Redemption song

No, I’m not talking about that Johnny Cash song. Or the Bob Marley one. I was just trying to come up with a clever title for this post. Just read on.

I used to be somewhat of a music snob. It started to become something that defined who I was (aka an idol). At that point, I started listening to music I didn’t even like just to impress people (who, I’m not exactly sure). I wanted to seem, well, snobby. Then I became unemployed (followed by a position as a struggling intern) and didn’t have the money to go to concerts or buy music.

The combination of no money and a-good-thing-into-an-ultimate-thing trend meant I withdrew into self-righteous holiness and intentionally didn’t engage in that part of culture at all (or much of any part of culture). Can you see I tend to swing in extremes? Um, yeah. It’s sad, because music has always been a creative outlet and enjoyment for me and it was being stifled. Yes, it’s true, I’m a stifler.

The pendulum, I think, is swinging back to somewhere in the middle. Praise Jesus. Now that I’m working a staff job at Mars Hill and have some fun money to spend again I’ve been getting back into the music scene. Last night I poked around iTunes doing research and then went down to Easy Street (one of my favorite places EVER) and perused the aisles, my scratch paper in hand. It was beautiful. That, my friends, is redemption.

I came out with some jems. I must admit, I am fearful that some of you out there reading this are thinking, “Oh I’ve been listening to that album for months (or years) now.” That’s because I care what you think. I like to be the first to know about everything. Repentance for me is listening anyway.

So here’s the lineup:

Peter Bjorn and John – Writer’s BlockI’m glad this album is awesome and that it just may make it into my top-tier album category. Listening to Sufjan Stevens, Radiohead, and Iron & Wine over and over again for the last year and a half is getting a bit old. Like Sufjan, this band has had to grow on me (in part due to my resistance to its popularity), but what I find is the kind of music I am typically drawn to, but with a twist that challenges me to give some new and unfamiliar mixture of sounds a chance.

The Shins – Wincing the Night AwayChutes Too Narrow was wonderful. Oh, Inverted World didn’t do much for me, probably it felt like it took more effort to listen to it. Where does this album fit in? I think somewhere in the middle. It’s upbeat, fun, fresh, and a bit poppy. I appreciate the song “Sea Legs.”

Aqualung – Memory Man – songs from Aqualung’s first album bring back fond memories of my trip to Scotland a few summers ago, so I thought I’d come back for more (and maybe another nostalgic trip down memory lane). The overall sound is somewhere in between David Gray and Coldplay.

Damien Rice – 9Jason and I went to the Damien Rice concert at Benaroya Hall back in April and thought he was fantastic live. At that point, I had been listening to his first album, 0, for several years and found his angst appropriate for the more mellow moments in life. The new music I heard at the concert that I’m now hearing again on his new album sounds almost as sweet to my ears as it did when I heard it live. But, let’s admit it–you can’t beat Benaroya.

Beck – GueroSally and Adelle went wedding dress shopping with me on Sunday and music from this album was cranked up in the car. Doug Finefrock says this is the best Beck album ever and I believe him. You should believe him, too, since I haven’t gotten a chance to really dive into it just yet. All I know is when I listen to “Que’ Onda Guero” it’s got this Beastie Boys vibe I’m diggin’ (minus the abrasive, whiny white-guy rapper voice).

Alright, no more blogging for now. I’ve got music to listen to (and enjoy!).

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