ourselves?...Maybe we’ve been living with our eyes half open, maybe we’re bent and broken.” “This is Your Life” can be boiled down to a life-altering question: “are you who you want to be?” How does someone make that kind of decision? It must come from knowing what matters most and by comparing yourself to that standard.

Go to SWITCHFOOT: Learning to BreatheSWITCHFOOT: Learning to Breathe (2000)
Review by Jacob Sahms: “I Dare You to Move” is the song from Learning to Breathe that was later included in Letdown—for which I will present two possibilities. One, “you”/Foreman, now a bigger player in the music scene, is being critiqued for his faith and music, exploring a misstep or the difference between “who you are and who you could be.” Two, the “you” in question is Jesus Christ who has recognized His mission, the goal of His life, and is being dared by the narrator to lift Himself up off the floor and make a difference “between how it is and how it should be.”

Go to SWITCHFOOT: New Way to Be HumanSWITCHFOOT: New Way to Be Human (1999)
Review by Jacob Sahms: New Way to Be Human explores the themes of purpose, forgiveness, and belief from the very beginning, as the title track states: “You’re a new way to be human/Where my humanity bends/To a new way to be human/Redemption begins.” Here I think that Foreman’s Christian theology really takes off. When Jesus Christ broke into human history as fully God and fully human, we experienced a closing up of the “impossible space” between who we are and who we could be.

Go to SWITCHFOOT: Legend of ChinSWITCHFOOT: Legend of Chin (1997)
Review by Jacob Sahms: The Legend of Chin kicks off with the manic tunes “Bomb” and “Chem 6A” as the themes of oppressive apathy and self-doubt seem to cloud the mind. Both songs touch on the lure of mind-numbing media and the fact that couch-potatoe-dom cannot be avoided when staring at the pictures on the TV screen. “Life and Love and Why” asks many of the hard questions about life and belonging that will be answered later in Learning and Letdown.

Click to go to U2 ATOMIC BOMBU2: HOW TO DISMANTLE AN ATOMIC BOMB (2004)
Review by Michael Ray: Is the album a solid piece of work? Definitely—it will push U2’s already successful career forward. But it isn’t necessarily groundbreaking for them. It bears little resemblance to the experimental albums of Zooropa and Pop. It’s also a noticeably different vibe than the widely successful All That You Can’t Leave Behind, which reestablished the band’s fan base in 2000.
Click to enlargeLORETTA LYNN: VAN LEAR ROSE (2004)
Review by Jim Davis: What do you get when you combine the songwriting abilities and heartfelt conviction of a county music legend with the excellent skills and trained ears of a Detroit-based rock music artist and record producer? Answer: Van Lear Rose, which just happens to be the title of the latest release by country music star and living legend Loretta Lynn. 
Click to go to WILCO: A GHOST IS BORNWILCO: A GHOST IS BORN (2004)
Review by Jim Davis: As I listened to this record, I realized that many of us spend a good deal of time trying to understand how we relate (and sometimes don’t relate) to others. With the fast pace of life, we just don’t always get the time or the opportunity to talk to anyone at any great depth or length about some of our deepest thoughts and feelings.
Click to go to ELO -ZOOM ELO: ZOOM (2001)
Review by Mike Furches: "'You've got to hold onto something that you believe / Hold onto something that makes you feel alright.'Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra have released their first new album of all new material in over 15 years. Jeff Lynne is back along with ELO regular Richard Tandy on Keyboards..."
Click to go to TOOL LATERALUSTOOL LATERALUS (2001)
Bob Messer reviews:
Every once in a while art and progression collide and emerge into pop culture. Tool's Lateralus is one of those collisions. Tool definitely shows their maturity with an emotional rollercoaster ride of energetic and often long in length songs. Upon listening to this album I knew that my review would be centered more on the music than the message. Being a musician and appreciating progressive rock music can have that effect on you. But I will still try to interpret the best I can.
Click to go to R.E.M. REVEALR.E.M. -REVEAL (2001)
Bob Messer reviews:
Well, it has been a long time since 1983 R.E.M. has been through many changes. From a little IRS demo called Chronic Town to their new album Reveal, R.E.M. has proved worthy of turning out some of the best emo-rock through the better part of the eighties all the way to the new millennium.
Click to go to MEGADETHMEGADETH -THE WORLD NEEDS A HERO (2001)
Bob Messer reviews:
There are just a few bands around today that have survived the constant shifts of metal music. The 70?s were filled with loud bands like Black Sabbath, then came the eighties? Two things happened during the 80?s, heavy thrash metal emerged. Glam rock took us by storm. Today Glam rock is all but dead, but hard hitting double bass pounding metal isn?t. The few bands I refer to is Metallica and Megadeth.
Click to go to MUSIC REVIEWLIFEHOUSE: No Name Face (2000)
Bob Messer reviews: I had heard the band's hit song on the radio and thought why not. It took me a few days to fall into, and when I did, I fell deep. Despite the critics relating them to Pearl Jam, Matchbox Twenty, Creed and Live, I think they are a solid band with very good lyrics. The band jumps out of LA and is produced by Ron Aniello.
Click to go to U2U2:
ALL THAT YOU CAN'T LEAVE BEHIND (2000)

Dan Sawyer and Bob Messer reviews:
Much more than a happy day song. Here, U2 captures the promise of hope in the midst of ugliness, as exemplified in the following excerpt: "Sky falls. You feel like it's a Beautiful Day." More to the point, it's a praise song (though not immediately obviously so). Beginning with the allusion to the parable of the sower
Click to go to CORRS -IN BLUETHE CORRS:
IN BLUE (2000)

Bob Messer reviews:
The group is comprised of three sisters and a brother. Andrea Corr-lead vocals, tin whistle, Caroline Corr-vocals, drums, bodhren, Sharon Corr-vocals, violin, Jim Corr-guitar, vocal, keyboards. The mix of the CD is very good. I was pleased when I saw that Robert John Mutt? Lange produced three out of the fifteen cuts.
Click to go to INCUBUSINCUBUS: MAKE YOURSELF (1999)
Bob Messer reviews:
Through the years groups like Yes, King Crimson, Kansas, and the latest Dream Theater have influenced pop groups to go more progressive in their style. Such I think is the case here. Incubus exhibits some complex timing hooks. But yet staying well within the pop range. This fusion of metal, hip-hop, and funk is well mixed and pleasing to my ears.
Go to SEVENDUST HOMESEVENDUST:
HOME
(1999)
Bob Messer reviews: Well the "old school" heavy metal may be gone for good. With a few of the old 80's bands still playing in small clubs and county fairs are just reminders of the good days. But with the throwing out of the old comes the new. The new generation of metal. Korn, Godsmack, Limp Bizkit, Tool, and P.O.D just to name a few. Sevendust however (in my opinion) rises above these new metal bands, and here's why.
Click to go to 3EB BLUE3EB:
BLUE
(1999)
Bob Messer reviews: Very good!!! My hats off to the San Francisco based group. Their second release is a winner in my book. With a melting pot of integrated styles, 3rd Eye Blind unleashes their best album yet. O.k., enough praise, the music here is good. In fact I"ll tell you my favorite pick right now, "Never Let You Go". When I popped the CD in my car I just couldn"t wait to get to my home stereo system and turn this song way up.

Music Review CREEDCREED
HUMAN CLAY(1999)

Bob Messer reviews: Creed is a making people curious about the meaning of their music. With their hard rock style CREED has secured their place in pop music. Human Clay is the sophomore release from the band, and I must say they survived the sophomore jinx. The music is hard and crunchy and the mix is exhalent. I think the only thing I would change is the snare drum. It needs thickening up a bit.

Music Review. FILTER -NAME OF RECORDFILTER
TITLE OF RECORD(1999)

Bob Messer reviews: I've listened to this record on headphones and on my huge house system with the 12" mains and the 15" subwoofer and I've got to say, "THIS ROCKS!"
Every instrument is well heard, the vocals are right out front but not overbearing. The album starts out rocking and doesn't let up until you reach track six, which is the big radio single.

Hollywood Jesus News Letter
Receive the Hollywood Jesus Newsletter FREE.
Sign up here