Since 1996

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

Album Reviews
Movie Reviews
Concert Reviews
Book Reviews

Top 10
Contact Us


The Crossing - December 2007 Edition

The Crossing - December 2007 Edition

Well, here we are. 2007 is quickly winding down. Itís December and the weather has turned cold and damp. The roads and shops are filled with holiday
shoppers all looking for any number of material goods to be wrapped under shiny paper. But real material goods, the ones that count we all know, all have something to say about the world we live in. What could I possibly be talking about you may ask? ART. Thatís right. CDís and DVDís. Music and movies. Audio and cinema. Where would we be without these grand inventions? In a hopeless miasma of goo, thatís where. But that should be self-evident. Anybody worth their salt wants Rock and Roll in their stocking and under their tree, so thatís where I come in. Assuming you have more shopping to do and I havenít completely ruined your Christmas by not getting these lists out sooner, you may be thankful that they have now, indeed, appeared. Letís get to it...

In my estimation, 2007 was an excellent year for music. There were only two major bands (U2 and R.E.M.) that didnít have all new albums this year that prevented 2007 from being the all-out banner year that I predicted back in January: They did however have some great releases to tide over fans. U2 released The Joshua Tree box set and R.E.M. released the Live in Dublin CD/DVD set, their first set of its type. Both bands can be counted on to have new albums in

But, what did come out this year? Funny you should ask. 

Letís go thru the names of some of the artists that released new material this year. 

John Mellencamp/Patty Griffin/Lucinda Williams/Mary
Chapin Carpenter/Lucy Kaplansky/Arcade
Fire/Innocence Mission/Roger Clyne & the
Peacemakers/Jack Ingram/Fountains of
Wayne/Marillion/Rush/Bruce Springsteen/Chris
Cornell/Dream Theater/Polyphonic Spree/White
Stripes/Relient K/Mark Olson/Buffalo Tom/Wilco/Son
Volt/Smashing Pumpkins/Kim
Richey/Suzanne Vega/Over The Rhine/Eisley/The
Waterboys/The Oysterband/Robert
Plant/Alison Krauss/KT Tunstall/Steve Earle/Mark
Knopfler/John Fogerty/Marc Cohn/Neil
Young/Justin Currie/The Eagles/Radiohead

Pretty impressive group, is it not? And, of course, thatís just a small fraction.

Of those, I came up with six that I gave big time airplay:

Rush - Snakes & Arrows 
Marillion - Somewhere Else
Bruce Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions and Magic
Buffalo Tom - Three Easy Pieces
Roger Clyne - No More Beautiful World
KT Tunstall - Drastic Fantastic

What do these six artists have in common? I have no idea. But, I think, for what ever reason, I just found their releases to be the most interesting
filled with great music and intriguing lyrics.

Looking ahead to 2008, we can expect to hear from these artists: U2/R.E.M.(as stated earlier)/John Mellencamp(again)/Metallica/Kingís X/Matthew Sweet/Social Distortion/David Gray/Great Big Sea/Fish/James/Bill Mallonee/Pierce Pettis/Big Country/Marillion/Bruce Springsteen and The Hooters

Both Marillion and Bruce Springsteen are said to have recorded surplus material in their latest ventures into the studio, so they should have short
follow-ups to their most recent records.

Big Country is down to the original three guys with bass player Tony Butler taking over on vocals, guitarist Bruce Watson taking over lead guitar
and drummer Mark Brzezicki rounding out the trio. They have already played a dozen or so live dates in the United Kingdom and have more dates in December. An all-new album is forthcoming for 2008.

The Hooters have finally found an American distributor for their latest disc Time Stand Still and it should be in stores relatively soon in the new year.

Also, John Mellencamp has been reported to have been working with producer T Bone Burnett for a relatively short follow-up to Freedomís Road.

Letís talk movies for a moment. (Hey, itís a rarity!)

I saw quite a few good movies in 2007 and these would make my top ten in no particular order:

  • No Country For Old Men (Coen brothers back on track. A very violent movie that may give us a little too much insight into where society is headed. Fits in with other Coen movies Fargo and Blood Simple nicely.)
  • Zodiac (Very well acted famous case study of how these investigators go off the deep end in search for a killer.)
  • In The Valley Of Elah (Even if you donít like the direction the flag is hanging from in the final shot, this movie does make you think about the state of the Nation.)
  • The Namesake (A good movie that gives you the angle of an outsider looking into this country of ours.) 
  • Freedom Writers (A movie that shows you change is possible. This gets my Ďshould be seen by many more peopleí vote.) 
  • Children Of Men (I liked this better the second time I saw it. Is this a look at the future of society? I sure hope not.) 
  • Gone Baby Gone (The final shot of this film will haunt you. Did they make the right choice?)
  • The Lookout (A well acted, indie tale that as a whole makes a great little film.)
  • The Assassination of Jesse James... (Really well acted film that probably plays a bit too much like a documentary about the famous historical Missouri outlaw.) 
  • Once (I actually havenít seen this yet, released this month, but I suspect I will like it.)

Honorable mention:

  • Breach (A well acted film about an astonishing breach of security in US history.) 
  • The Hoax (An entertaining movie that amazes you in how far someone will go to sell a story.) 
  • Into The Wild (A sad tale that does make you think we as a society may have lost touch with some of the things that are really important. Moving to Alaska to live in an abandoned bus may be taking it a bit too far however.) 
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Up there with the 3rd installment for best Potter flick.)
  • Spiderman 3 (Not as good as part 2, but still pretty good. It probably, if anything, needed to be longer so everything that got crammed into it didnít seem so crammed.) 
  • Beowulf (Awesome in 3-D!) 
  • The Golden Compass (Controversy aside, I thought it was awesome to look at and very well acted, while whatever Ďmessageí there may be will go
  • over most peopleís heads.)

Happy shopping! Be safe out there!

Recently released and not mentioned in last edition:

* The Lost Dogs - We Like to Have Christmas
* Interpol - 6 song live EP (Only available at indie
* Jesse Dayton & Brennen Leigh - Holdiní Our Own
* Motion Picture Soundtrack - Even if it Kills Me
* Doug Jayne - Voices in the Wind
* Jana Hunter - Thereís No Home
* Yarn - S/T
* Only Son - The Drop to the Top
* Grizzly Bear - Friend EP
* Armor For Sleep - Smile For Them
* Nightwish - Dark Passion Play
* Mutemath - Flesh and Bones Electric Fun - DVD  
* Carrie Newcomer - Light of Change - DVD
* Black 47 - New Yearís Eve in Times Square - DVD


* David Bowie - Box (10 CD singles.)
* Nick Drake - Fruit Tree (Box set.)
* The Wreckers - Way Back Home: Live from New York City - CD/DVD
* The 77ís - 99 (Live EP.)
* Michael Sweet - Touched (covers project.)
* Daft Punk - Alive 2007
* Idlewild - Best of: Scottish Fiction: 1997-2007
* The Libertines - Best of: A Time for Heroes
* Echo & the Bunnymen - Killing Moon: Best of
* Never Enough - S/T
* Johnossi - S/T
* Ziggy Marley - Love is My Religion
* Scout Niblett - This Fool Can Die Now
* Once - Deluxe Soundtrack
* Various Artists - P.S. I Love You (Soundtrack.)
* Saturday Night Live - Complete Second Season - DVD
* Live Earth: the Concerts for a Climate in Crisis - 2 DVDís/1CD
* Brian Eno - 77 Million Paintings - DVD
* Rufus Wainwright sings Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall
- 2 CDís/DVD
* Fred Eaglesmith - Live Below Sea Level - DVD
* Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worldís End - DVD
* Superbad
* The Hottest State
* The Nanny Diaries
* Arctic Tale


* Pink Floyd - Oh, By The Way (40th anniversary box set: 16 CDís and 1 DVD.)
* Rivers Cuomo - Alone: the Home Recordings/Demos 1992-2007 (singer of Weezer.)
* Sheryl Crow - Hits & Rarities
* Keane - Night Sky EP (import.)
* The Dave Matthews Band - Live at Piedmont Park - 3CDís/2DVDís
* Led Zeppelin - The Song Remains the Same - DVD
* Govít Mule - A Tale of Two Cities - DVD
* Cactus - Live - DVD
* Styx - Caught in the Act - DVD
* Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - DVD
* The Bourne Ultimatum - DVD
* December Boys - DVD
* Interview - DVD


* Daniel Lanois - Here Is What Is (Digital download only at


* Keller Williams - 12
* Radiohead - 7 CD box set (Everything you already own edition.)
* John Lennon - Live Peace in Toronto 1969 - 2 CDís
* Ben Harper - Live at Twist & Shout Records - CD/DVD
* The Scorpions - Live at Wacken Open Air Festival 2006 - DVD
* Tool - Vicarious - DVD
* Kiss - Kissology 3 - 5 DVD set
* Once - DVD
* Stardust - DVD
* The Simpsons Movie
* Underdog - DVD
* Balls of Fury - DVD
* The Last Legion - DVD
* Rob Zombieís Halloween - DVD
* National Treasure - 2 DVD Collectorís edition
* Braveheart - Special collectorís edition DVD
* Blade Runner - 25th anniversary DVD (Also a 5 DVD box set available.)
* Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Vol. 2 - DVD box


Merry Christmas!


* Eastern Promises - DVD
* The Brothers Soloman - DVD
* Rush Hour 3 - DVD
* Shattered - DVD


Happy New Year!


* Radiohead - In Rainbows
* Ellis Paul - Dragonfly Races
* Shoot ĎEm Up - DVD
* Jet Liís War - DVD
* September Dawn - DVD


* Daughtry - Home
* Edgar and Johnny Winter - Together Live
* 3:10 to Yuma - DVD
* Sunshine - DVD
* The Invasion - DVD
* The Hunting Party - DVD
* Eagle Vs. Shark - DVD
* Joshua - DVD
* Death Sentence - DVD
* Dragon Wars - DVD
* Resident Evil: Extinction - DVD
* Zodiac - Directorís cut DVD


* The Eels - Meet the Eels: Essential 1996-2006
* The Eels - Useless Trinkets: Bsides & Rarities
1996-2007 - 2CDís/1DVD
* The Magnetic Fields - Distortion
* Good Luck Chuck - DVD
* Mr. Woodcock - DVD
* The Ten - DVD


* North Mississippi Allstars - Hernando
* Cat Power - Jukebox (Deluxe edition.)
* Cat Power - Covers II


* Joe Jackson - Rain
* Shelby Lynne - Just a Little Loviní (Inspired by Dusty Springfield.)
* Sons & Daughters - This Gift
* The Mars Volta - The Bedlam in Goliath 
* King of California - DVD
* Rocket Science - DVD
* The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters - DVD
* Groundhog Day - 15th anniversary DVD


* Lenny Kravitz - It is Time for a Love Revolution
* Jack Johnson - Sleep Through the Static
* Nada Surf - Lucky
* Iron Maiden - Live After Death plus History of Maiden: Vol. 2 - 2 DVD set
* Across the Universe - DVD
* The Assassination of Jesse James... - DVD
* Elizabeth: the Golden Age - DVD
* The Jane Austen Book Club - DVD


* Michael Jackson - Thriller (25th anniversary before
he lost his mind Deluxe Edition w/DVD.)
* In the Shadow of the Moon - DVD
* We Own the Night - DVD
* Into the Wild - DVD
* Becoming Jane - DVD


* Ray Davies - Working Manís Cafe (US release.) 
* Rendition - DVD
* Lust, Caution - DVD


* The Kingdom - DVD
* The Darjeeling Limited - DVD
* Resurrecting the Champ - DVD
* The Heartbreak Kid - DVD

March and beyond preview:

* Aimee Mann - Smilers
* The BoDeans - Still (produced by T-Bone Burnett.)
* The Black Crowes - Warpaint
* Kathleen Edwards - Asking For Flowers
* Bauhaus - Going Away White
* The Silver Jews - Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea  
* The Breeders - Mountain Battles
* Freedy Johnston - Rain On the City
* Counting Crows - Saturday Night, Sunday Morning


So, tell me Christmas
Are we wise
To believe in things we never see
Are prayers just wishes in disguise
And are these wishes being granted me
For now I see
The answering
To every prayer Iíve prayed

Sheís coming home this Christmas Day

So tell me Christmas
Are we kind
More on this day than any other day
Or is it only in our minds
And must it leave when you have gone away
Itís different now
Itís changed somehow
And now youíre here to stay

Sheís coming home this Christmas Day

All at once the world
It doesnít seem the same
And in a single night
You know it all has changed
And everything is now as it should be

I have the ornament
I have the perfect tree
I have a string of lights
I have a chance to see
Everything that my heart thought could be

For of all the dreams
You were the first I knew
And every other one
Was a charade of you
You stayed close when I was far away

In the darkest night 
You always were the star
That always took us in
No matter who we are
And so sheís coming home this Christmas Day

Trans-Siberian Orchestra, the song ďThis Christmas DayĒ off the album Christmas Eve and Other Stories.

Again, have a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!!!

Hereís to 2008...

Chris Barlow  


Copyright © 1996 - 2007 The Phantom Tollbooth