Music at Mars Hill: John Mayer and the Weight of Celebrity

Music at Mars Hill is a weekly column by Luke Larsen that seeks to find God amidst the newest trends in both mainstream music and independent music.John Mayer has been presented as the savior of pop music for quite sometime now. He is the "serious" musician—the guy who can actually play an instrument and write a tune himself. And to be totally honest, at the height of boy band, Britney-mania, Mayer's 2001 debut album Room for Squares felt like a refreshing new way to do pop. Because, despite hi … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: mewithoutYou and Why We Should Tell More Stories

Music at Mars Hill is a weekly column by Luke Larsen that seeks to find God amidst the newest trends in both mainstream music and independent music.One of my favorite things I get to do in this column is highlight Christian artists who have been able to defy the odds by creating music that is both unique and challenging. Unfortunately, from within the bubble of the Christian subculture, artists like these seem to be few and far between. But that's when we get to the band under spotlight this … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: Beach House and the Myth of Memory

Music at Mars Hill is a weekly column by Luke Larsen that seeks to find God amidst the newest trends in both mainstream music and independent music.Last week, I wrote about myths -- specifically, the ones that Josh Tillman has created about life with his band Father John Misty. His are the desperate kind of myths that a person creates for himself once the meaningless pursuits of fame and rock 'n' roll fade. But there are plenty of other myths bands explore -- for example, take the new record … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: Father John Misty and the Myths He's Written

Music at Mars Hill is a weekly column by Luke Larsen that seeks to find God amidst the newest trends in both mainstream music and independent music.Drummer Josh Tillman had always been the sarcastic and slightly crude member of the otherwise seemingly serious and heavenly indie folk group Fleet Foxes. So when I heard Tillman was finally leaving the band to focus on his own solo material as as songwriter and singer, I was curious to see how much of the band's wide-eyed worldview would stay … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: The Followers, Josh White, and Musical Division in the Church

Music at Mars Hill is a weekly column by Luke Larsen that seeks to find God amidst the newest trends in both mainstream music and independent music.The Church has a long history of being divided by the music we use in our services. There's no question about that.Sometimes it's stylistic, such as around the year 900 when church singers had controversially started embellishing unison chants with harmonizations and tropes. Other times it's been more about social conventions and liturgical … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: A Day in the Life of Big K.R.I.T.

Music at Mars Hill is a weekly column by Luke Larsen that seeks to find God amidst the newest trends in both mainstream music and independent music.Big K.R.I.T. is a southern rapper whom I have a lot of respect for. He's been putting out free mixtape after free mixtape, and the excellent 4eva N a Day is his newest. The album walks us through a life in the day of K.R.I.T.—his thoughts from his first moments of morning consciousness to when he puts his head down to find rest at night. Each so … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: Spotify and the Culmination of a Century of Commercial Music

Music at Mars Hill is a weekly column by Luke Larsen that seeks to find God amidst the newest trends in both mainstream music and independent music.Spotify has been in business here in the United States since summer 2011. With nine months of legal music streaming under our belts, what do we have to say about this radical new way of listening to music? Are Spotify and other music streaming services just another passing trend in music listening? Is it a democratization of music or is it a … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: Who Are the Tastemakers Today?

Music at Mars Hill is a weekly column by Luke Larsen that seeks to find God amidst the newest trends in both mainstream music and independent music.There is a lot of talk these days about how digital media and social networking is changing the music industry. Streaming services like Spotify are taking the center stage in terms of mass music distribution, and the result is that music is being made and listened to differently. However, defining who the tastemakers are in our emerging  online c … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: The Shins Offer a Renewed Sense of Optimism

Music at Mars Hill is a weekly column by Luke Larsen that seeks to find God amidst the newest trends in both mainstream music and independent music.Most thought this album would never come out. It's been five years since Wincing the Night Away and frontman James Mercer had repeatedly reinforced those doubts in interviews. However, now we've got Port of Morrow, the band's fourth studio album. Musically, it sounds very much like The Shins. Simple songs, acoustic guitars, and Mercer's unique … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: A Little Perfume Genius to Prime Your Empathy

Music at Mars Hill is a weekly column by Luke Larsen that seeks to find God amidst the newest trends in both mainstream music and independent music.I don't easily give into artists who throw pity parties for themselves. As my music listening expands with new music, this cynical side of me -- the one that has grown tired of Conor Oberst lookalikes -- has been showing its face more often. To some extent, I think it's totally normal to get this way. After all, if I were to get emotional at every … [Read more...]


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