Friday, January 8, 2010
Recommended Listening for 2010
By Brian Nixon
Special to ASSIST News Service
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO (ANS) -- In my last article I gave readers a list of my recommended books to read in 2010. The criteria I used in choosing the books were as follows: the books must be “educational” (in the sense that I hope someone will learn something from them) and they must adhere to a Christian viewpoint.
After I wrote the article, I had some folks ask, “What music would you recommend for 2010?”
I guess as a musician, my opinion counts to them; others could care less what I think.
But for the sake of those who asked, I have compiled a list of ten albums and/or musicians I believe you should listen to in the year 2010.
Like the book list, I hope that this music will inspire and educate, stretching your listening palette to include various genres and styles.
Furthermore, like my reading list, I have included classics with newer releases.
Now I must state my bias: first, I have a tendency to like art-music, both in the classical sense of the term and the pop-sense of the term; and two, the music I choose comes from both the Christian world and the secular world.
On this last point I have strayed somewhat from my book list. All the music listed does not necessarily adhere to a Christian worldview. But I have always thought good music is good music—true of literature, as well—and for the most part, the music suggested does touch on biblical issues: life, love, death, and transcendence.
Most of the musicians and releases (with the exception of the classical pieces) are from the past decade, but I have included a “classic” for good ole times’ sake.
Here is my list, in no particular order:
1. “The Shadow of Your Wings”, Fernando Ortega. This is a brilliant album,
2. “Manafon”, David Sylvian. Using the poet and pastor R. S. Thomas’ home city as the name of the album, Sylvian uses abstract music to discuss ideas about poetry, spirituality, relationships, and technology.
3. “Te Deum”, Arvo Part. Part is a master composer and one who takes seriously his Christian faith. This is a masterpiece and a must listen.
4. “Symphony Number 3”, Henryk Gorecki. Another masterful composer. This piece was written from the vantage point of Mary looking at her dying Son, Jesus. It has parallels to the horrors of World War II. It is absolutely beautiful and moving.
5. “Orphans”, Tom Waits. Released in the mid-2000’s, Waits offers some of his most beautiful—and weird—songs on this three CD release. His two original hymns on disc two (“Bawlers”) shows he understands the Christian faith quite well.
7. “Flying Cup Club”, Beirut. This American band is a worldwide sensation, especially in Brazil. But here in America they are less known. Originally from New Mexico, the band deserves to be heard in the States. The music is a cross between an Eastern European brass band and a 1960’s pop band.
8. “Funeral”, Arcade Fire. This Canadian-American band reinvents pop music, adding and adapting various musical influences along the way.
9. “A Love Supreme”, John Coltrane. After kicking heroin, John Coltrane penned one of jazz music’s most sublime recordings and albums dedicated to God’s love.
10. Classic Rock. Ok, I can’t just list one. Here are three classic rock albums you should revisit this year: “Velvet Underground”, Velvet Underground; “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan”, Bob Dylan; “Astral Weeks”, Van Morrison.
So there you have it. You will either love the list or hate it. But I hope you will learn from it—and possibly be inspired by listening to some of the recommendations.
Now for the sake of combining the two lists (books and music), I leave you with a few books you should pick up that discuss both the arts and the Christian faith:
1. The Music of Jesus: From Composition to Koinonia, Mark Hijleh
Have a great year listening and reading. May God be with you as you learn to love Him with your whole heart, mind, soul, and strength!
If you have any comments, feel free to drop me an email via my website at www.briannixon.com.
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This story is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of the ASSIST News Service or ASSIST Ministries.