Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What are you in the mood for?

I got tired of all the music that was in my car. I kept flipping through my CD case and none were matching my moods. So, I found a stash of old CDs and blew the dust off of them. Among them are some gems. I decided to list a few here under the category: “CDs that are (surprisingly) still good after 10 years.”

Now, this isn’t an exhaustive list, and in no particular order, just a list of a few CDs that you might not have expected to still be good.

Chicago Greatest Hits 1982-89
This album has a song for every season of romance. (That is, every season I’ve experienced at least. And while maybe it glorifies unrealistic ideals, it gives a na├»ve bachelor like me something to hope for.) Peter Cetera croons like no other. And I think “If She Would Have Been Faithful” taught me the meaning of paradox: “It’s a paradox/Full of contradictions/How I got from there to here/It defies a LOGICAL expluh-NATION!!!”

Newsboys Going Public
I recently mentioned my affinity for this album to Jon. While Take Me To Your Leader is primarily light and happy (even “Breakfast”), Going Public has a darker feel to it. Jon agreed but pointed out the irony that the CD’s, and probably the band’s, most popular song was titled, “Shine.”

Delirious Cutting Edge, CD 2
“When All Around Has Fallen” is a song enough to make this album worthwhile. And while this isn’t the polished Delirious that most of the U.S. knows, the unpolished musicality lends credence to authenticity and the focus toward building up followers of Jesus unifies the album.

Duncan Sheik Untitled
I first saw “Drunken Sheep,” as I’d heard it, open up for Jars of Clay. Considering the faith of the main act, my 6th grade opinion was that it was a clever mixed metaphor, but I think Sheik is Buddhist or eclectic at least. I actually took this album to a used CD store and sold it. At the time, his music seemed depressing and hopeless. A few years later, I needed to hear it again so I went and bought a new copy. I liked it more the second time. I've found this to be a trend in my musical growing-up. The quieter sounds on this album make the hopeful ones brighter, among them, “Reasons for Living.”

The Wallflowers Bringing Down the Horse
I got this album in Toronto the summer before my sophomore year of high school. The Wallflowers was a moderately popular band, fronted by Bob’s son, Jakob Dylan. While the album’s sound fluctuates, it manages to create a mood and makes use of great images that teach lessons: “This place is a whorehouse tonight/Where cheap lovers make expensive wives.”

Music has an unparalleled ability to influence moods and thoughts. More dire concerns have prevailed, but rock music used to be a point of contention and still is among many Christian parents. I think certainly that music has the power to shape us, to shift us to some of the highest highs and lowest lows.

Music has become for me an emotion manager. I often select CDs that will allow me to indulge my mood. Creed used to be my anger music. Fortunately I hardly listen to that them anymore, and not at all for that reason. The Juliana Theory captures a lonelier time in my life just after college. Coldplay captures soaring melodies of hope in love, life, and humanity, and Switchfoot does the same in stark relief to the despair of the human condition.

I haven’t decided if using music to indulge or shift my moods is a good thing. It could be a form of self-control, moving me out of darker brooding. Or maybe it’s only self-manipulation and dependency. Like almost anything, I think that it can be a good servant but a terrible master.

I was at Ignite Chicago last summer listening to Casting Crowns, another band that knows what they’re playing music for. I remember the lead singer saying this: “Music has the power to move and shape us, to motivate and enliven us. But faithfulness isn’t about living in those moments. Music creates an experience, but those moments don’t last. Even the best song grows stale.”

2 comments:

John Withum said...

Maybe Chicago 82-89 meets every season of romance if your beloved is in a coma or was raised by wolves and has never heard music before. In which case, the next time she starts going crazy and eating without utensils and/or howling at the moon, this is still not the music I'd use to soothe your beast.

Once Terry Kath died, Peter Cetera relegated the horns to a background role and then eventually let them go altogether. When they did that, they ceased to be Chicago, and thus also ceased to be actually good. The Greatest Hits collection you need is the one with "25 or 6 to 4," "Saturday in the Park," and "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?"

Adam said...

Thank you for your opinion.