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


Rake Thoughts

Anyone else see MILEY CYRUS' ice cream truck stripper pole dance on this year's Teen Choice Awards and wonder...
        1) Is this part of what she does "all for Jesus," and...
        2) What kinds of discussions she must have with her pastor, much less her parents?
Unfortunate and sleazy as MiCy's antics there there were, isn't her "Party In The U.S.A." a far more compelling appropriation of the beat from Tom Tom Club's "Genuis Of Love" than Mariah Carey's "Fantasy"?
Isn't it about time for REBECCA ST. JAMES to drop a new album and impress the socks off all of us with the composite of style-borrowing from Kylie Minogue, Fionna Apple and Kate Bush those who love her knows she has in her? 
What were ALY & A.J. thinking by changing their name to 78violet three albums into their career? If it's a semi-desperate measure to distance themselves from the 'tween pop milieu that brought them the success they've enjoyed, at least it's not jawdroppingly cringe-worthy as some of the antics of the headliner for whom I've seen the Milchaka sisters open last year (see first Rake Thought). 
But since they're still signed to Hollywood Records and likely to remain in Radio Disney's high rotation, isn't that going to make it tough for the DJ's there?   
Regarding the slew of soul gospel recording artists, who one might like to think ought to know better, contributing to a recent tribute album to President Obama, is it more...
         a) Lamentable
         b) Laughable
        c) A sign the Second Coming could be any minute now, or
        d) All of the above?
Repellent as I find the aforementioned Obama gospel tribute disc, why didn't I have the same trouble with the ROSA PARKS tribute CD a bunch of gospel acts put together in the '90s? That's right! Her Christianity was far more in evidence at the time of her famed bus protest that the purported faith of our Commander In Chief has been since...ever? And the Parks disc didn't seem idolatrous of its subject in a way singing "gospel" songs to and about our country's most abortophilic and spiritually obfuscating president does.
How informative and enlightening did I find the Worship Seminar event conducted by TOM KARAEUTER at a church in my city recently? Enough to recommend him and his presentation to your church. But I still wish he would have answered ny questions about
        1) The point at which a song becomes disrespectful, flippant or mocking of the lord it's supposed to honor, and 
        2) The propriety of DJ/dance-based worship events in the life of, or sponsored by, a church body.
Maybe he'll answered them  if you ask, but in order for you to check out a really scripturally solid presentation on praising and worshiping God in music and every other way you're able, peruse Karaeuter's website,
Has anyone else reading this joined me in detailing your Christianity rock-ish music collection via the spot on Even if it takes a while to load the page enumerating your collection (mostly with pictures of individual album covers) once you reach 500 items or so, it's great fun. 
I do, however, want to ask what the people were thinking who uploaded entries for CHRIS RICE (who's fine at his folkie pop thang, but isn't quite rock, yes?) and started a section for T BONE BURNETT but hasn't put any of his work in that section. And maybe one of my fellow Tollbooth'ers could fill out the woefully deficient MARK HEARD pages? Those and a few other quibbles besides, it's a heckuvan ambitious undertaking that's worthy of the support of anyone interested in godly rocking.
How is it that JORDIN SPARKS has morphed from being simply cute to-dare I say it about a sister in the Lord who's old enough to vote but young enough for me to have legally sired her?-sexy in a span of under two years?
Have you, as I have nearly done on at least one occasion, mistaken NEEDTOBREATHE for Kings of Leon on the basis of how their lead singers sound like each other?
Is it me and the kids in the church youth groups with which I'm familiar, or, even years before their recent top 5 debut in Billboard's general market pop album chart, has SKILLET become the current Christian consensus rock band? When I first started seriously getting into CCM, the agreed-upon band seemed to be PETRA in their poppy prog rock ala' Styx phase; if I'm right about Skillet, I'll take that as progress, I guess. 
In the same manner that some acts are now touring to play through one of their older classic albums, isn't it easy to imagine SOUL-JUNK doing that about ten years from now for their monumental Psalm 119 concepts album, 1960?
Isn't it about time Sparrow Records revived its dance/electronic remix albums series? I nominate BRIT NICOLE next honoree, especially if any of the MUTEMATH guys are up for reworking La Britt's work.
Might you have liked to have been privy to my recent hours-long 'phone conversation with BRIAN "DEAD ARTIST SYNDROME" HEALY? If you knew just how I believe he missed his calling by not getting into stand-up comedy at least part time, provided you like to laugh, you'd be answering yes.
Speaking of recent talks on the honker with underrated Christian musical guys too long out of national circulation, isn't it a hoot how DELBERT NAVE of the wonderful and possibly-to-return to-recording BLIND TEETH VICTORY BAND (who really need their own website regardless of whether they ever release anything again) pronounces "avant garde" "arvahnt garde"? If you heard him say it and don't share his Texas accent-or even if you do-you might agree.
Since I got a fan request from her-or whomever is organizing an online fan club for her-on Facebook recently, I'm prompted to ask: what's become of CRYSTAL LEWIS and the degree of crossover-esque popularity she had that would get KIRK FRANKLIN to ask her to be on one of his R&B pop-charting singles? Really, gal, get back to what so many have loved out of you that you've not done (to any great degree of visibility, at least) for too many years, OK, Crys'?
Are you among those who saw THE WHITE COLLAR SIDE SHOW on the cover of HM and, without having heard a note of their music, thought, "I think I've to add another source to my list of favorite bands for these people." Or however you'd phrase it yourself.  And if you're anything like me (especially the male, heterosexual and single), was your next thought "I wonder what (band member) VERONICA THE FACELESS WOMAN looks like behind that mask...," wasn't it?
Jamie Rake


Copyright © 1996 - 2009 The Phantom Tollbooth