Bet you thought I forgot about the Friday tune. To play you out for the week, dear reader, here are a bunch of guys performing “What Makes You Beautiful,” doing things with a piano that I hadn’t thought legal, or even possible.
Man this week is just hellish on the work front. I’ll put up 3 posts tomorrow or die trying. In the meantime, here’s one of my favorite songs ever, by the Crash Test Dummies, “The Ghosts That Haunt Me.” It’s about shelter from the storm — the haunted storm! If you listen and don’t like it, I’ll give you a full refund.
To play you out for the week, I picked the Mountain Goats’ “No Children,” a ballad about a really, really bad marriage. Favorite line: “Our friends say it’s darkest before the sun rises / We’re pretty sure they’re all wrong.” Warning: If you ever find yourself working in an office with, say, a cute upbeat blonde Mormon, do not not play this for her.
Historians, says Philip Jenkins in his latest Real Clear Religion column, are just now starting to understand with how evangelicalism remade itself in the 1970s. He argues the professors are doing a decent job “showing how Christian movements and leaders developed during these years” but they’re not seriously grappling with pop culture.
That grappling is necessary, writes Jenkins, because “those groups faced a daunting challenge in reaching out to a non-believing audience that was at first deeply unsympathetic to the moral and cultural messages they preached. To say the least, the years around 1970 were not a promising time to be preaching chastity, heterosexuality, and a drug-free lifestyle…”
And into this cultural gulf, between the clean-shaven, clean living, low-church Protestants and their long-haired, chemically-enhanced, non-churched contemporaries stepped… rock music.
Jenkins argues that as the ’60s pushed into the ’70s, rock rediscovered its country roots and found God in the process. At the same time, evangelicals launched their own sort of Christian rock that would eventually become the Contemporary Christian Music genre. These two things pushed the secular closer to the religious and the religious close to the secular, and the rest is religious history.
We were actually supposed to run a different Jenkins column today as a way of relaunching his regular column, but he sent us the piece early last week. It was on Jerry Sandusky, Penn State and pedophilia. If there’s one lesson I learned working for two tours of duty with Wlady Pleszczynski, it’s that sitting on good, newsy copy is a sin against the Polish Holy Spirit.
To play you out for the week, I had planned on finding and presenting to you the “Spider Pig” theme song from the Simpsons flick. That took longer than expected because I remembered that Marvel Comics did, in fact, have its own Spider pig at one time, though he went by the name of Spider Ham. He had his own series and everything! However, I see from Peter Porker’s Wikipedia entry that these comics, and his various appearances elsewhere, have never been collected. So get to it, Marvel, and put me down for a copy.
Last night, as I was driving back from the Monday night softball double-header/mudfight, an unfamiliar, beautiful song came in over the radio. I didn’t catch the title or the artist, so it took a bit of tracking down. (Thank God for The Peak’s 12-hour playlist.) Finally determined that it was “Lost in the Light” by Bahamas, the solo project of Feist musician Afie Jurvanen. The song is slow and soulful and well written. It reminds me a little bit of Bob Dylan’s ’90s comeback album Time out of Mind: