Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

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Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – Beatles (Deluxe Edition) 
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Has it really been 50 years ago that we first heard Paul McCartney sing that opening line “It was 20 years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play?” Yes, believe it or not, the Beatles classic album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which many (including me), consider the greatest rock album of all time, was released in the U.S. 50 years ago on June 2, 1967 (having been released the previous day in England).
Back then there was no Internet, Twitter or iTunes. I bought my albums at the local K-Mart, where mono albums sold for $3.44 and stereo for $3.77. I remember looking at the albums on this particular night and only realizing that this strange looking album, with the band sporting facial hair for the first time and colorful uniforms, was a Beatles album, by seeing “BEATLES” spelled out along the bottom in funeral flowers.
My Mom worked evenings at the IAA building at that time. As we picked her up from work, from the back seat I excitedly said to her, “Mom, there’s a new Beatles album out!” I can remember her response like it was yesterday. She replied “I was afraid you’d find out about it”.
Much has changed in those 50 years. Mom is gone, K-Mart is gone, and so are two of the Beatles, John Lennon and George Harrison. And I’ve since heard most of these songs performed live in concert by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. And the soon to be 75-year old McCartney was only 25 years old when he released “When I’m 64”.
For the 50th anniversary celebration, the remaining Beatles and their representatives turned to Giles Martin, the son of their long-time producer George, who died in 2016. Giles had assisted his father, then 80, on the excellent 2006 Beatles’ release Love. Giles worked with Abbey Road audio engineer Sam Okell on the new project.
Interestingly, in the liner notes, Martin states that the original Sgt. Pepper was primarily mixed as a mono album.  Care and attention was applied to the mono album with the Beatles present for the mixes. He writes that almost as an afterthought the stereo album was mixed very quickly with the Beatles present at the sessions. Yet, Martin writes, it is the stereo album that most people listen to today.
The new Sgt. Pepper comes in various packages (single and double CDs, a deluxe box of four CDs and two DVDs, etc.). I purchased the 2 CD deluxe edition, containing 31 tracks, the remastered original album and 18 other versions of the original songs (including “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane”, recorded for the album but released in February, 1967, as a two-sided single, and not included on the album), in various states of development. Beatles fans will enjoy hearing these early versions of the songs. And with Sgt. Pepper already considered by many as the greatest rock album ever, how much better would it have been if “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane” had been included on the original album?
Of course it wasn’t just the facial hair and the fact that they weren’t performing as the Beatles that we knew, but instead as the fictional Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. No, in the studio, the Beatles had the opportunity to experiment in sound. So they not only “looked” different, but Sgt. Pepper was ground-breaking in that it “sounded” different, with horns, sound effects, Indian instruments, etc. There were also the many references to drugs on the album – Ringo sings that he gets high with a little help from his “friends”, John Lennon’s “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, was shorthand for LSD, which he was supposedly consuming like M&Ms during the recording sessions, and Lennon tells us in “A Day in the Life”, that he’d love to “turn us on”.
So what is the result of Martin’s and Okell’s work? The album was originally recorded on Abbey Road’s four-track board. The 2017 version is nothing short of stunning. You can clearly hear the instruments and background vocals better than before. For example, Ringo Starr’s drums on “Good Morning, Good Morning” come through as much more powerful than on the original version. Listen to the three beats before John Lennon sings “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. George Harrison’s “Within You Without You”, always my least favorite song on the album, sounds fresh as you hear Harrison’s Indian instruments interact with George Martin’s 11-piece string section. And listen to George Harrison’s guitar work on “Fixing a Hole” and “Good Morning, Good Morning”.
So, check out the 2017 version of Sgt. Pepper in one of the packages available, and see what all the fuss has been about for 50 years.

  • New Newsboy Single to Include Guest Appearance from Peter Furler. The new single from the Newsboys will feature a guest performance by former lead singer Peter Furler. The single is a cover of “The Cross Has the Final Word”, written and recorded by worship leader Cody Carnes.
  • Jon Foreman Releases Cover of Lifehouse’s “Flight”.Switchfoot lead singer Jon Foreman’s cover of Lifehouse’s song “Flight”, is the second in a pair of covers, the first being Lifehouse singer Jason Wade’s cover of the Switchfoot classic “Dare You to Move.”
  • Uptown. Watch this video for Andy Mineo’s song “Uptown”.
  • Bono Thinks Christian Music Needs More Honesty. “U2’s Bono appears in a new video fromFULLER Studio, and in this clip, he wonders why so many themes found prominently in the Psalms—like hubris, rage, tears, searching—are missing in modern Christian music.”
  • U2 on Jimmy Kimmel. Watch U2 perform “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” recently on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Music Quotes:

  • The greatest songs of worship come from that pure place of trying to help people cry out to God. Chris Tomlin
  • You can make many plans but God’s purpose will always prevail. Tedashii

The Little Things That Give You Away by U2  

U2 has debuted a new song called “The Little Things That Give You Away” on their 30th anniversary of The Joshua Tree tour. Watch them perform the song on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

The night gave you song
A light had been turned on
You walked out in the world
Like you belong there

As easy as a breeze
Each heart was yours to please
Is it only me who sees
There’s something wrong there

Oh, I’m not a ghost there
I can see you
You need to see me

It’s the little things that give you away
The words you cannot say
Your big mouth in the way
It’s the little things that tease and betray
As the hunted I become the prey
It’s the little things
The little things that give you away

I saw you on the stairs
You didn’t notice I was there
That’s ‘cause you were talking at me
Not to me

You were high above the storm
A hurricane being born
What was freedom
It might cost you your liberty

It’s the little things that give you away
The words you cannot say
Your big mouth in the way
It’s the little things that tease and betray
As the hunted I become the prey
It’s the little things
The little things that give you away

Sometimes
I can’t believe my existence
See myself on a distance
I can’t get back inside
Sometimes
The air is so anxious
All my tasks are so thankless
And all of my innocence has died
Sometimes
I wake at four in the morning
Where all the doubt is swarming
And it covers me in fear
Sometimes, sometimes, sometimes
Sometimes, sometimes, sometimes
Sometimes
Full of anger and grieving
So far away from believing
That any song will reappear
Sometimes
The end is not dawning
It’s not coming
The end is here
Sometimes, sometimes, sometimes
Sometimes, sometimes
I’m full of anger and grieving
So far away from believing
That any song will reappear
Sometimes
The end isn’t coming
It’s not coming
The end is here
Sometimes

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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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