Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

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Crooked – Propaganda
****

Propaganda’s first album since 2014’s Crimson Cord is hard-hitting and challenging, with excellent vocal (spoken word and hip hop) delivery, musical backing and production. Much has happened in America since Crimson Cord and some of the lyrics are right out of the news.

Below are a few thoughts about each of the songs:

Crooked Way featuring Terence F. Clark – This is a powerful opening track, produced by Braille and written with Terence F. Clark. There is much to take in here, which will require multiple listenings. He covers a history of racism from Native Americans and the Confederate flag. Interjects humor about skinny jeans and Dickies. Says he is not a leader, just a hippie with daddy issues, crooked with halos balanced on the tip of his horns.

It’s Complicated – He has zipped up his emotions into a dusty duffel bag that he’s named poetry. He speaks of transgender issues, that we are a laundry list of identity issues and that sometimes our plumbing doesn’t match our urges. It’s complicated.

Bear With Me featuring Marz Gerrer – Produced by Ohmega Watts. This track is about the ups and downs of being in love. Love is not love if it’s never been tested.

Cynical featuring Aaron Marsh & Sho Baraka – This powerful track is produced by Beautiful Eulogy. It hits on several items out of the news – Trump rallies, refugees, immigration – but he’s concerned that Christians are arguing about bathrooms. He addresses being lied to, intolerance and fear.

Slow Cook – This track is produced by Courtney Orlando and Steele, and it’s about his musical influences. “That’s the hip hop I fell in love with”.

Do Know Wrong featuring Macho – Produced by Wert and co-written with Macho. His love letter to California (Cali), with numerous references (earthquake, smog, Poly High, palm trees, traffic, lack of water, ocean, Fatburger, King Taco).

Gentrify – Produced by DJ Efechto. This upbeat sounding track with Odd Thomas on keyboards, addresses a serious subject, gentrification. “And when you see them billboards yelling “cash for homes” Gentrify.”

I Hate Cats – This is a very creative spoken word piece on racism and stereotyping, substituting cats and dogs for Blacks and Whites. Funny and serious.

Darkie featuring Micah Bournes and Kackie Hill-Perry – Produced by Daniel Steele, this song addresses racism within the Black community (hating on they own kind). Features additional vocals from Izzy Ray.

It’s Not Working (The Truth) featuring Courtney Orlando. Produced by Courtney Orlando, who also co-wrote the song. A sad and powerful telling of the history of Blacks in America. He wants the truth and to focus on God. Features a guitar solo from Isaiah Cox.

You say I’m King of Kings, but son, I don’t get it how,
You could trust me for eternity, but can’t trust me for now

Andrew Mandela featuring Topknot Feather – The song title brings together the names of Nelson Mandela and Andrew Jackson, who are addressed in the first two verses. Produced by Courtney Orlando and co-written with Topknot Feather.

Ooh, I take shots at your sacred cows
Dance with skeletons in closets
I point at elephants in the room
And make a mockery of heroes 

Olympian featuring Xavier Omär – Produced by Courtney Orlando, this song was written during a very difficult week (death, miscarriage, HIV positive), for some of Propaganda’s friends. Odd Thomas provides additional vocals.

Don’t you stop now, baby
Show your fight now, baby
You’re an olympian, baby
You can’t quit now

Made Straight featuring Audrey Assad –  Produced by Courtland Urbano. Co-written with Audrey Assad, who contributes excellent vocals. He looks forward with joy and anticipation for the day in which God (the time keeper) comes and makes the crooked way straight.

ICPTSD –  Produced by Derek Minor and written by Propaganda. This bonus track ICPTSD is an acronym for Inner City Present Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is about the trauma of living in the inner city. It features a good guitar solo at the end.

This is an album that requires serious listening. All aspects were well done. It was challenging for me as a white man, and it is my top album of the year thus far.

  • New Fernando Ortega Release. One of my favorite artists, Fernando Ortega, will release his first new album in six years, The Crucifixion of Jesus on August 4. The album will include eleven contemplative songs and six readings.
  • New Matt Maher Album. Matt Maher will release a new album, entitled Echoes, on September 15. His last album, Saints and Sinners, was my top album of 2015
  • This Ain’t the Same Lecrae. Aaron Cline Hanbury writes “Though he’s always been vocal about injustice, Lecrae’s support of the Black Lives Matter movement and his renewed calls for Christians to speak out against racial violence, struck a nerve amongst some of his fans. The backlash was fierce. It took its toll on hip-hop’s rising star.”
  • Cumbia. Watch this video for Gawvi’s new summer song “Cumbia”.
  • How Long Must We Sing This Song? Steven Garber writes “That is the great gift of U2, and it is why the stadiums of the world fill up at almost a moment’s notice when the word goes out that the biggest band in the world is going to come again to sing their songs shaped by the truest truths of the universe in language the whole world can understand. We all know those songs, we all will sing them, again and again and again.”
  • 7 Reasons I Love Hymns of Grace. Jesse Johnson writes “I’m writing this post to persuade pastors that this should be your church’s hymnal. Here are seven reasons why: HoG has a unique collection of new songs, pastor-poet songs, old songs you haven’t sung before, tweaked songs, American songs, popular songs, and Getty Songs.”
  • New Van Morrison Album. Van Morrison will release his 37th studio album. Roll With the Punches on September 22nd. The album will contain covers of old blues and soul classics along with five new compositions from Morrison.  Pre-order the album from iTunes and get an excellent version of “Bring It on Home to Me”
  • Songs of Summer. Lynde Landgon writes “Here is a guide to some of the tunes at the top of Billboard’s “Hot Christian Songs” chart this month, some of which could make the start of a memorable playlist for your next cookout.”
  • New NEEDTOBREATHE Music. NEEDTOBREATHE released two news “Count on Me” and “Waiting” on July 14.  They are part of Hard Cuts: Songs from the Hard Love Sessions CD EP, to be released on August 11. Listen to both songs.
  • NEEDTOBREATHE Video. Take another look at the video for “HARD LOVE” (feat. Andra Day) by NEEDTOBREATHE.  The song will be included on their forthcoming EP.
  • Fresh Prince. Watch the lyric video for Derek Minor’s new song “Fresh Prince”.

  • Jesus is our living water. The One who quenches every thirst. Chris Tomlin
  • Guilt says, “You failed.” Shame says, “You’re a failure.” Grace says, “Your failures are forgiven.” Lecrae
  • No, they did not take his life–he laid it down. And the chains of death could never hope to hold him, so in the night my hope lives on. Andrew Peterson

 

The Cross Has the Final Word – Newsboys (featuring Peter Furler)

This new song has the Newsboys joining forces with long-time lead singer and founding member Peter Furler. The song is written by Cody Carnes, and produced by Seth Mosley, along with Furler and Michael “X” O’Connor.

Listen to the song here.

The cross has the final word
The cross has the final word
Sorrow may come in the darkest night
But the cross has the final word

The cross has the final word
The cross has the final word
Evil may put up its strongest fight
But the cross has the final word

The cross has the final word
The cross has the final word
The Savior has come with the morning light
The cross has the final word
The cross has the final word

Michael Tait and Peter Furler

The cross has the final word
He traded death for eternal life
The cross has the final word!!!

There’s nothing stronger, nothing higher
Nothing greater, than the Name of Jesus
All the honor, all the power
All the glory to the Name of Jesus

There’s nothing stronger, nothing higher
Nothing greater, than the Name of Jesus
All the honor, all the power
All the glory to the Name of Jesus!

The cross has the final word
The cross has the final word
The Savior has come with the morning light
The cross has the final word

The cross has the final word
The cross has the final word
He traded death for eternal life
The cross has the final word!!!

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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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