Thursday, December 3, 2009

Top Tenn of 2009

I think I have this blog only for this occasion once a year, to compile music that played a big part in my life over the course of the year. I'm also going to put a small description of why I think each album has deserved its ranking. Let the countdown begin!

10. The Glorious Unseen - The Hope That Lies in You

Let it be known that I am not a big fan of praise and worship music. It's not that I feel its outdated by any means, often times it is just filled with cliches and extremely unoriginal. However, one of my friends at Belmont introduced me to this band right when their record was about to be released and I managed to catch their CD release show at the Anchor. As soon as I walked in I knew their worship style was of a different kind, and I still feel a connection with my faith when I listen to this record that I can't find with most worship albums. I recommend listening to "All Around".

9. Kelly Clarkson - All I Ever Wanted

Would this be a typcial top ten pick for me? No. I can't deny that I am sucker for that one pop song every now and then but something about Kelly Clarkson always does it for me. Breakaway is still one of the best pop albums I've ever heard, but AIEW is as good in its own way. With tracks like "whyyouwannabringmedown", "I Do Not Hook Up", and "Save" (the list goes on and on) I would argue she's the true queen of pop right now. I think another reason I'm such a fan is because of the value I place on an artist's ability to perform live matching what I hear on the record. And man, does she have some pipes.

8. The Rocket Summer - You Gotta Believe EP

In 2006, when I first heard the Rocket Summer, I knew Bryce Avary was going to be one of those guys that influenced and inspired me. I love his lyrics. I love his honesty. I love him. He seems to write a lot about the human condition and I identify with that. Though I do think the lead single "You Gotta Believe" is the weakest track on this EP, that isn't really saying anything. The song "Light" blows me away everytime I listen to it and I think its the perfect track to wake up to, dancing in your underwear. The full length may well be my most anticipated record of 2010.

7. Sherwood - Qu

In my opinion, Sherwood is indie pop's best kept secret. I wish it weren't this way because I believe this band deserves to be huge. Sometimes, bands are literally just too good for the general public to catch on to and I think Sherwood is one of them. Initially when I listened to Qu I wasn't sure how I felt about the record because it deviates so far from the sound of A Different Light. The good news is, after a few listens you realize its a more mature, honed sound that showcases their musicianship. "Ground Beneath My Feet" "Maybe This Time" and "No Better" are personal favorites.

6. Switchfoot - Hello Hurricane

Months before Switchfoot's latest record, Hello Hurricane was released, I was hearing all kinds of buzz about how it was brilliant. I guess hearing this time after time, I set myself up for intial disliking of this album when every song didn't sound like "The Sound". However, after I listened to the album many times through and saw them perform it in its entirety at Exit/In this album had a new place in my heart. Though you do have the usual Switchfoot sound in songs like "The Sound" and "Needle and Haystack Life", some of the best tracks tend to be the slower ones. "Free" and "Sing It Out" are my current favorites but it generally changes daily.

5. All the Day Holiday - The Things We've Grown to Love

These guys were my find of Cornerstone this year. I happened to seem them by mistake but it turned out to be a welcome accident. Though the record is a fantastic debut, it doesn't compare to seeing them live. Their set is so intense to watch and will have you dancing before you even know it. The record flows together so well and standout tracks include "Real Time", "Greener" and "Atmosphere".

4. fun. - Aim and Ignite

One word. FUN.

3. Deas Vail - Birds and Cages

Deas Vail makes me feel like I live in Wonderland. Everytime I hear Wes' vocals they take me far away and I got lost in a sea of symphony. I thought this record was an improvement over All The Houses Look the Same and that's certainly saying something. The track combo of "Excuses", "Cages" and "Birds" find me pressing repeat over and over again. It's also nice to see Thiessen lend some vocals to "Birds" which happens to be my favorite off of the record.

2. Relient K - Forget and Not Slow Down

Though this is my favorite band, I warn you not to assume that this record would end up on this list. It certainly had to earn its spot and it had some very some stiff competition. That being said, this is probably the first Relient K record that I have ever heard that sounded what I think a full length Matthew Thiessen and the Earthquakes record would. A lot of people were turned off by this, but I ate it up. "I Don't Need a Soul", "Part of It", "Sahara" and "If You Believe Me" are the best offerings on the record, im my opinion. I'm interested to see where their sound progresses next.

(Drumroll, please).....

1. Paramore - Brand New Eyes

I know so many 14-17 year old girls that would probably list this album as the best thing they've ever heard. Though I wouldn't go that far, I can say I'm in agreement that it is my favorite of the year. After RIOT! which is in my top 10 albums of all time, I knew Paramore would always be a band I loved. I just never expected them to put out anything that touched RIOT!. Not only did it touch it, it may even be better. No the songs aren't as explosive and in your face as on that record, but Brand New Eyes is packed with the same level of emotion. I feel like this band are masters at using drum patterns and guitar riffs in unison to accent certain phrases. I find myself screaming them from time to time. I hope this is a band I grow old with.

Also, there are three albums I have somewhat ignored since I got them so they may or may not fall on the list after I give them a chance. Say Anything, Thrice and Brand New.

And finally, my favorite movies of the year....

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Happy Birthday, Chris Tucker.

He's legit now. 18 tomorrow.

I'm attempting to revive this thing. It's a comforting little outlet to have. I think I only use it for when I have an epiphany or something smacks me in the face I should have understood years ago. That happened this week.
A good friend, Taylor Suppinger, was covering our youth lesson (A. don't draw conslusions and B. ignore the fact I still go to youth class) as our youth leader was away in Alabama fighting fires or doing whatever it is he does. He gave a lesson on love. What it is, what it is not. Simply, he talked about how love was obedience. I think that's a word people try to separate from love. I always think of love as unconditional, not submissive but it's just that. Especially when we are discussing our love for Jesus. As human, I am a failure on my own. I'm inferior and I'm a dark, sinister being. But by being obedient to God, I do what I can to show my love for him. That hit me rather hard. It seems like everytime I'm praying to repent, or for a new slate, it seems like I somehow incorporate the phrase "and I'm sorry for failing but I love you and I'm flawed." While that may be true, I'm severely flawed, that isn't a prayer with meaning. If I loved God half as much as I would like to, I would have such greater discipline and obedience and stop trying to be an idiot. I'm not being a pessimist, it's just the simple truth. I fail, and that's okay. But what's not okay is continued failure. It needs to diminish, and I need to never be complacent with the level of faith I reach with God. I want to go out, still in full force gaining a better understanding of what He is to me. Another point Taylor made focused on how God was probably more annoyed with us than anything. Now I think of him being angry, or disappointed sometimes, but I just have never pictured God being annoyed with me. To God, I resemble a preteen scene girl. And as we all know, that is terribly annoying. Like I'm just sitting there yelling "I LOVE YOU" but all He hears is the banging on a cymbal. An annoying repetition of ignorance. I hope to work on this, and I'm glad it was brought to my attention.

Good day.

Currently Reading: The Catcher in the Rye.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Friday, January 9, 2009

The War Rages On.

I'm sure of the cause and I'm sure of the casualties.
I'm only unsure of why I am still fighting.

The struggle is eternal, that I know.
But for an eternity will I struggle with the same old foes?
The light is there, but shrouded in the dark.
Its' source still strong, its' carrier not.

Constantly, I ponder what I should be doing or what makes a day meaningful.
And in the process become oblivious to living at all.
The distraction is everywhere, even inside me.
In battle with the fraction of good that longs to be free.

Yes, the cost of freedom has always been high,
But freedom from oneself is set at the ultimate price.
To deny oneself and give up all rights,
And in the mystery of how He works, that is how we find life.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Rinse and Repeat.

Oh...the irony!
I was going to focus on You but I got distracted on me.
Tangled up, in what I convince myself is a life. What I long to make real and important, tangible.

Oh...the blasphemy!
I scream I'm for you, but I think my name is better.
You are the King, but I am more suited for the throne,
of lies and lust, and a humanity lost.
Blindly, I lead.

Oh...the pity!
And to think, I almost thought of someone else, but more important events have unfolded.
Sources say, contact has been made. Others are trying to reach me.
So for now, You will just have to wait, my pointless words could occupy a lifetime.

Oh...the mercy!
You show me, and I can't fathom why. For a life I deny You and You only bleed grace.
Could this love have no end?
I have tested its extremities yet never find its bounds.
Lead me, consume me, swallow me whole.
Leave nothing behind, no trace of my former self for it is me that continues this disastrous cycle.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


More like 2000 hate.

So, this year was interesting. Maybe? I will say, I think its been the most I've ever reflected on myself in a 365 day period and I can say that I managed to somewhat venture out of the depression I had fallen into over the past 2 years. If you don't know me well, don't get the wrong idea. I think depression is normal and I was going through times where I just didn't know what to do with myself. I still don't, but I'm finally learning to cope and am seeing Who it is I need to follow. But enough of that.

I think I went to something around 16 states this year which is nice, I think. I've always liked to travel. The year was filled with some great shows and some great friends. It was filled with more mistakes than anything, but thats what make the good times that much more meaningful.

Albums wise, I'm giving the year to House of Heroes. I just fill The End is Not The End was the album that did it for me. It kind of came out of nowhere with hardly any buzz before its release and then BAM! Fantastic record. Other highlights for me were the new Anberlin, Underoath, Ra Ra Riot!, The Bird and the Bee Sides (because I wasn't expecting much, in all honesty), and I really got into the Farewell Flight record though it was officially released in 07. I'm not going to attempt to compile a list of the best of 08 because there's just THAT much music I haven't gotten yet from this year that I'm sure would qualify to make it.

I haven't picked a favorite movie but as much hype as it received, The Dark Knight kind of blew me away. I liked Into the Wild a lot, too.

I guess this blog isn't at all what I expected it to be, but all I can focus on is right now and where things are heading. I feel like 2009 could be a big year and I hope to grow into my potential. For once, I know that I have a few solid friends (I know this because for the first time in my life I miss them when they're not around. A quote from my favorite book I read this year, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, "I don't know how much longer I can keep going without a friend. I used to be able to do it very easily, but that was before I knew what having a friend was like. It's much easier not to know things sometimes. And to have french fries with your mom be enough." That sums things up in many ways. And though things aren't perfect and they're not always on the up and up I'm starting to see that it's okay to live as an opposite. One day with things okay, and one day with them not. It's just how things work and in this life consistency is something that you will chase to the grave. I guess my goal for this year is just to try to be more selfless, love those around me more than myself and love my God more than any of those things even when I don't want to. I know this will probably make my year terribly difficult and I'll battle with that needy thing of a beast inside my chest (thank you Donald Miller) but I think I'm up for it.

So here's to 09, which hopefully can take me down the path of grace and humility. Because friends, these past few years have been tough for me and there have been days, and weeks, where I just didn't know how to deal or what to do with myself. Thank the Lord, He's provided when I need it and I hope at the end of next year I can look back and say I failed more than once, but I tried more than ever.

Best wishes.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Do you ever just sit around and not know what to do. But know you should be doing something and that if you were somewhere else, like work you would know what to do if you had the time to do it? That happens to me a lot lately.