While waiting

While I was waiting for the main event, I was almost meditating like in a desert, when I heard “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”.

The song was over the sound system in the café section of the theatre.

It’s a U2 song. U2 were described by Time in 1987 as the greatest rock n’ roll band in the world. But they aren’t really rock n’ roll. They are rock although their sound has changed tempo from album to album, even going alternative. They have never gone country.

“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” is the most popular single from their 1987 album The Joshua Tree. It was nominated for a Grammy.

Listening to it again today, I revisited the old feelings I had for the song back in 1987.

I loved singing along to it in my soul. But following the third section, which describes a love for what Jesus did, the section ends with the line, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. I just couldn’t sing that.

Because I believe that what Jesus can do for someone is the beginning of a journey and not the stepping stone of a quest. Jesus satisfies the believer’s heart and sends him or her on a journey with him.

This U2 song, unfortunately, leaves me cold by the end. By the end of the third section, the song falls flat rather than resonates; I was waiting for the lyric, I have found what I’m looking for. That doesn’t fit this song.

So, where would I sit with the The Joshua Tree? It came to me today. The album’s about a quest that is barely satisfied even with knowledge about what Jesus has done.

I would not sit in the middle as I have always done. I would not sit on the positive. But when it comes to theme I would have to sit on the other side, on the negative.

The album sounds good musically, but looking at the lyrical facts of this album, it lacks the thrust of theme to fully satisfy, unfortunately.

I wish I could say otherwise, but I can’t. I don’t think my experience of the album is a solitary one. I think the feeling is not unusual, depending on who one is talking to.

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Offside Mozart in dramatic telling

The fictional drama of an Austrian court composer’s revenge on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is scintillating, and scandalous. Composer Salieri is jealous of Mozart’s musical ability and his outlandish behavior puts him offside even more. He blames God for giving a greater gift to this “trained monkey”, as he calls Mozart, and not to himself. His confession of revenge to a Catholic priest recalls Salieri meeting Mozart and how their professional and personal relationship was tainted. The production values of Amadeus (1984) are done to the hilt—wonderful to behold, immaculate. Rating: 10/10

Good quality album all over

Irresistible, addictive Christian R&B and soul, with one iffy moment—“I’ll trust in the blood”?—maybe a way of saying something. Different Lifestyles (1991) took Bebe and Cece Winans to a higher level of production quality and a broader thematic palette than their previous albums, creating their definitive album if not the definitive Bebe and Cece experience. On the tracks Two Different Lifestyles and Searching for Love they are at their most poignant, but on their other records they bared their soul and relationship with God more transparently. On this one they are more polished, with soft, soothing touches, seductively so. Seems to be saying that God being there and humans being here, God can still fill the void in someone’s life, which is a great theme, beautifully done. Rating: 9/10

Ambiant and fresh

Following their self-titled debut, contemporary gospel music duo Bebe and Cece Winans upped the ante with Heaven (1988). The duo brings smooth, soulful vocal delivery, finely tuned into God, gospel and Christian faith. This production is very much a visceral experience. Ambient, fresh and infinitely singable, I was impressed hearing many of the songs on Christian radio and still am. Rating: 8/10

Sounding true to God

The self-titled debut of gospel soul duo Bebe and Cece Winans comes out a winner. It is an album of several similarly paced tracks which mostly remind me of pop corn movie music–in a negative sense. However, Change Your Nature is the best of them. The 1987 album sounds beautifully true to God on several slower, lower-key songs, though. Rating: 8/10

This one grew on me, after a toe-tapping start

Righteous Invasion of Truth which is a Christian contemporary album from 1995. Carman is the charismatic singer, who is an evangelical slash Pentecostal Christian. His style of music is Christian popular or Christian contemporary and is usually very imaginative with a strong Christian message. Righteous Invasion of Truth (1995) grew on me mostly. The highlights are bold and strong, ‘God is Exalted’ and ‘R.I.O.T’ open the album with a bang in forthright and toe tapping fashion. The rest is reasonable, perhaps quite good. Though I warmed more to it half-way in–‘Step of Faith’, ‘Not For Sale’, ‘There is a God’, and ‘Amen’ are simply kind of worshipful material. The theme of “righteous invasion” is more discernable throughout if one thinks about it. Rating: 7/10.

The final judge?

There are different levels of engaging media and art, but the top level perhaps, is when a work or piece of art speaks to the heart. Then one has engaged with the “eyes” of the heart, which is a genuine response. One can begin to see everything in “level one”, the level of seeing what speaks to the heart, and this may be a genuine response. Would seeing with the “eyes of the heart” be the final judge?

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.