The Joshua Tree

The Joshua Tree—hmm, maybe I am too hard on it—but at another time in my life I admired it as a rare spiritually-themed album and it resonated with me. Do I now miss something about this unique album?

It meant more to me then than it seems to do now. I took this album on the road with me as I went on a sort-of “quest”, a spiritual quest really, trying to drain the spirituality I thought was in the album into my soul.

What were those spiritual themes?

Continue reading “The Joshua Tree”

Purpose

Justin Bieber is not an artist I have followed so I can’t categorize Bieber as one of the artists I follow. I must have ignored his seven other albums at my peril going by the screaming throngs of teenage girls at his concerts.

But I did like the sound of his single What Do You Mean and so picked the album with another 12 Bieber tracks on it.

What Do You Mean is electronic sounding pop that sounds clean and polished; it is smooth groove and makes one listen. It’s got moderately complex lyrics. I wanted more.

Bieber’s Purpose is a soft pop album that is ambient and fresh. There are thirteen tracks with the odd one out being “Children”. On the surface, “Children” is a departure from the album’s theme of a difficult relationship.

Although Bieber is singing about the love and break up of a relationship, the album isn’t overall bitter or nasty. The one unkind word is “Love Yourself”, which was a sour note.

Purpose doesn’t bore. From a quietly effective rap to ambient infused chords, but there are quibbles: it may be too long and the album comes around to themes that are off-putting.

Although Purpose was a pick of mine, it didn’t entirely shine on the day. I thought about how the lovers in the songs dealt with love and consequences.

Purpose is edgy in the sense that a parent wouldn’t want their daughter, who may listen to Purpose, to experience a love meltdown, but to somehow do a relationship a better way.

Album: Purpose, Artist: Justin Bieber, Genre: Soft pop, Year: 2015, Rating: 5/10

 

Within Reach

While I am not enthusiastic about Rick Cua as a career artist, his albums are middling if not mediocre with a few flourishes, I am keen on Midnight Sun and Within Reach which were better, released around the turn of the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Within Reach is Rick Cua’s best album. The Christian pop rocker released about half-a-dozen albums during the 1980’s and 1990’s and one in 2007.

Within Reach instantly hooks you in to the album that doesn’t let you down after a good start. It’s consistently engaging and sometimes is thought provoking.

Opening track Message of Love grabs you by the ears and the mind with an image: “I’m going climb up on a mountain, climb up on the top, declare the Lord’s mercy and pray the pain will stop.” Throughout the album, the words tend to be simple, but vivid.

Fatherly

Within Reach is aimed at young people mainly. The album could have been preachy and turn off listeners because Cua is offering a way to life, but it all works and is not off-putting. Cua is fatherly in a brother to brother manner. His voice is without a hint preachy.

The fatherly instincts of a pastor (Cua’s other career) are evident on tracks like Fifteen, a song about growing up while keeping the faith.

On Somewhere Tonight he seems to be adviser, a thought provoking number about thinking about the poor in our midst and offering a helping hand.

On Stand Your Ground, Cua is upfront and encourages ones to be unafraid of standing up for their Christian beliefs and faith and Cua rocks it through the roof saying it loud and proud.

For seasoned rockers, Within Reach may be too soft and straight forward. But for others, it’s got it where it counts: sound and words merge in a cogent pop rock harmony of faith and life. Get ready to rock!

Album: Within Reach, Artist: Rick Cua, Genre: Christian Pop Rock, Year: 1991, Rating: 8/10

The Secret of Time

This early Charlie Peacock album contains some tracks from his West Coast Diaries trilogy of albums of the late 1980’s that he has possibly redone for The Secret of Time. Before that, Peacock came out with his debut album in 1984. In 1996, a best-of album appeared containing about five tracks from The Secret of Time.

Peacock is a Christian artist, but what he’s not, is not inspirational in the traditional sense.

The musical style on this album is folk-pop, contemporary and rock. Charlie’s vocal style is always unique and resonant, some say they can’t define it. Charlie can’t be pigeonholed for his vocals this way or that.

A rock number opens the album. Charlie makes a statement about how he was ego-centric on “Big Man’s Hat”, was being the main thought.  The next rock song is at the end of this ten rack album, “Experience” and “Big Man’s Hat” instantly catch-on.

The track that is most alternative sounding is in the middle, “The Secret of Time”, which turns over on its distinctive electronic qualities.

In-between are soft folk-pop tracks with quieter ones being Dear Friend and Drowning Man, which both played on Christian radio at the time of the album’s release.

Apart from the rock tracks, and the quieter ones, the album didn’t bowl me over, but it’s saying good, thoughtful things about life and faith, the experience of life and faith, and hope and salvation.

Album: The Secret of Time, Artist: Charlie Peacock, Genre: Christian folk pop, Year: 1990, Rating: 8/10

Heavy in small, but memorable, doses

Been a week away from reading anything. Haven’t read Dante’s Inferno for a week. It concerns me because I should be reading something every day nearly.

A week is too long absent from a book. But, alas, there is a time for everything under the sun. There is a time to rest from reading.

Predicting in a week I’ll be back to the book and from there on to the finish line–when the book is finished.

Reading books is interesting, but it can also take it out of you. Inferno is ‘heavy’ in the sense it’s about lost souls in hell and Dante is giving a commentary on it. His commentary is sometimes caustic though I know it’s sort of humorous because he meets people he disliked in hell. Dante is also very serious about what’s going on in the underworld–it’s horrific.

Half-finished

At the end of this week I read less of Dante’s Inferno and am listening to music. Inferno is still on my radar to finish because I just want to. I don’t like to say that I finished the book half-way through. That’s not even finishing it. If I stopped reading it, I would become a statistic, the half finishes statistic. Following through on reading the book is a must, but at my leisure.