Today's title sounds like an awesome new dance. But it's not. It's a new shuffleblog. If you don't know the rules, you haven't been paying attention for very long. Away we go!
#1: Ready for the Storm by Rich Mullins
Hurricane season is upon us! That means it's time to stock up on canned goods and bottled water in case we end up holed up in our home with no power for up to two weeks. Well folks, if that does happen, there's a good chance we'll pack up the toddler and get him further north, like we did last time. Experts are predicting one of the worst hurricane seasons in recorded history this year. Of course, they predicted an even worse one last year, and instead only one hurricane made landfall in North America (and that was a "minor" hurricane that hit the tip of Canada, of all places). Even Cuba was spared last summer, which was nice because I think every single storm that went through the Caribbean hit them fairly solidly the year before.
Dang, hard to believe Hurricane Ike was less than two years ago. We've only had one major storm since I've been here, and only two in the last 12 or so years, but it's hard to bank on that, as much as I love averages and statistics, isn't it?
#2: Got to Get You Into My Life by the Beatles (covered by BUCK Enterprises)
Ah, BUCK, another of the minor Christian ska bands that wasn't really that great. Among that tier, however, they were one of the better ones.
This is a really good cover, and the only one I'm aware of BUCK ever having done. It amazes me how many groups there are out there who are only Beatles cover bands. The groups I saw back at Miller a few months ago mentioned they were playing some big event in September with "a bunch of other Beatles cover bands." How many cover bands does one artist need within one metropolis, I wonder? I've got nothing against cover bands, and I think it's probably be really fun to play in one, but it seems as if they could collaborate a bit better, aye? "Okay, this year, you can be Beatles, you be Stones, you be Guns N Roses, you be Monkees, you cover classic theme songs from the 1990's..." et cetera.
Are Guns 'N Roses still around? Were they actually popular, or did I just pull that reference out of an episode of Full House at some point?
#3: Birth of a God by Powerglove
Love me some Powerglove. They have a new album out "soon" according to their myspace. (Remember myspace? Some people still use it!)
I read an interview recently with a member of Powerglove where the magazine asked why the band did exclusively old-school video game music (as opposed to newer, Next-Gen games, etc). He said that composers for video games back in the 8 and 16 bit era were so limited with what they could do instrumentally speaking that they really had to concentrate on making memorable songs using pretty much just a melody and one harmony line. As I thought on this, I realized how great of musicians some of the men and women who worked on NES, SNES, and Genesis games really were.
"Write a song that's catchy and captures the essence of this storyline."
"You'll be severely limited in terms of what you can do for sounds and instruments."
"Should be a challenge."
"It has to be no longer than two minutes."
"And people have to be willing to listen to it for three hours at a time."
"And we want them to do this at least once a day for at least six days a week so they'll be willing to pay $40 per cartridge."
Quite the challenge. And yet, the old themes from Mario, Zelda, Megaman, etc, have stuck with a generation of us.
#4: Give 'em Hell by Hearts of Palm
I don't know that Hearts of Palm is still around. They were pretty cool, though. I originally heard of them because they featured Five Iron's former sax player and Roper's former guitar player (those two people are married to each other). It's a band of nine people that play music that's kind folksy but not really, kinda acoustic rock but not really, and kinda weird but not really. Is that an awesome description or what? They're very creative and catchy, and I wouldn't bother trying to pin it down past that.
Anyway, I remember when the band (formerly known as Nathan & Stephen) released an ep, they decided to offer the whole thing on their web site for free. They often didn't charge for shows. They become somewhat of an underground sensation in the Denver area and seemed to live by a philosophy that anybody who wanted to enjoy their music should be able to. In an age where there are CD's you're not even allowed to re-burn to CD after you've ripped them to you compy, it was a nice, fresh approach to art and accessibility.
Of course, if they're not still a band, that's probably a pretty huge factor in that, too.
#5: Two Sets of Jones' by Big Tent Revival
Oh man, I loved this song when I was in middle school/high school. Today, I still like it, but I think I enjoy the video more than the song itself.
I've never heard of a man named Roth-Child. I always thought that was a strange name. I have not changed my opinion.
Also, I don't think this discussion is through random selection at all. It seems to me these two sets of Jones' were very specifically chosen to make a clear point, BTR.
I always wondered why it was significant that Reuben was holding a Gideon's Bible when he told his coworkers that his son had been born. Are Reuben and Sue so poor they couldn't afford their own Bibles? Does Reuben hand out Gideon's Bible as a side endeavor? Is the point just that Reuben always carried around a Bible, and the song just needed another three syllables to make the lyric fit?
Questions abound. Good song, though. A great sing-along song, and a high point in Big Tent Revival's career (which actually went on a long longer than I generally think it did). Li dee di di di di...
#6: Fall Forever by Skypark
You probably don't know this song. It may have been Skypark's best, but I never heard it on the radio. (You probably don't know who Skypark was, either) This is one of those songs that is so perfectly speak-for-itself, I'm kind of at a loss at how to expand upon it. "I see Your arms stretched wide, I think I'll lay my burdens here. I could just fall forever, I could just fall forever here. I see Your arms stretched wide, longing to hold this broken child, I could just fall forever, I could just fall forever here..." Really pretty stuff, too. String interlude, I love me some strings.
Anyway, I'm definitely in a "fall forever" place right now.
#7: Hello Lamewads by Roper
An excellent anthem to go out on. This was a song Robbie really loved when he was an infant. It was one of his night-night songs. Once he got old enough to start picking out words in songs, though, we decided to keep a lot of Reese Rooper stuff from him. He is always singing these days; I don't know that a two-year-old running down the halls at church belting out "HELLO LAMEWADS I'M WITH YOU, RAISE YOUR FIST IF THIS RINGS TRUE" would be nearly as adorable as "GOD IS BIGGER THAN THE COOKIE MAN!"
He also rarely sings quietly. The kid has f, ff, and fff, and he rarely goes down to f.
Man, if this band did one thing well, it's punk rock synthesizer. Amazing. You are missed, Roper.