Going to Concerts

I went to my first concert in a long time tonight.

It was for an 80s coverband named the Spazmatics. They were pretty good.

Observations:

  1. The BMI of the concert demographic has changed tremendously.
  2. The energy levels of audience members has had an inverse relationship with the BMI.
  3. When I was younger, I loved concerts, but I hated loud sounds. It was a love/hate relationship because I have abnormally good hearing. Now that I’m older, I kid you not, concerts are even louder. I used to go to metal shows. This was much louder.
  4. The song “Safety Dance” is still awesome.
  5. I also enjoyed “Walk Like an Egyptian.”

Over all it was a good experience. But my head hurts and sounds are a bit muffled. I suspect I’ll try to limit my concerts to orchestral/symphonic pieces from now on.

Music Monday: Motivation for the Gym

Here is a metal-esque song that really only exists to listen to prior to or during intense exercise:

I highly recommend this song for getting pumped up for a heavy set of squats or dead lift, but it’s also a good “getting to the gym by car” song.

Any other gym music recommendations?

Music Monday: The Rolling Stones

When I was younger I really like the song Paint it Black. I now almost never listen to the radio, but right after telling my wife that I liked it as a kid, it came on when I turned the radio on on a lark the next day. Then later that day it came on the radio at the gym. I listened to it when I did my heaviest set on dead lift.

I’m not certain about why I like the song. I think I gravitate toward negative and depressing thoughts, so I found a friend in Mick Jagger. Interestingly, I found out that my sarcastic, over confident, and paroxystic (new word based on paroxysm I guess) dancing style was similar to Jaggger’s after seeing a Stones video in high school. Amongs people who’ve seen it (I don’t dance in public any more), my dance moves are legend. A friend and I once stopped a hardcore show by dancing so intensely that the lead singer gave us a shout-out as all of the weaker, smaller, and less intense metal heads backed away from us in awe or a brief sense of rational self-preservation. Nobody was hurt.

Anyway, I hope this song helps you have a bright start to your day.

Music Monday: Murder by Death

One of my favorite poems is Paradise Lost. Naturally, this means that I enjoy The Desert is on Fire by Murder by Death.

The song takes place in a concept album wherein the devil was visiting a bar in Mexico and tried to make a few extra bucks on a drug deal. The other dealer double crosses him and shoots him in the back. When the devil gets out of prison he goes on a rampage against the entire village and when he confronts the villagers, he reminds them, “I fought off angels with my hands back, I set the heavens on fire.” It’s an exciting song with a fairly epic tone. If you want to know how the story ends you’ll need to listen to the whole album.

Music Monday: Progress by The Dear Hunter

A year or so ago, a friend gave me “The Color Spectrum” by The Dear Hunter. The album is very unusual, but it was a delightful surprise. I especially like the song below. I think I mostly like its sound though. While the chorus is great (what better thing to bring us back to reality or our calling than love?), I think the idea is that somebody keeps coming back to a distant and non-reciprocating object of affection because of love. While that story is used in movies all the time (see Ex Machina), it is not actually noble to put others on a pedestal. It could be possible that the person is brought back to a struggling friend or lover because of love, in this case the song is much more positive.

Anyway, the song is very mellow and a great way to start the day.


Lyrics
Your heart is open
But your eyes stay closed enough
To keep actuality away

In such impassive motion
You cast a careless hand to the air
Give me something to hope for…

Oh, and the only thing that brings me back is love
Oh, and the only thing that brings me back is love

Your mind is open
But your mouth stays closed enough
To keep painful words from falling out

With every ounce of passion
I speak ’til my lungs both billow out
I’ll give you something to hope for…

Oh, and the only thing that brings me back is love
Oh, yeah, the only thing that brings me back is love
Oh, yeah, the only thing that brings me back is love
Oh, yeah, the only thing that brings me back is love

Oh, and the only thing that brings me back is love
Oh, and the only thing that brings me back is…

Music Monday: Thrice and the Sands of Time

Back in the days of “the myspace” I had a roommate who was in a hard core band and a significant number of friends on myspace I met at his concerts or through another friend who went to a lot of evangelism conferences and such. I still remember when one of them messaged me and said, “You’ll really like this album by Thrice.” She was right. I’ve loved this album for a decade. My favorite song on it probably changes from year to year, but Of Dust and Nations is fantastic. The main theme is the sands of time continue to trickle through the hourglass of history and that anything that isn’t eternal that we put our trust in will be destroyed by time.

The writer is a bit of a Christian-Platonist (this isn’t a bad thing, so was C.S. Lewis), and this can be seen in the line, “We live in but a shadow of the real.” Do enjoy the song and read the lyrics below:

the towers that shoulder your pride
the words you’ve written in stone
sand will cover them, sand will cover you
the streets that suffer your name
your very flesh and your bones
sand will cover them, sand will cover you

so put your faith in more than steel
don’t store your treasures up, with moth and rust
where thieves break in and steal
pull the fangs from out your heel
we live in but a shadow of the real

step out from time, see the dust of nations
step out from time, hear the stars ovation

Saturn will not sleep, until the sand has made us clean
still we stack our stones and bury what we can
but it all will be undone, and nothing built under the sun
will ever stand before the endless march of sand

so put your faith in more than steel
don’t store your treasures up, with moth and rust
where thieves break in and steal
pull the fangs from out your heel
we live in but a shadow of the real

so put your faith in more than steel
don’t store your treasures up, with moth and rust
where thieves break in and steal
pull the fangs from out your heel
we live in but a shadow of the real

Music Monday: mewithoutYou

mewithoutYou is a band that I’ve liked since my senior year of high school when I came across one of their songs on a compilation CD that was given to me at a concert. Their sound has evolved tremendously since then. Their first album is one I very rarely listen to anymore. But their newest album Pale Horses, is very good. One song that really grabs me is Birnam Wood.

My favorite line in the song is this:

I struck firm the hollow your thigh
Withheld my name, yet from determined hold I could not fly
Though every tendon came undone

It’s a beautiful retelling of the Jacob story in Genesis 32 from the perspective of the man who captured Jacob and renamed him. What is so interesting about the story and about the song is that after the man destroys Jacob’s hip, Jacob still won’t let go of the man. Still more bizarre in the tale is that the man turns out to be divine or a divine representative who could not escape the mortal Jacob’s grasp.

Lyrics:
All dark effects I’d long withstood
Upon my room advanced
The moving shade of Birnam Wood
Disguised by broken branch

I struck firm the hollow your thigh
Withheld my name, yet from determined hold I could not fly
Though every tendon came undone

Would you take a bound-up Isaac’s place?
“Is he a God and shall your grace
Grow weary of your saints?” (– I. Watts)
Or prefer the father’s dreadful fate?
Are you a God, and shall your grace
Grow weary of your saints?
(Though every tendon came undone
Safe in the arms of the kingdom come)

Floodwater filled your formless birth
A column cloud descends
‘Your cause of sorrow must not be measured by his worth
For then it hath no end’ (– Macbeth)
Yet may my heart in tune be found
In four-shape notes from underground
And can we not call it “a nervous breakdown”
My nervous system breaking down?

Would you take a bound-up Isaac’s place?
Are you a God, and shall your grace
Grow weary of your saints?
Steady a knife held sure by faith
Are you a God? And shall your grace
Grow weary of your saints?
Riding in a westbound railcar
They’ll dump you in the Highgate Graveyard
[Poison-in-the-teacup-graveyard alpha-radiation-graveyard]

Come untie your little son
Before the angel comes

Music Monday: Eriatarka

I’ve mentioned before the weird period of time when I listened to The Mars Volta late into the night while fishing. Here is another of their songs.

It’s pretty weird, but I like it. Their music has appealed to me for nearly a decade.

Music Thursday: Nine Inch Nails Edition

Ever since I first heard NIN’s “Came Back Haunted” I noticed a weird resonance it shared with Paul’s vision story in 2 Corinthians 12.

In 2 Corinthians 1-10, Paul categorizes his vision as a story whose content cannot be revealed. Yet, the vision led to a transformative experience for him. He came back from it a man who was haunted by suffering inflicted by Satan.

2Co 12:1-10 I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. (2) I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. (3) And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— (4) and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. (5) On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses— (6) though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. (7) So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. (8) Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. (9) But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (10) For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

In the NIN song below, the narrator has gone to “the other side,” he “came back haunted,” he’s not who he “used to be,” and he faces consequences.

The parallels are really striking. Every time I hear the song, 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 comes to mind. I have every reason to think that this intertextuality is purely accidental, but it is still very cool.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the song. Note: NIN isn’t a Christian band.

Lyrics:

The throat is deep and the mouth is wide
Saw some things on the other side
Made me promise to never tell
But you know me, I can’t help myself

Now I’ve got something you have to see
They put something inside of me
The smile is red and its eyes are black
I don’t think I’ll be coming back

I don’t believe it
I had to see it
I came back haunted
I came back haunted

I said goodbye but I —
I had to try
I came back haunted
C-C-C-came back haunted

Everywhere now reminding me
I am not who I used to be
I’m afraid this has just begun
Consequences for what I’ve done, yeah

I don’t believe it
I had to see it
I came back — I came back haunted
C-C-C-came back haunted

I said goodbye but I —
I had to try
I came back — I came back haunted
I C-C-C-came back haunted

I don’t believe it
I had to see it
I came back — I came back haunted
C-C-C-came back haunted

I said goodbye but I —
I had to try
I came back — I came back haunted
C-C-C-came back haunted