I’m a song nerd. When I hear a song, I’m listening intently to lyrics, lyrical content, lyrical meaning, chord construction, phrasing, and production.
During 2008 I heard some excellent music. There were times that I listened to something that made me laugh out loud, or cry or feel something deep in my soul… and I wanted to share some of those moments with you.
These are in no particular order and are from no particular genre. Some Christian Artists made the list and some didn’t. Some famous folks, some not so famous. There should be an honorable mention section but that would take me weeks to write… and to all of my friends that make music, you know I love you!
1) “Stand Up” – Flobots
I heard the Flobots on a late night show in the spring of 2008 and was instantly enamored with their energy, sound and instrumentation. A viola, trumpet, drum kit, slammin’ bass, rock guitar and 2 rappers?? Who even THOUGHT of that?? I grew up listening to bluegrass and folk, rock, and rap, so I guess they covered all of my bases (basses?).
We shall not be moved, except by a child with no socks and shoes,
Except by a woman dying from a loss of food
Except by a freedom fighter bleeding on a cross for you.
Lyric at 1:33.
2) “Mayday!! – Flobots
I actually loved the entire Flobots album, and the poetry in this song grabbed me too. You can find the song Mayday!! on Youtube, but this excellent cover by ShamrockShakespeare really highlights the lyrics.
When I wanna shut out this world
Wanna rip up this page
Wanna pour out this heart
Wanna get up on this stage
And my lips become percussion
And my fists become the rage
And I pound on this table
Til it gives me something to say
Then I think about things that Ive seen
Right in front of me
That I don’t wanna believe
Gimme one of these mikes
Lemme let ‘em know
The way that it is is not how it’s gonna be
Not if we don’t let ‘em get ahead of us
The present tensions no threat
It’s just a fence across the path
That were already ready to walk
Rock solid footsteps
Let ‘em put up obstacles
And prove that it isn’t possible
We don’t give ‘em any weight
True liberty and freedom’s at stake
Peace will never become passé
Live my life until my last day
Lyric at 1:47
3) Sarah Bareilles – Many The Miles
My brother Jeff and I met for coffee one morning and he handed me his iPhone, headphone attached, and said “man, you have GOT to listen to this song”. I loved this live acoustic version.
I’ve been talking to God, don’t know if it’s helping or not but something has got to got to give, cause I can’t keep waiting to live!”
4) Live, Love, Lose – Korby Lenker
I connected with Korby a few months ago. I have fallen in love with the way he writes songs and stories. I saw him live recently and I would highly recommend you do the same. This song was recorded in Loretta Lynn’s Bathroom, and there’s a great story behind that (like there wouldn’t be).
The bridge in this song makes me smile EVERY time I hear it, and right after the bridge he rips a great guitar solo. One of the reasons I like the solo so much is that you can’t see his fingers… His facial expressions add a little spice to the song.
If you held me up to the light, you could probably see my heart
Just like those fish you can buy from the pet store
But you don’t work there anymore.
5) The Prodigal – Brad Reynolds
My friend Brad Reynolds wrote a song recently and the song deals with God’s forgiveness and healing.
As I come to the place where the living water
Flows from the father to the sons and daughters
Breathing new life to the broken and alone.
6) I Am “The Quiet Entertainer”
Here are some lyrics that grabbed me by an artist that doesn’t even speak at his shows. Why should anything be normal for a guy named “The Quiet Entertainer”. I met Q.E. at a show a few months ago where he was opening for my friends The KnapsackHeroes. Describing a Quiet Entertainer show is challenging… If you took The Blue Man Group, taught them how to scratch records and mix beats, introduced them to European rave music, combined them into one person and gave them the heart of a servant, you may come close. The lyrics below very eloquently describe what The Quiet Entertainer does at a show. They were written and performed by Nashville Rapper James Fate, and Quiet does all the musical background. My whole family walks around the house saying “I… Am… The Quiet Entertainer… I… Am… The Quiet Entertainer…
I included “I Am” in the music player below, but to get a sense for a live performance, check out this video.
I met him at café coco on Elliston and Louise
Came to show love to some of my MC’s
But on the ones and two’s he’s a stranger to my eye
Movin’ to the music and flailin’ his hands high
Motioning his fingers to get the crowd to reply
But he wouldn’t make a sound and I didn’t know why
Feeling the beats beat, sweat beadin’ down his face
The melody and rhythm met in a sweet embrace
Poetry in motion people starving for a taste
Of Musical Satisfaction they came to the right place
Bass resonating drums come at a fast pace
Breathin’ heavy like he finished some hundred yard dash race
Ace on the plates
Face in the crates
Hands on the wheels of steel never putting on the breaks
Face to face, asked him why he never speak
He just pound his fist on the SP and let it repeat Like
“I AM THE Quiet Entertainer”
7) A Little Too Late – Jordan Burris
I met Jordan at the French Quarter Cafe a couple of years ago. I couldn’t shake the imagery of a song he performed, that talks about having a conversation with Jesus, after you die and Him telling you ‘well, it’s too late for you.’ My friend Burt always said “you never hear the best music on the radio, and Jordan embodies that statement!
You knew I’d be comin’ back one day.
Still you walked in your sinful ways.
The one who died to set you free
It’s a little too late to talk to me now
A little late to talk to me.
8 ) Choices – Sean Smith (Sean Smith and Brad Reynolds wrote this one).
Sean has built a great career as a Christian singer/songwriter/performer. I had the wonderful opportunity to hear him perform live in my living room a few years ago. His new song “Choices” hit me deep in my soul, and I loved the first line.
It’s hard to believe and even harder to see
Somewhere today’s gonna be somebody’s last day
So do your best to make a difference with your allotted time
Cause we’re all standing in the checkout line.
9) “Bored” and “There Has Got to be More” – Korby Lenker
I mentioned earlier that Korby’s music resonates loudly with me. The lyrics in these two songs are killer and hit me hard, because when I get down about something, these are some of the thoughts that run through my head.
Maybe it just doesn’t matter
Life’s a game of Chutes and Ladders
And the best that you can hope for
Is to roll the dice and not die poor.
There Has Got to be More:
Maybe I’m scared
Maybe I’m lazy,
Maybe I’m waiting for something to save me.
10) Home – The Anna Ross Project
My brother plays bass for this uber-talented Nashville based folk-rock band. Anna writes her own songs, and wrote “Home” some time ago. There is a line about her grandmother going to heaven, and the lyrical turn always gets me. I love hearing this song live.
A Kiss on your lips, one summer day
Then the Lord, He took you away.
Home Sweet Home.
If you enjoy the songs on this player, you can add it to your website, blog, Facebook or Myspace by clicking on the “Share” button at the bottom of the player and following the instructions.
Happy New Year!