Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

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The Wonderlands DarknessThe Wonderlands: Darkness by Jon Foreman
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See my Amazon reviews of Sunlight here and Shadows here.

This is the third of four Wonderlands EPs from Switchfoot lead singer, guitarist and primary songwriter Jon Foreman, and follows Sunlight released in late May and Shadows in July. The four “hourly” EPs were to each feature six songs, or one song for each hour of the day – though this EP actually features seven songs. Foreman indicated that he wanted “to sneak 25 songs into 24 hours.”

Each song on the project, that has been 10 years and more than 1,000 hours in the making, is co-produced with someone different. So there will be 25 songs and 25 producers, certainly a unique approach from the always creative Foreman. He has stated in an interview that his collaborators would send him back their musical response: bass, clarinet, background vocals, etc. His challenge was how to put those things together and make it sound like a cohesive statement rather than 25 different projects. Every hour had to be distinct and yet still feel like a cohesive body of work.

Foreman has stated that the Wonderlands EPs would explore themes of faith and doubt, love and frustration, and everything else. Below are brief comments and favorite lyrics on each of the new songs:

Come Home – this is a song that encourages one to come home to where the heart is. I liked the use of orchestration. A key line is “And nothing hurts worse than hope that’s deferred”.

Looking for reasons to try
A reason to live or to die
Won’t you come home
Back to where your heart is
This is the meaning of life
You were born for the dance not the fight
Won’t you come home
Back to where your heart is

Beautiful, Pt. II – I liked the echo call and response that begins the song. It features acoustic guitar, strings, atmospheric background vocals, light drums and building orchestration. Taylor York and Jon Howard co-produced the song with Foreman. The song represents 11:30pm. A key line states that the makeup covers the pain she can never control.

Look like a funeral, but I see right through
You’re so beautiful, You’re so beautiful

You Alone – Cubbie from Foster The People co-produced the song with Foreman. This song has a quicker pace, and is the most upbeat musically song on this edition of the Wonderlands EPs. It features acoustic guitar and atmospheric background vocals.

You alone, you alone, can heal my soul

She Said – This song begins with piano, light drums and acoustic guitar and then builds musically with atmospheric background vocals as the song progresses. Looking for answers is a theme here.

I hear her talking to herself in bed
All my tears are falling on the floor, she says
I’ve never felt it rain like this before, she says
I’ll sing these black eyed blues into the storm instead
I’ll be waiting for the new eyes to arrive
One breath at a time

Larger than Life – I liked the use of backing vocals and the unique use of strings. It is a song of encouragement to one who is down.

Do you feel the weight again?
Are you feeling like you’re caving in?
You’re larger than life my friend
You’re bigger than what you’ve been
Are you running away again?
Are you feeling blown by the wind?
You’re larger than life

June and Johnny – This song, which references singing June Carter and Johnny Cash songs as they drive down the highway, is a simple love song featuring acoustic guitar. The song is a duet with Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek, who Foreman collaborates with in his side projects with the Fiction Family.

And I’ll hold you all my life
Like a memory at the back of my mind

Inner Peace – This is the second shortest track at just over three minutes. Lyrically it’s my favorite of the new songs. He is searching for reasons (for pain, rain when he is alone, and longing for justice). He is at war inside, fighting all his life. He has a lot on his mind, and he longs for the water that will make him clean.

Inner peace is hard to find.
Peace of heart and peace of mind

 How can we be ourselves if we don’t know who we are?

Jon Foreman is one of our most creative and prolific artists today. These songs have a great deal of complexity and will reveal more and more after each repeated listen.

We now have 19 songs in the Wonderlands series. The final EP, The Wonderlands: Dawn is scheduled to be released October 23.

Music News:

  • How “You Can’t Stop Me” Became Baseball’s Top “Walk-Up” Song. Andy Mineo’s upbeat rap single, “You Can’t Stop Me,” was crowned the best walk-up song in baseball after a week-long vote and win’s ESPN.com’s inaugural Whammy award.
  • If You Love Her. As I was reading Jena Lee Nardella’s inspiring book One Thousand Wells, I listened to “If You Love Her” by Jars of Clay a few times. You can watch the band perform the song here.
  • Victory. Did you see Yolanda Adams perform “Victory” recently on The Tonight Show?
  • Wouldn’t It Be Nice? Jon Foreman covers the classic Beach Boys song.
  • Two New Don Henley Songs from Cass County. With two early released tracks, the former member of the Eagles lets his fans have a taste of what’s to come on his first solo album in fifteen years. “Take a Picture of This” and “That Old Flame (ft. Martina McBride)” — both co-written by Stan Lynch — nod to the place Don Henley called home before “Hotel California.” Listen to both songs here.
  • 14 Best Songs by Andrew Peterson. Dave Trout and Andrew Peterson share their thoughts about each selection.
  • The Burning Edge of DawnNew Andrew Peterson Release. The Burning Edge of Dawn will not be released until October 9. However you can pre-order the album now and instantly be able to download three of the ten new songs. Andrew writes about the three songs: 1) “We Will Survive” is a song I wrote for Jamie about a tough season I went through last year. She has been a steady reminder of God’s good intentions during long months of uncertainty.  2) “The Rain Keeps Falling” is about the same thing—this one was partly inspired by a Luci Shaw poem called “Forecast.” It features my good friend Ellie Holcomb, along with my daughter Skye singing harmony. 3) “The Power of a Great Affection” is the closest thing I’ve written to a corporate worship song in a long time, and tells a little of the story of my life with Jesus. I read somewhere that about 100 years ago, when someone became a Christian they often said, “I’ve been seized by the power of a great affection.” That’s a beautiful sentence if ever there was one. That affection seized me and has never let go.” I’ve been listening to these new songs since last Wednesday and I have to tell you that they are excellent.

Song of the Week

Come Lift Up Your Sorrows

I’ve been significantly blessed by Michael Card’s ministry (music, books, teaching) for more than thirty years. I’ve heard him say numerous times that out of all the songs he’s written his favorite is “Come Lift Up Your Sorrows”, which was originally included on his 2006 album The Hidden Face of God. Watch him perform the song here.

If you are wounded
And if you’re alone
If you are angry
If you’re heart is cold as stone

If you have fallen
And if you are weak
Then come find the worth of God
That only the suffering seek.

Come lift up your sorrows
And offer your pain
Come make a sacrifice
of all your shame
There in your wilderness
He’s waiting for you
To worship Him with your wounds
for He’s wounded too.

He has not stuttered
and He has not lied.
When he says come unto me
you’re not disqualified

When you’re heavy laden
You may want to depart
But those who know sorrow
They’re closest to his heart

Come lift up your sorrows
And offer your pain
Come make a sacrifice
of all your shame
There in your wilderness
He’s waiting for you
To worship Him with your wounds
for He’s wounded too.

In this most holy place
He’s made a sacred space
For those who will enter in
and trust to cry out to him
And you’ll find no curtain there
No reason left for fear
There’s perfect freedom here
To weep every unwept tear.

Come lift up your sorrows
And offer your pain
Come make a sacrifice
of all your shame
There in your wilderness
He’s waiting for you
To worship Him with your wounds
for He’s wounded too.

Music Quote:

Take care of your family, be kind to your co-workers, pay attention to

the downtrodden. These are daily acts of worship. Fernando Ortega

 

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Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 37 years, a St. Louis Cardinals fan, a manager at a Fortune 50 company, a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary, and in leadership at my local church. I enjoy speaking about calling, vocation and work. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinders themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony and Achiever, and my two StandOut strengths roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book and Colossians 3:23 my favorite verse. Some of my other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, The Prodigal Son (originally titled A Tale of Two Sons) by John MacArthur and Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I enjoy Christian hip-hop/rap music, with Lecrae, Trip Lee and Andy Mineo being some of favorite artists.

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