Mockingbird, Music and Culture, Pop Music

Perhaps one of the keys to understanding the album as a whole is Del Rey’s cover of Nina Simone’s “The Other Woman” at the end of the album. In many ways Del Rey (either autobiographically or as her persona) views herself as an outsider, an interloper in her various relationships with men. To me that is the connecting thread, how lonely, unsatisfied and powerless one is being in that position of the other woman and the very human ways she tries to find satisfaction and gain power over her situation.

This identity takes various meanings and forms on the album, from actually being the other woman in “Shades of Cool” and “Sad Girl”, conflicted as to who she is in “Ultraviolence” (is she deadly or submissive), one of many women in “Cruel World” or the woman who is other (“I am a dragon, you’re a whore”) because she “passed the test” in “F*cked My Way Up To The Top”.

The album begins with her giving herself up to a man (“Share my body and my mind with you”) but when we come to the end she is alone (“And as the years go by the other woman will spend her life alone, alone, alone”). The journey from surrendering herself to these relationships to isolation plays out in dichotomies between power/weakness, submissiveness/femme fatale, violence as beauty/using beauty for violence, spiritualizing relationships and self/dismissing God, trusting in money/money doesn’t satisfy, etc. I can relate with Del Rey because I have given all of myself to someone before, felt the multitude of conflicting emotions that Del Rey has and used language about God in the context of that romantic relationship while refusing to seek out God.

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Cinema Coma, Music and Culture

Suddenly the baby stops crying. She looks back to the car seat firmly attached to the backseat of the Suzuki. Screaming out with tears gushing from her eyes, she pleads in painful bewilderment wondering who took her baby. But something more mysterious is occurring here. In the midst of her shrieks, a confused boy calls out for his dad from the sidewalk and then suddenly and violently a car without a driver collides into another. What’s going on here? Where did these people go? Why am I left behind? This is the story of the 98%, those unlucky souls in a now graceless world, questioning how will they rebuild and recover. They are the leftovers.

2014 seems to be the return of that classic of Hollywood film genre, the Biblical epic. From Mark Burnett’s Son of God to Darren Aronofsky’s Noah and later this year, Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings. In a wider purview, films centered on faith pulled in large box office numbers this year such as God’s Not Dead starring Kevin Sorbo ($60M gross is not to shabby for Hercules) and Heaven is for Real ($89M gross). The small screen is seeing similar explorations of biblical themes with Resurrection and now the upcoming HBO series The Leftovers premiering June 29th.

The Leftovers is based on a book by Tom Perrotta and produced by Lost writer Damon Lindelof. After delving into Evangelical sub-culture with his book The Abstinence TeacherPerrotta became fascinated with the Evangelical belief in an event called the rapture. According to those who subscribe to this belief, Christians will be taken away to heaven in an instant, vanishing like a vapor. Those who are left on the earth suffer through the Great Tribulation, a period of time where God pours out his wrath on those who were not chosen to be raptured into heaven.

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Hip-Hop, Music and Culture, Music and Worship, Rock

Questionable Searches (John Piper Hip Hop Edition)

John Piper

aroma contemporary christian music lyrics

Ink and parchment with a bit of mustiness for good measure.

christian song called trying too hard

This:

church hymns predictable chords

All of them. ‘Nuff said. BOOM!

does god honor groaning as way of worship?

Why yes he does. What kind of question is that? Have you not heard of the Christian Metal scene? He also accepts scream, yells and cries especially when set against de-tuned guitars with killer riffs.

harlem shake in bible meaning

The town of Harlemite was an ancient Israelite town which was destroyed due to something called the “shake”. People became obsessed with doing the “shake” and eventually everyone ran themselves out of town because of all the shaking. They decided to stop the “shake” but the town, sadly, was already gone. So they started a new town and this is the story of how Jerusalem was founded. Fact.

is john jacob jingleheimer schmidt out of the bible

Half of him is. John and Jacob are in there but Jingleheimer and Schmidt are oddly not to be found. If you had asked, “Is John Jacob Jehoshaphat Shemaryahu out of the bible?” The answer would have been yes, of course.

john piper hip hop

Yes John Piper does hip hop. He goes by the moniker MC Biblical Manhood Against Feminism and the Post-Modern World and is the manliest hip hopper out there. Also highly influential with other rappers, see here.

young cheesy christian girl band

Like Beyonce, Chuck E Cheese has an all woman band. Don't let the mustache fool you.

Like Beyonce, Chuck E Cheese has an all woman band. Don’t let the mustache fool you.

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Classical, Hip-Hop, Music and Culture, Rock, World Music

Month in Music (March 2013)

David-Bowie-The-Next-Day1

A review of the month in music.

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Christ and Pop Culture, Music and Culture, Rock

“All clichés are true. The years really do speed by. Life really is as short as they tell you it is. And there really is a God–so do I buy that one? If all the other clichés are true…” David Bowie

Last week, Jimi Hendrix reigned in the number two spot on the Billboard 200 and this week that position is filled by David Bowie’s new album The Next Day. It is only fitting that one of Bowie’s songs on the new album (“The Stars (Are Out Tonight)”) contains the line,”Stars are never sleeping/ Dead ones and the living,” in light of this surprising takeover of the charts by two classic rockers, one dead and one living. Unlike Hendrix who saw his music as religion, Bowie has explored a pantheon of religious beliefs as he noted in a 2004 Ellen interview: “I was young, fancy free and Tibetan Buddhism appealed to me at that time. I thought, ‘There’s salvation.’ It didn’t really work. Then I went through Nietzsche, Satanism, Christianity… pottery, and ended up singing. It’s been a long road.”

In his darkest cocaine fueled days he turned towards Christianity and wrote “Station to Station” as his contemplation of the stations of the cross. In a February 1997 Q Magazineinterview Bowie stated, “The ‘Station to Station’ track itself is very much concerned with the stations of the cross… I’ve never read a review that really sussed it. It’s an extremely dark album. Miserable time to live through, I must say.”

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