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
... 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?
Turner and his stone gospel "Long Black Train," yes?
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
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
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