Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Top Albums (145-140)

145. Little Red Riding Hood- Lost Dogs (the second, and best, album by the Christian version of the Traveling Wilburys. While album #1 was led primarily by Terry Taylor, my least favorite of the musicians involved, LRRh was more of a "band" recording with increased involvement by Mike Roe of the 77s. There is some great Americana music on this, including the highlights Jesus Loves You, Brian Wilson which co-opts pieces of the lost Smile album and Pray Where You Are, which picks up where Breathe Deep, from Scenic Routes, leaves off. These albums were profoundly political, which is unusual for the time period, especially since they leaned to the left.)
144. Orphans and Angels- Julie Miller (Miller now records exclusively with husband Buddy Miller, better known as Emmylou Harris' band leader. Her first two albums were typical Christian pop with enough of a lyrical edge to tell you she was not Amy Grant. On this album she embraced Appalachian and Americana music to bring listeners the beautiful All My Tears, Washed Away- later covered by Harris and Praise The Lord, Amen (Appalachian Praise)- which I still want to hear in church. She also fought her record company- and won- to include Sick of Sex, which decried the dehumanization of women through a consumeristic culture of sexualization.)
143. Into the Woods- The Call (although it does not have the great anthems of Reconciled- to be reviewed much later, this is probably the most cohesive and best all around album by America's answer to U2. Beginning with the smoldering I Don't Wanna, a fiercely beautiful song depicting the gravity of devotion, not unlike U2's With or Without You this album does not let the listener go until the final moment of Walk Walk. The Call is truly one of the greatest bands the 80s produced and one of the most theologically rich bands ever recorded.)
142. Byzantium- John Austin (among the more obscure albums and artists on this list, John Austin is a supremely talented singer songwriter unjustly ignored by the mainstream music press. A disciple of Mark Heard and favorite of Paste Music, this independently released recording- long out of print- shows Austin at his best, mixing carnality and the most holy in an almost Dylanesque fashion. If you can get your hands on anything he has made- and you are a fan of musicians such as M Ward, Josh Ritter, Dylan or even John Mayer you will not be disappointed.)
141. Songs for the Daily Planet- Todd Snider (clever, insightful and tongue-in-cheek are usually adjectives to describe Snider's songs. His humor is evident on the classic Alright Guy- which simultaneously embraces and insults rednecks everywhere, Talkin' Seattle Grunge Rock Blues and Joe's Blues- which is the perfect blues song ever- just ask it. What separates this album from just another funny folk album is the heartbreaking You Think You Know Someone about the legacy of child abuse and Somebody's Comin'- the antithesis of Left Behind set to music. This, like many of his albums is for any fan of intelligent songwriting with a non-PC sense of humor. If you are a bit more Woody Guthrie than Bob Dylan, buy his stuff!)
140. I Predict 1990- Steve Taylor (87 was a great year, with U2, The 77s, The Alarm, Russ Taff and Steve Taylor all releasing albums of spiritual and personal significance to my journey. Although musically a bit dated, lyrically this album is one of the best I have ever heard. Dropping the synth rock of his first two albums, Taylor discovers guitars and becomes pissed at his fellow Christians' embrace of situational ethics at the time of the Ollie North Trial. He bashes "the end justifies the means" with aplomb on the still biting I Blew Up the Clinic Real Good about an ice cream salesman that blows up abortion clinics because it is hurting his business and Svengali. Jim Morrison's Grave, about idol worship was an MTV video and Innocence Lost tells the bittersweet story of a young girl sharing her faith with a death row prisoner. I have not heard this album in a number of years and each song I write about digs itself into my subconscious as I write its name. That is the marking of a great album.)


james said...

Man . . . it was 1989 before i was a Christian and began listening to Christian music. And even then I was into The Altar Boys, One Bad Pig and Vengeance Rising. Thus, Steve Taylor nary made it onto my music radar. I truly regret never having given this guy a chance.

Dave King said...

I got to meet Steve Taylor and see him live at Cornerstone 2003, followed by Five Iron Frenzy who for me replaced Taylor in the smart/funny brilliant category. Made the 60 hour round trip worth it.

As you had the album at the time, drop me an email and I'll hook you up with the MP3s.

- Peace