Music at Mars Hill: A Response to an Open Letter to Praise Bands

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 had planned a different topic for my column this week, but when I stumbled upon an Elsewhere post here on CaPC from Professor James Smith of Calvin College, I felt it was necessary to respond in some fashion. The post is titled "An Open Letter To Praise Bands" and was featured on Gospel Coalition. It lays out three criticisms about modern worship … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: Is Nicki Minaj Possessed?

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.As is typical, the Grammy Award show this year had its fair share of ups and downs -- the ups including Adele's standout performance and Jennifer Hudson's tribute to Whitney Houston and the downs being just about everything else. However, what stood out as being particularly strange to me about this year's awards show was that issues of … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: Lessons From Leonard Cohen

Like fellow celebrated songwriters Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen has always had a simple and poignant way of addressing spiritual themes in his music. His most famous song, "Hallelujah", manages to take the life of King David and make it sound like he's singing about his own. His new album, Old Ideas, continues with a lot of those personally narrated and spiritually dense themes, but they've all been filtered through Cohen's 77 years of age.Cohen's voice has been worn down to a … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: Lana Del Rey, Rebecca Black, and Ethics

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.Lana Del Rey, aka Lizzy Grant, may have been the most talked-about music story in 2011. That is, outside another infamous young singer who fired up debate over ethics and music earlier in the year. And yes, I'm talking about Rebecca Black.The two don't often get put in the same sentence, but in my mind there is a real and serious connection going … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: Most "Original" Score?

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.Although I haven't the knowledge or viewing experience to comment on the films up for consideration this year at the Oscars, after Trent Reznor's surprise victory last year, I had high expectations going into the award season this when it came to the music. Even though Best Original Score isn't exactly the most talked-about category, film scores … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: Most Anticipated Albums of 2012

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 looked toward the new year by jotting down some New Year's Music Resolutions for 2012. This week, I thought it would be fitting to list some of my most anticipated releases of 2012. I have more details for some of these and less for others, but all been officially announced. There are a ton of great releases on the horizon, but these … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: New Year's Music Resolutions for 2012

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.Christmas is over, and it's that time of the year when we start looking forward to another year and the dreadful idea of considering New Year's resolutions once again. This is what's on my mind heading into another year of music-listening . . . feel free to add some of these to your own resolution list.Don't let genres or stereotypes hold you … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: The Roots and the Suffering of the Innocent

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 Roots have always had a thinking man's rap group, and their new concept album, undun, is certainly no exception. The album tells the story of a man named Redford Stephens (based off the Sufjan Stevens song "Redford") who makes some bad decisions based on his harsh urban surroundings. The album, which officially was released yesterday, tells the … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: John Mark McMillan's Proclamation of Hope

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.When I listen to Economy, the newest release from singer-songwriter John Mark McMillan, one word comes to mind: hope. Taking on the heavy issues of economic recession, hopelessness, and fear, McMillan writes on how God is our ultimate hope in both this life and the next. But in what has become synonymous with releases from McMillan, Economy … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: Does the Message Matter?

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. As something of a followup to an article I wrote a few weeks back, this week I wanted to address a video by one of my favorite music reviewers on the Web, Anthony Fantano of The Needle Drop. In the video (which is posted above), he finds himself perplexed at the following question: "Does the message or moral integrity of a song's lyrics e … [Read more...]


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