Your Gateway to Music and More from a Christian Perspective
     Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
Home
Subscribe
About Us
Features
News

Album Reviews
Movie Reviews
Concert Reviews

Top 10
Resources
Contact Us



 

Welcome to an occasional column by someone who thinks about Christ, Christianity, popular culture, the interactions among the aforementioned, etc. in ways you might not...
 

Wouldn't that John Reueben/Reliant K (just lead singer Matt Thiessen, really) collaboration, "Nuisance," be great music for a runway? Fashionistas do get irony, right? And where are the Christian designers whose collections I could see on Style Channel's Fashion Trance, anyway?
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Speaking of Reliant K, I was pleased to hear both their "Be My Escape" and Natasha Bedingfield's "These Words" on the Top 9 At 9 on a rock-leaning top-40 station kind of nearby. I have only so much use for crossover punk, but that line in "Escape" about how grace being proof of life's unfairness is sound theology made transcendent pop. And I've been awaiting Bedingfield's belated U.S. debut (she's already huge in much of the rest of the world ) for months. Of course, hearing a godly, ravishing blonde singing "I love you, I love you, I love youuu!" to brass-spiked Euro-hip-hop is one of the year's radio thrills.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 
How screwy is it that the nearest place I can buy The Wittenburg Door, one of this country's best magazines--Christian or otherwise--is an indie record shop over an hour away from me? Screwier still, in its irony, is that it's on the rack just to the left of Skeptic. Any Christian retailers out there have the guts to carry the funniest mag' this side of Mad? Lest anyone's still balking after the '90s incident wherein the Keepers Of The Door named Beavis and Butt-head their Theologians of the Year, and the televised protest of a Christian bookshop in Virginia Beach, let's not forget that Jesus could be a hoot too, what with his pulling coinage out of fish and that talk about planks and specks in folks' eyes and all. 
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Where is the Christian-made music that incorporates cheerleading and marching band influences that could work into a mega-mix with Toni Basil's "Mickey," Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl,"  Destiny's Child's "Lose My Breath," and that crummy J.C. Chavez single from Drumline? If you want DC to qualify because member Michelle Williams records gospel solo albums and hasn't skeezed up her image, as have Beyonce' Knowles and Kelly Rowland, I will give you that, even if Williams has the squeakiest voice of the three. Still, the cheerleading/marching band vibe seems so perfect for youth group leader-approved Christo-pop that it shouldn't be so obscure or non-existent.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Has anyone else noticed that Craig Morgan's recent country radio biggie, "That's What I Love About Sunday," not only does for churchgoing and lolling about on the first day of the week what Toby Keith tends to do to patriotism (glop it up), but also borrows heavily in melody from Morgan's own superior, more spiritually nuanced previous hit, "Almost Home"? 
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 Speaking of commercial country...
  ... shame that Randy Travis hasn't yet followed up his brilliant "Three Wooden Crosses" with another hit of even half that magnitude, isn't it?
   ...ditto Josh Turner and his stone gospel "Long Black Train," yes?
   ...here's hoping Buddy Miller can go beyond Americana and adult alternative play with his next album, even though the video for his cover of Mark Heard's "Worry Too Much" got him some rotation on CMT. Miller's one of the first names I reference to friends who like radio country when I suggest they try the music's alt variety. Don't know if it's led to any new fans for him yet.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
In the 20th anniversary issue of HM  Magazine, editor/publisher (and guy I'd consider a friend as well as contracting employer) Doug Van Pelt notes that the only act he has regretted putting on its cover is Third Day. Considering that CCM Magazine did the same with its cover during the same month, I can understand how he thought his bimonthly hard music authority had the appearance of losing its edge.
Consider, then, that cartoon kiddie ska band B.O.B. (Bunch Of Believers) greeted HM' readers once during the height of Christendom's short-lived penchant for the third wave of innovation the pre-reggae Jamaican pop style.
C'mon! TD could still surprise us all and live up to its Southern boogie rock potential. B.O.B. has been relegated to the scrap heap of history for its dual dubiousness of musical bandwagon-jumping and attempting to sanctify the look of South Park's compositional style without ever animating the lil' Believers (unless there are music videos of which I'm unaware;all I have beyond the music is their promotional Velcro band watch). 
Oh well, each to their own regrets, hey?
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Whenever I think of the time Rebecca St. James held up a Bible during a concert I saw of hers and said, "This book rocks!," I think of that verse in Lamentations where the Lord warns the women of Israel that they may end up boiling their infants for food (and laugh a bit, truth be told). That's supposed to rock? Methinks it's called Law and Gospel, Becky dear. To paraphrase a bit of  an interview with Steve Taylor from aeons ago, y'gotta know the bad news before you can appreciate the good. Methinks the bad part doesn't really "rock." 
Just to let you know that I don't loathe the gal, I do wish St. James would fulfill her potential of being a Fiona Apple/Kylie Minogue hybrid. My unsolicited advice? Explore your darker, semi-goth and pop-dance diva sides and ditch the sappier praise&worship tunes that have garnered your recent radio hits. 
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Recently while watching one of my favorite TV shows for which you don't need the sound on to enjoy it, Style Network's Fashion Trance, I thought to ask myself, "Where are the Christian clothing designers?" If any are being featured in the Christisan women's magazines I don't read, then I've reason to not know. If there are any believers who have the talent and maybe the calling to give the runways a run for their money but are scared to face the dedance of that milieu, that bites. Especially for any heterosexual guys who could make a mark in that world.
By the way, I'm usually listening to classical music, R.C. Sproul's and/or D. James Kennedy's radio show/s at the time I'm watching FT. Works for me.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
No one's saying Christian rappers have to emulate their worldly counterparts in this way, but, apart from concert merch', isn't it a little surprising that so few (if any) of them have clothing lines, fragrances and ways to "brand" themselves?  I know Tonex has some of the aforementioned going on, though 1) he's not really a rapper, and 2) his claim that only those who speak in tongues can get to heaven makes me wonder as to the his doctrinal orthodoxy. 
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Who wants to officially welcome Jessica Simpson to Skankville? The one-time regional contemporary Christian chanteuse has been showing more of her taut bod' ever since her second national album. Her tan, bikini'ed shimmying about while lathering down the General Lee in the video for her and Willie Nelsoin's cover of Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made For Walking" for the Dukes Of Hazzard soundtrack puts Ashlee's older sister into the flesh parade led by usual suspects such as Britney Spears and Christinas Aguilera and Millian. That said, that "Boots" duet in service to what bodes to be another misbegotten TV-to-movie adaptation might be Simpson's catchiest single yet. And seeing Nelson on eMpTyV is a blast (but how about a video from his new reggae album?).
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Now that his gig hosting When Radio Was looks to be over, shouldn't there be a complete anthology of Stan Freberg's hilarious advertising work in multiple media? The smattering offered in his 1999 Rhino Records box set begs for a deeper exploration of his contribution oif humor to Ameican ad work. 

While I'm writing, how about a box of all of his Stan Freberg Here radio commentaries and public radio work, too? 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 Copyright © 1996 - 2005 The Phantom Tollbooth