August 17, 2012
Great list. I'd add:
Switchfoot, "The Beautiful Letdown" particularly the closing track, "24" is a powerful testimony of relinquishment to God of the apparent earthly immortality one often feels at 24 yrs old.
Indigo Girls, "All That We Let In" particularly the title track about the power of love.
The Fray, "How to Save a Life"
Bruce Springsteen, "The Rising" - many grace-filled songs of healing and recovery
Relative newcomer: Anberlin's "Cities" and "Dark is the Way, Light is a Place"
I'd add Mumford & Sons, "Sigh No More." Track 12, After The Storm, is one of my favorites.
Nice list, particularly in the breadth of styles and eras.
Death Cab for Cutie's "Transatlanticism" is a great concept album talking about separation and is imminently listenable.
It's a bit clichÃ© perhaps, but the last Mad Men season brought it back into the forefront: The Beatles' "Revolver" remains an incredible album with a little something for everyone.
It came up in a FB conversation the other day: The Cure's music is a definite conversation starter. I find "Disintegration" to be some of their most accessible music, not quite as quirky or utterly hopeless as a lot of their earlier music.
And I *still* remember talking a LOT with friends about Alice in Chains' "Dirt". If there was another album that dealt with drugs and despair as effectively, I've never heard it.
No Johnny Cash? For shame.
I love just about everything on all the lists! I'd add:
U2 - "Joshua Tree" (for the kids and everyone who slept through the 80's and 90's)
Sufjan Stevens - "Seven Swans" (maybe it's because the lyrics are inspired by passages from the Bible but I find that the album is refreshing and inspires real spiritual reflection)
Manchester Orchestra - "Everything to Nothing" (because it poignantly reflects those periods of doubt and drifting. The song "The River" reminds me of how fragile my own resolve can be and how much I need grace.)
This list needs some work. Tracy Chapman? Great record, hardly influential. Arcade Fire? An amalgamation of two decades of indie rock & art punk. You would have done better to name any indie rock band from the last 20 years. Automatic for the People is a great record, but hardly REM's landmark achievement. I will give you Pet Sounds and Bob Dylan, though.
Although I think Christians should just listen to as much music as possible, regardless of labels, I do have a few suggestions to add:
John Coltrane's Ascension shakes you up. It does maintain a relatively recognizable melodic motif, but is mostly long sections of group and individual improvisation. A Love Supreme might be a tinge more accessible, but for me he reached his apex with the successor to that album.
If you want to talk about music's ability to express transcendence or joy, then progressive rock is your place. Yes's Close to the Edge is a good example with which to start.
More recently, I would recommend the solo work of Steven Wilson. He works in the modern progressive rock scene and has created some of the finest modern "rock" music out there.
I also think more people should treat themselves to the last Microphones album Mount Eerie (not to be confused with the later band of the same name). Unsettling but it settles into your spine. Many shivers.
I second "Cities" by Anberlin, "Everything to Nothing" by Manchester Orchestra, Mumford and Sons, and anything by Sufjan Stevens.
I'd like to add:
"Curse Your Branches" by David Bazan (one of the most challenging albums I've ever listened to. It's been described as his breakup letter to Christianity)
"Mine is Yours" by Cold War Kids
"Beggars" and "Major/Minor" by Thrice
You've got to get some Johnny Cash in there somewhere.
I created a Spotify playlist with all these albums (or as close as I could get)... great stuff. Great article! Not sure if this link will take you there or not... Hope this is helpful.
Just recently I was able to listen to 2 albums that I find challenging. I think mainly the track I Am from P.O.D.'s newest album forces us to look at how the world sees Christians. It is the only track in a long time that gives me chills.
Also, as a whole album the new Write This Down album "Lost Weekend" is one of the most abrasively honest confession albums I have ever heard. Most bands are okay with telling stories about others or pointing out the sins of the world, but this whole album is an inward look at the struggles of the band and their personal mistakes in careers, love, and life. Parts are hard to hear and take in without turning judgmental, but considering we are called to confess to one another this should be a good blueprint of what the rest of us should be doing... myself included.
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