Sunday, October 23, 2011

Listening to Records: New Way to Be Human

Switchfoot's second album.  Charlie Peacock produced it, doing a much better job than Jimmy Lee Sloas, who is normally excellent.  Just ask PFR.  But Peacock's production flows so much better, and only one song seems to go on forever and not in a good way.  Many obviously Christian songs, but no mention of Jesus.  They do an excellent job making the album worshipful, but looking back, not mentioning Jesus does not help people who are lost put two and two together.  That's why general revelation is not enough to save people.

But I digress.  Here is the title song with a nifty video:

Behold all things are new.  The old has gone; the new has come.  Life in Jesus is so much better and more fulfilling than the monotonous life of chasing after love and sex and the American dream.  God changes us to where we don't care about the old life anymore, and the Holy Spirit gives us identity and security.

Another appeal to consider your present life and see whether it's everything you hoped or if something is missing.

The wikipedia page says that this song was based on Soren Kirkegaard.  Typically, I don't agree with Soren, but I do relate to him and actually like what he says sometimes.  He's the one that started existentialism and post-modernism, but I do believe he was an elect Christian.  His belief against modernist thought was that man could not reach God on his own, but he took that too far and thought he couldn't reach God at all.  He had to take a leap of faith to get to God.

Sadly, that's still trying to reach God on your own, and also feeling around in the dark when God gave us Jesus and the Bible and the Holy Spirit to lead us to the answers.  He gave us the cheat sheet, but we still want to do the process when we can never do it.  It is dismaying that the guys also quote the atheist Sartre on this thing.

Still a good song.

Another classic Switchfoot song about the futility of material possessions, the emptiness that they provide in themselves.

There's a picture of the band now, but at this time it was still the two brothers and Chad.  This is one of the first songs where I'm certain Jon Foreman was writing about each birthday that he had.  He's 22 at the recording of this song, dating the song because you're only 22 for one year of your life.  He's about 35 now.  But this a beautiful, worshipful song.

Another philosopher song, this time about Augustine.  They mispronounce his name, like the city in Florida and the majority of Americans.  Remember, the stress is on the "Gus."  Good song, but not one you want to listen to on repeat, which I did back then.  The opening and closing riffs kind of phase me.  This song makes me wish the guys would go to Erskine Seminary and take church history under Dale Johnson, the best teacher ever.  At least go somewhere that's truly Reformed Presbyterian and learn about these men.

This isn't the song that put them on the map, but it is the love theme of Walk to Remember.  This was my favorite song on the album before Mandy Moore ruined it.  The bass on the second verse makes the song vibrant, romantic, even sexy but in a clean way.  It totally magnifies God and is so much better when the men sing it.

 The only dud on the whole album.  It goes on and on.  It's depressing.  I'm not real sure that it isn't about Amy Grant.  In the 80s and 90s, her music was amazing and even deeply theological, but this song came out around the time of her divorce, and by then, she'd lost her fire.  Now she's back on her feet but her stuff is sappy and sentimental and no longer deep.  That album Simple Things could have totally been on Disney Channel.  She even has a song "Better than a Hallelujah" which is boring and simply not true.  Honesty is great but it never replaces what we were made for, to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

But alas, whoever this song is for, it fits Amy Grant circa 1999.

But we turn the album over for the last two songs and this is a totally fun and encouraging song.  I don't want to be in an emotional turmoil; I want to turn around life the most complete life that God intended.  I turn everything over and stop trying to try.

The last song and a great finale.  Truly good pick for a last song.  You can see Jon relaxing, gazing at the stars, and knowing that God is truly near, giving his life meaning.  Also, there's the hidden track "Bop bop bop-be-dop."  They had the lyrics to it on this video.  I never knew they were ending with Chin 105.  Makes me wonder what this Chin is up to that they dedicated the first album to.  I don't know.  We've listened to this album.  Good night.

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