Category Archives: music

When Parallel Lines Collide…

…with a hurricane, there must be some kind of resolve.

What do I mean? I think that I mean I see the world in lines. Intersecting lines of intellectual thought, theology, emotion, creativity, spirituality, philosophy, scientific calculation, and mathematical exactness to name just a few.  These lines run in many directions, until they swirl around in a seemly abstract jumble – giving the appearance of both mysterious chaos and understandable structure at the same time.

From this – I like to see the connections and draw more lines between the lines that already exist. Integration. That’s how it is for me with the music of Switchfoot. The lines that I draw between, through and around the songs, the parallel (and sometimes perpendicular) lines of my life, the planet I tread on, and that which I cannot see – though hope for.

Let me go back about 9 years:

I first heard “Dare You to Move” in college – off of a friend’s mixed cd, playing in his truck. Nice. I liked it. I thought they were from Canada, because up until this time, none of my US friends had told me about this band full of surfers. Through the school year, the song played, and the debate raged, which is better, the chorus or the bridge (everyone knows it’s the chorus after the bridge).

And so my introduction to Switchfoot was complete.  I picked up “Learning to Breath” and I was on my way.  Many an evening was spent studying to the cd, or taking a study break to practice my simple beginner’s beat – drumming to the title track.

And so I went on with life, time went by, and I spent my hours studying and jamming to Switchfoot. Through the course of the year (after I was thoroughly hooked) the rest of the world started hearing about them because of the soundtrack of a little movie called “A Walk to Remember”.  I also went to the Edmonton Switchfoot concert for about 2 bucks, the definition of College: good music on a budget.

At the end of my college career, I participated in a trip (long story – supposed to be teaching English in China – ended up painting in Philadelphia).  While I was slapping blue paint on Nursery walls, singing my heart out to “Playing for Keeps,” thinking about how This is for real. Life is all in.

We went on a field trip day to NY City.  6 hours. One huge place. My main memory, Virgin Records store, Second floor of 4. The brand new Switchfoot Album “The Beautiful Letdown” which I purchased and then convinced 4 of my other 5 team mates to also buy.

As the trip ended, I head back to E-town for two final weeks with friends before I ripped my heart out, returned home from the frozen tundra and grieved the end of my childhood, and the death of college friendships that can not be kept up from afar.

You may recall the song “Meant to Live” the break out single. I remember track 2 “This is your Life” – from the opening sounds. Hearing, and  closing my eyes take me back 6 years to sitting in front of a computer, playing Roller Coaster Tycoon, waiting for my friends to come home from work.

This is your Life, Are you who you want to be?

This is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be

when the world was younger, and you had everything to loose.

That’s it. The question. The abyss of future starkly in front of me. This song, and this cd became the definition of the notes I was living. It paralleled the world I was walking in.

Over the years, I’ve chalked it up to the fact that Jon Foreman (lead singer, frontman and song writer of Switchfoot) is a couple of years older than me. So naturally, he writes a song, it gets on an album, and by the time the album comes out, it’s a couple of years later. The song breaks into my world at approximately the same age and life stage that Jon was living when he probably wrote it.

On that note, I went home.

I spent three years working for a construction company. Digging back in time, listening to old school Switchfoot.

Albums like “the Legend of Chin” and “New Way to be Human” got me by with their punk rock youthful spirit, a good dosing of fun and an occasional song with more sobering questions and pleads.  Particularly off of New Way to be Human — Let that Be Enough.  When I was feeling like life was NOT what I thought it would be – I would drive, run errands for work, listen and cry along to this song.  At the age of 22, a college grad, slightly having lost my way in regards to career, missing my friends, and wondering “is this it,” I was signing

I wish I had what I need
To be on my own
‘Cause I feel so defeated
And I’m feeling alone

And it all seems so helpless
And I have no plans
I’m a plane in the sunset
With nowhere to land

And all I see
It could never make me happy And all my sand castles
Spend their time collapsing …

…It’s my birthday tomorrow
No one here could now
I was born this Thursday
22 years ago

And I feel stuck
Watching history repeating
Yeah, who am I?
Just a kid who knows he’s needy

Let me know that You hear me
Let me know Your touch
Let me know that You love me
Let that be enough

Beyond those sad and sometimes, simply dark, times – Switchfoot followed up with “Nothing is Sound” – in my discouraged world, occasionally sick and worn out — The rocking album, though not one of their best, was dark and with a touch of anger.  Yes there was a little hope – but in my world, most of the “Sunshine” emphasized the “Shadow” Not the other way around.  All I saw was shadow. And in my world “Happy” was most definitely a “Yuppy World.” Happiness seemed shallow, empty, and unattainable.

I didn’t stay completely stuck in the mud. I went back to school. Grad school at that. Though in many respects, my attitude and outlook was equally as torn down. My “Lonely Nation” of just me – was going to classes, starting to soak up some life, but it wasn’t how I wanted it to be.

With a new degree in hand, but no job, and a harsh break up of sorts freshly added to my resume, the end of Grad school looked to be similar to undergrad. Not what I wanted – because I wasn’t what I wanted. How had I bought the lies?  After all this time – I had the truth for so long… Again, not the highlight of the Switchfoot repertoire, Oh Gravity! but it brought some new tunes, and new ways for me to scream my lungs out to something I knew I believed in.

When success is equated with excess
The ambition for excess wrecks us…

…I want out of this machine
It doesn’t feel like freedom

This ain’t my American dream
I want to live and die for bigger things
I’m tired of fighting for just me
This ain’t my American dream

Here I am – about 9 years since the words and melodies, the disonent, minor chordes of grity guitar started weaving its lullubies in and out of the themes of my life.

Today is my 29th Birthday.

Am I out of the dark forest completely – no probably not. I still struggle with things like “being tired of fighting for just me” – I see a bigger world, bigger things, I want to be a part, I want to jump in head first. But the song I’m singing has changed for brighter tones. Not without discord – not entirely. But with a bit more hope. With that I leave you my current Switchfoot anthem

Hello Hurricane – Your love is a song:

I hear you breathing in
another day begins

the stars are falling out
my dreams are fading now, fading out

I’ve been keeping my eyes wide open
I’ve been keeping my eyes wide open

your love is a symphony
all around me
running through me

your love is a melody
underneath me
running to me

your love is a song

the dawn is fire bright
against the city lights

the clouds are glowing now
the moon is blacking out

I’ve been keeping my mind wide open
I’ve been keeping my mind wide open

your love is a song

with my eyes wide open
I’ve got my eyes wide open
I’ve been keeping my hopes unbroken

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Filed under art, switchfoot, theology

Hello Hurricane

epic.

the end.

I’m almost my second time through the album and I love it.  I’ll try to break it down a bit more in the next few days, but for the moment, here is the general overview.

It’s a wonderful return to the gritty, rock & roll punch of the past.

It is the indie punk that I fell in love with oh, so many years ago.

It is only needing to listen once to know I can’t imagine life without it.

Unlike the last two albums (Oh Gravity! and even Nothing is Sound) Hello Hurricane meets meet the bar set by “The Beautiful Letdown” (and the bar is high on TBL for me because it  has specific moments and memories locked in time forever linked to the melodies).

11/10 when it drops, buy it.

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U2?

Nope. I’m not going. U2 is in town tonight. I imagine the concert will be amazing. But I’m not going.

In other news, the Relient K CD that dropped last week (which I purchased for $4 from Amazon.com the day before it officially came out) is A-maizing.

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Moved!

I moved. It went so well, thanks to great friends where were willing to give a bit of time and energy on their Saturday morning.

I’m getting close to being unpacked. And after this evening, I should basically be done with the old place (cleaning) and handing in the keys tomorrow.

Not only did I get to move, with my new roommie and dear friends who helped me move – we had all had a blast hanging out.

I also would be remiss if I did not mention that my new home has cable & internet… Which for this weekend meant being able to watch a few periods from the first Oiler game of the regular season as well as the end of the Mariners Last game of the season. (still hoping it’s not Ken Griffey, Jr.’s Last game)

Oh. and the new Relient K cd drops tomorrow. It’s soooo good!

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Filed under baseball, friends, mariners, moving, music, oilers, roomies

dissonance

I enjoy music and something about a quality song in a minor key makes me smile.  

I sing harmony. I long for the notes of dissonance where one sings strongly, moving against what seems as it should be; clawing at the melody so as not to lose the note and see the entire song unravel.  I like the way my mind can hear the resolve, running against the grain of what I sing.  I hear it, but I do not sing it too early.

When I listen, my ears tune in naturally to dissonance.  I  like way that the anticipation of “is it possible, can good come?” makes me want to hold my breath. To hope against all odds. To know that the dissonance in it’s chilling beauty will be resolved. When a composer writes in the perfect amount of musical trouble, the piece is all the more for it.

Tolkien writes of something similar in the Silmarillion. He tells of music – a glorious harmony, the union of many voices. An all encompassing song written before the start of time.  In this song, one of discord creeps in. Attempting to go his own way, the voice of dissonance tries to sow in sour notes – to ruin the masterpiece. It cannot be done. The composer takes those notes of disdain and weaves a strain of music around them producing something of even more beauty than before.

So why then, I ask, in the middle of life when discord arises, when dissonance is the note on my tongue, do I not actively seek out in my mind’s eye, the glorious resolve that is but a breath away?

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Filed under good vs. evil, hope, music

Crazy Cool!

So Michael W. Smith has a concert at my church tonight. I heard about it a few weeks ago, but with ticket prices, could not go. (it’s a charity concert).

Found out this morning that someone at work purchased several tickets in order to donate to the charity, but was giving them away free to anyone who wanted them. SO, my self and 3 friends from church are going! Very excited about this!

ALSO – yesterday we were talking about Chipolte. I haven’t had a chipolte burrito in a very long time and the conversation made me crave one. I got home from work and there in my mail box, the only piece of mail, was an ad for Chipole that contained a Free Burrito! No strings attached. Nothing else to buy. One free Burrito – I’m going to go eat it for lunch.

Oh, yeah, and “Pennies for Debra” is now up to 640.

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Filed under food, friends, music, pennies for debra, work

Vote!

CLICK HERE! Vote for the Faunts!

A couple of these guys are NABC alumni. Class of 2000 I believe.

Go Alberta!

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I should be:

1. Sleeping. Or at least heading to bed. Its after 10 and I have to get up around 6, but I am not sleepy

2. Cleaning. If I am not going to go to sleep yet, I should do something useful with my time. My room is in need of some straightening up. Plus, I got some laundry done so that should be hung.

3. Reading. I have about 50 pages left in a book I started this weekend. I want to know what happens, but I think the story has slowed down here at the end.

4. Listening. If I listen to some music on my ipod, I could get the cleaning done and then use the ipod music to help me fall asleep.

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Music

Due to limited funds, my quest for new music has been somewhat halted. I did want to say that I am looking forward to hearing what Coldplay has to offer. Their new cd drops next week and the four songs I have had a chance to hear sound pretty good.

I have also been enjoying a 4 EP offering from Jon Foreman (of Switchfoot fame). His 24 new songs are offered in sets of 6 on the EPs titled Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer. Great stuff! Honestly when I first started listening I did not know if I would like it, but I do. The style runs closer to the likes of Denison Witmer or Dale Nikkel. I am less familiar with Death Cab for Cutie or Dashboard Confessional, but from what I have heard of them, Foreman’s style is close. What I particularly like about these EPs is that they don’t sound as polished as we have come to expect. This makes them feel more real, more authentic. Like We are sitting in the adjacent room listening to Foreman pick up a guitar, scratch out a few chords and sing a few bars while looking at lyrics that were hastily scribbled onto an old napkin or receipt. This raw earthiness gives it a refreshing quality.
That being said, I am always a bit bias towards anything that is a part of, or degree way from, Switchfoot.

And there is at least one Foreman song that defiantly smacks of Sufjan Stevens.

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Other silly things I find online

Have you heard of the band “Death Cab for Cutie” ? The are an extremely popular indi band. I do not know much about them and have only heard a handful of their songs. From what I have heard, I like the style. They have been on my list of bands to dig into deeper to see if one day when I have money I should buy their music. (please don’t take this as an endorsement, I am too ignorant of them to recommend one way or the other.)

Well…Thanks to my looking up “puyallup” on Wikipedia and following a handful of links. Did you know the bass guitarist (Nick Harmer) went to Gov. John R. Rogers High? If wikipedia can be trusted (which is extremely questionable) he was the Sr. class president in 1993. anyway, I found it to be an interesting bit of trivia.

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