Grace Notes: Sam Billen, Talik

Grace Notes is a weekly exploration by Jason Morehead of signs of common grace in the music world. We hope to alert you to wonderful music, some of which will be spiritual in nature but all of which will be unique and worthy of your attention. Each week we will share brief reviews of albums worthy of your attention and maybe a video or two.Sam BillenSam Billen's Headphones & Cellphones came out in 2009, but I only discovered it recently thanks to the kind folks at The Record Machine. I h … [Read more...]

The Search for Meaning in Helplessness Blues

Despite all the big releases that have come out in the indie music world in these last couple months (Death Cab for Cutie, Bon Iver, etc.), I have to say that I am still happily stuck on Fleet Foxes' Helplessness Blues. The album finds the band maturing both as musicians and songwriters, but also reveals a deep, spiritual probing in the lyrics. In many ways, the focus of the album seems to be on asking questions rather than discovering answers. Even musically, the songs begin and end abruptly … [Read more...]

Lady Gaga's "Judas": A Surprising Statement of Faith

Guest writer, Stephen Hale is wrapping up a MA in Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary and volunteers with undergraduate commuters at Biola University. He blogs at Sooner or later, he will start a program in International Security and Economic Policy at the University of Maryland.Lady Gaga’s “Judas” is a surprising statement of faith. You may be skeptical, since Gaga has a reputation for scandal. Many assume that any mention she makes of religion must be sland … [Read more...]

Rebecca Black, Stephen Colbert, and the Ethics of Mocking for Charity

I tried really hard to avoid watching Rebecca Black's music video "Friday" but somewhere around Twitter/Facebook status number 75 or so, I finally gave in and watched it. I am not going to lie--I laughed ... alot.The video was posted on Youtube about a month ago and has since received 87,944,639 hits, 1,760,908 comments, and countless parodies, dubs, and remixes--many of which have also procured a staggering number of hits. Late night comedian Jimmy Fallon jumped on this phenomenon in an … [Read more...]

Christian Appreciation of "Secular" Music

I love music. I have a larger than average collection of it. The rapid growth of the internet with regard to music has opened my eyes to a wealth of thoughtful song writers who produce beautiful music. I think good music, "Christian" or "secular" is worth celebrating and consequently Jason and I recently launched Grace Notes: a weekly column exploring signs of common grace in the world of music. If we really believe that God created all things, then appreciating beauty is a Christian issue.I … [Read more...]

Rock N' Soul: Amos Lee, The Power of Music, and The Near Gospel Truth

Desperate single ladies can sometimes be really obnoxious. I had the privilege of staying in quaint Bed & Breakfast and attending an Amos Lee concert this weekend. It was a tremendous gift to my wife and I from some of the dearest friends (thank you a thousand times over Kyle and Bethany). The concert was wonderful, but there was one particular woman, just up the aisle from us, who had come to the show for apparently two reasons: to get plastered, and to shout out how deeply, madly, … [Read more...]

Jeremy Larson's They Reappear: Worth the Effort

 In a digital age where many have declared the death of the album, Jeremy Larson has released an album that demands to be respected as such.  I fear that this one of those albums that sadly many will likely not have the patience to appreciate its brilliance.  Our lives are just too busy or too filled with clutter to make room for an album that requires 50 minutes of our time. A casual listen to They Reappear is quite pleasant but Larson’s latest is lyrically dense and emotionally hea … [Read more...]

Signing Away My Life?

Here's something you might not know about me: I am a singer. Recently, I thought I'd try my voice at an audition for a new NBC reality show being produced by Mark Burnett. The working title for the show is "The Voice". It is apparently going to be an "American Idol" type competition/elimination show, but the concept is based more strictly on the vocals of the contestant. In fact, according to the video that was up on the audition website page earlier this month, it looks like the judges will be … [Read more...]

Lady Gaga and Pop Theology

All people are theologians—there is not a person living who doesn’t think on God.  God after all has created all people in his image (Gen. 1:27) and has instilled them with a basic knowledge of Himself (Rom. 1:19-20).  Certainly God is often misrepresented by the people created in His image because people have fallen and “by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” about God.  But there is no such thing as the person who has no thoughts or conceptions of Him, even if those conceptions express th … [Read more...]

The White Stripes and the Legacy of Mystery

We said goodbye to The White Stripes this week. We knew it was coming, knew their story arc was headed downward. We knew they were losing the youthful passion for playful enigma and offbeat humor. Even so, we couldn’t help but hope for one more album, one more hard charging concert or out of place appearance on Conan. But such is not to be.I love The White Stripes for a couple of reasons. First, the music just rocks. Though they started out as mere garage-rock novelty, fans quickly realized t … [Read more...]