"Thanks and thanks again to Him who offers to the man whom the sorrows of life have assaulted and left naked–offers to him the fig leaf of the Word with which he can cover his wretchedness." -Søren Kierkegaard

“Strawberry Swing” by Coldplay

Posted in Music by matt on Saturday, August 8, 2009

Below is the newest reason why Coldplay is my favorite band. Relentless creativity.

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Mutemath Video: Spotlight

Posted in Music by matt on Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sooooo the art of the music video is lost on me. I’m pretty sure I’ve watched a few, but each time I do my brain just shuts down and loses interest. I swear it’s involuntary. I either walk off and do something else or I just stare mindlessly until it’s over and the only thing left is an empty hole that sucked 4 minutes of my life away. There we go. That’s the best description I can give. Music videos are the little black holes of the entertainment industry. Thus the reason I can’t remember any.

But the video below is quite different. Not only have I watched it too many times, but I’m actually recommending that others watch it. And now, as though that isn’t already silly, I’m posting it for you. Not to mention it was my Dad who introduced the song and video to me. He and my brother keep me up-to-speed these days with entertainment stuff.

I particularly enjoyed the fact that the entire video is one continuous shot that they sped up and slowed down. The brilliance is in the simplicity, and it doesn’t hurt that the song’s really catchy.

So here ya go. And, as Criner likes to say, enjoy.

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Hierarchisizing My Music

Posted in Day-To-Day, Music by matt on Thursday, May 15, 2008

So I’m home, I’m packed, and I’m bored. Unfortunately, each of my four family members has a life outside of this house and obligations to fulfill.

Ridiculous, right?

Anyway this leaves me at home with nothing better to do than organize my iTunes library and perfect the curvature of my toenails with mere fingernail clippers (if you’re not impressed you definitely should be).

And I began to think, ‘What do I really like?’ So I’ve managed to rank my top ten favorite albums.

**A little disclaimer! I’m ranking these by album and not strictly by individual tracks (how does the entire album sound rather than certain songs?)**

That being said,

1. Emery – The Question

2. Radiohead – In Rainbows

3. John Mayer – Continuum

4. Death Cab for Cutie – Plans

5. James Taylor – Greatest Hits: Volume I

6. Les Misérables Highlights – International Cast Recording

7. Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head

8. Coheed & Cambria – In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3

9. Nobuo Uematsu – Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Original Soundtrack

10. Dispatch – Gut the Van

10 1/2. Emile Pandolfi – By Request (can’t leave out Emile)

10 3/4. Loreena Mckennitt – Book of Secrets (Or Loreena)

Apparently I couldn’t keep it at just ten…but there ya have it, proof of my music-addiction and of my boredom.

Suicide, Bonhoeffer, and Johnny Cash

Posted in Music, Theological by matt on Friday, April 18, 2008

In small group last Wednesday we talked about Mark 8.31-38 where Jesus talks about being a true disciple and carrying a cross. Before discussing the passage itself we watched the Johnny Cash cover of the old Nine Inch Nails song “Hurt”. The song is considered to be Cash’s epitaph as one commentator called it his “apology to God”. Regardless, it’s my favorite Johnny Cash song. Here it is if you’d like to watch:

I love the line, “You can have it all, my empire of dirt. I will let you down, I will make you hurt.” Powerful stuff coming from an old man who’s had a lot of ‘success’ and made a whole lot more mistakes.

So after we’d watched the clip and reread the passage we ended up discussing the meaning of that classic Christian t-shirt verse, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” But, being the impulsive twit that I am, I made a slightly overblown shock value statement. I said that Christ’s call to “take up your cross” could be understood today as him saying, “take up your guillotine” or “carry your electric chair” or (and here’s the worst) “take up your firing squad”. Then I said that Christ essentially calls us to a spiritual form of suicide.

For the sake of my conscience and a correct perspective (hopefully) I’d like to recant and restate all of that. Last night I was reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer‘s The Cost of Discipleship and he talked about this exact verse. I’ve got mad respect for this bro. He says,

Self-denial is never just a series of isolated acts of mortification or asceticism. It is not suicide, for there is an element of self-will even in that. To deny oneself is to be aware only of Christ and no more of self, to see only him who goes before and no more the road which is too hard for us. Once more, all that self-denial can say is: ‘He leads the way, keep close to him.’

And further down the page…

If our Christianity has ceased to be serious about discipleship, if we have watered down the gospel into emotional uplift which makes no costly demands and which fails to distinguish between natural and Christian existence, then we cannot help regarding the cross as an ordinary everday calamity, as one of the trials and tribulations of life.

For Bonhoeffer, taking up your cross is the ultimate form of commitment, or discipleship. It means embracing the suffering and rejection that Christ experienced and allowing him to lead you into a similar experience of your own.

Ha ha, if only I could rewind and say this instead of the goofy stuff I actually said at small group…

Plato’s Music

Posted in Music, Stuff I'm Reading by matt on Sunday, February 10, 2008

From one of my textbooks:

“according to Plato, music orchestrated the entire universe. In the celestial music of the heavenly spheres, as each planet in the heavens, from the moon to Saturn, resounded with its own musical note, the order of the cosmos was established as a musical harmony.”

Uhhhh, I think that’s rad. It’s similar to the formation of Tolkien’s story as the Ainur brought Middle Earth into existence by singing to Eru. And of course Lewis totally rips him off when writing The Magician’s Nephew as Aslan sings Narnia into existence.

So my question is, “What is it about music that moves the soul and conducts the cosmos?” I’m definitely addicted to the stuff, but what makes it so powerful? Da thinks it’s the most powerful of the art forms and I think he’s right. I think God is an awesome conductor and creation is his magnum opus. I know, I know. This is all ridiculously sentimental, but it’s good to pause and recognize God through metaphor.

He wrote it, He let us play along, then we tried a different tune, but now by grace we are re-invited to perform for/with/to/through/in Him. Praise He who is worthy of our every musical effort! And may we slow down long enough to perceive His music as it is everywhere.