Switchfoot and Ecclesiastes

Sorry I’ve been gone for so long. Life was crazy for a little while. Also my Discover Weekly playlist hasn’t been as good.

But even so, today we’re not looking at any new discovery. In fact, we’re looking to something that’s old news, or in my opinion, “classic.”

I got a new job that allows me to listen to music while on shift. Which is super rad. But in addition to music, I’ve also been listening to teachings through the book of Ecclesiastes. Also, this job allows me much time to think. You can probably see where I’m going with this.

For some reason I’ve gravitated towards Switchfoot in recent weeks. I’ve always loved Switchfoot since being a kid. Their songs always seemed so fun and upbeat, and interesting. But now as an adult, I finally see their lyrical depth. I guess that’s what good songwriting is: something that’s appealing for the more shallow reasons while also carrying lyrical depth. Good job, Jon Foreman.

With all these things together, I see how much Switchfoot lyrics intertwine and accentuate the themes of Ecclesiastes. Common themes are purpose and worth, and vanity. The irony of chasing after something and losing sight of real life.

Here are a few examples:

From “New Way To Be Human”:

Everyday it’s the same thing, another trend has begun
Hey kids, this might be the one
It’s a race to be noticed and it’s leaving us numb
Hey kids, we can’t be the ones

From “The Beautiful Letdown” (actually all the lyrics in the song are pretty applicable. Check them out.)

We’re still chasing our tails in the rising sun
In our dark water planet still spinning
In a direction no one wins, no one’s won

From “Company Car” (a personal favorite.):

Mike was right, hey Mike, We’re one and the same
We’re the faceless combatants in the loneliest game

From “Sooner or Later”:

Come back and haunt me, Follow me home
Give me a motiveSwallow me whole
They say I’ve lost it, What could I know
When I’m but a mockery? I’m so alone

And now for Ecclesiastes:

Ecc. 1:3, 14 – What profit has a man from all his labor
In which he toils under the sun?
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.

Ecc. 4:8 – There is one alone, without companion:
He has neither son nor brother.
Yet there is no end to all his labors,
Nor is his eye satisfied with riches.
But he never asks,
“For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?”
This also is vanity and a grave misfortune.

Ecc. 6:3 – If a man begets a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with goodness, or indeed he has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better than he—

Also the entire chapter 12 of Ecclesiastes is amazing.

This saturation in philosophy has definitely challenged my worldview. Not necessarily my view in itself, but rather how it manifests itself (or doesn’t) in my daily life.

  1. What is the purpose of my dreams? Is it okay to not even have dreams? Do I give even these up for Christ?
  2. What about relationships? Even these come to their end.
  3. How do I place worth in daily mundane activities?
  4. What am I willing to give up to life the life of simplicity of following Christ?
  5. What if life ends up looking entirely different than I had imagined? What if there is no outward success or progression, and am I okay with that if it’s where God wants me to be?

Just a few things to think about. Anyway, listen on,

Hailey

Discover Weekly highlights 2-19-17

1. “Radiate” by Erik Ekholm

It’s as the title of the album says, “Extreme Epic.” This piece builds where it’s supposed to, and drives on, for an ongoing, never dull listening experience.

2. “Confessions of a Toothpaste Machine” by Third Dimension Doorknob

Unfortunately, my favorite track of the week is not on Youtube. But…this thing is amazing. Seriously. I just wish it was available more places.

Here’s the Spotify link:

3. “Butterfly Effect” by fox capture plan

This piece has so much going on, that though it may not be specifically my “flavor”, I couldn’t not include it in the list. It stays true to its name, as “the butterfly effect” is the idea that everything affects everything. It’s…stimulating, to say the least. Give it a whirl.

4. “Formed by Glaciers” by Kubbi

It’s great to slow down sometimes. But it’s rare to find a slower piece, a simple one at that, that still carries the power and emotion to make it worth my time. But, there’s this one. It’s one of those, “I can’t stop listening” kind of tracks. Really makes you take a moment to think.

5. “Slay the Chopper” by Zweihänder

I think it’s rather well-known that the Germans are the kings of electronica. So naturally, when I see a German name in my Discover Weekly, I get excited. And needless to say, I was not disappointed.

 

That’s all for this week.

Listen on,

Hailey

Discover Weekly 2-11-17

Spotify understands me! Let’s get down to it:

1. “Within” by William Joseph

Goals. Seriously. This is what I want to do. So much depth. So much beauty.

3. “Babylon of the Occident” by The Shanghai Restoration Project

This is so gorgeous and so different. A great blast of Western music with so much Eastern influence. So chill and so intense.

3. “Turn my Crimson into White” by Stephan J. Anderson

The epicness and heart in this. The more you listen, the more you hear. I love that guitar in the background messing around in the beginning. And the flutes. And the size of the drums…And those hand claps. So much African flavor in a great big epic track.

4. “When Leaves Fall” by Thad Fiscella

It’s hard to find piano pieces that don’t sound like boring background music. But stop and listen to this one. There is so much heart in its simplicity, in how it communicates emotion and tells a story. It goes to show that it doesn’t take much to make good music.

5. “Wheels Down” by Adam Young

Though this is a little smooth for my taste, it can’t go without being mentioned. It’s good. It’s big and full and fun and has a lot to it.

6. “The Moments in Between” by The Reign of Kindo

This song has everything: arrangement, emotion, drama, and creativity. It breaks all the rules so smoothly, but still keeps a “normal”ish sound to it. It’s a great working of new ideas within an old structure.

7. “Waterfall” by Joel Ansett

And now for something completely different. Listen it this. It’s beautiful. The lyrics, the vocals, the simplicity and space. This song lets itself breath, and everything in it compliments the message and emotion that it’s trying to get across.

 

So much good stuff, I know. Hopefully next week will be good too.

Listen on,

Hailey.

Hailey Investigates: Anamanaguchi

Sometimes I discover cool music, and I want more of it but just don’t have the time and focus to listen to more at that moment. So I created the Investigate later playlist: a dump of cool stuff I have yet to look into more. It’s grown rather huge lately, but I want to dig into it some more and actually follow through on the investigation. And if an artist turns out to be cool, I’ll share it on here.

Today we’re looking at a band called Anamanaguchi. Anamanaguchi composes for video games, as well as produces a bunch of their own stuff.


This track is called “Danger Mountain,” and it’s what got them into my Investigate Later playlist in the first place. It throws me back to classic Sonic the Hedgehog tunes from SEGA Genesis. It also carries a notable Japanese flavor, which is awesome and full of energy. It’s just…fun. Fun and timeless.

Wikipedia:

“Anamanaguchi combines digital electronic sounds such as those seen in Chiptune and Bitpop with traditional band instrumentation. As with other chiptune artists, they have created music using video game hardware from the mid- to late 1980s: namely an NES and a Game Boy.”

 

Though I don’t see myself as listening to much more of Anamanaguchi (as I personally can only take so much 8-bit), here’s some other cool tracks I found by them:

“Meow”

“Helix Nebula”

 

Listen on,

Hailey

Descent into Dubstep

WARNING: OPINION AHEAD

(also note that this is a really hard article for me to write and post)

So over winter break I attempted my first dubstep track-project-thing. And I learned a lot.

See, it’s amazing how little you notice about a kind of music until you really get into it: until you dissect it and study all its parts and characteristics. So though I knew this project would be a challenge, I didn’t fully understand how much of a challenge it would be and why. I didn’t know what I was getting into.

Don’t get me wrong, I still do enjoy dubstep music as a great background track for when I work out or am reading or doing homework or anything like that. Essentially, what I have discovered is that (for me) dubstep is only fun for casual listening. For until now, I had never gone deeper with it.

The first thing I had to realize was that I really had never made anything even remotely similar to dubstep. Even what I had listened to, I soon found, was not real dubstep, but rather a fusion genre of something or other. Everything I started to make flowed too well, and was too (if I may say) “groovy.” So I had to scrap everything, do some research, and restart. In my researched I simply noted the characteristics I heard in dubstep that made it different than other music. Strangely, I had never listened to dubstep with the same intention as I had other music. So I was surprised by what I found.

Though I really hae no better way of saying this, dubstep is form of music with many, many postmodern characteristics. Besides its basic rhythm, very little of it has organization or structure besides the bits of original music from which with was derived. There are few notes or melodies or tones, but only mere atonal sounds. Also, it now makes so much sense why so many DJs use profanity in their mixes, merely for the shock value. Everything in it seemed shallow to me, merely to increase a song’s popularity.

But the hardest part for me is that dubstep really has no depth of expression or emotion. Emotion is why I make music in the first place, as I prefer to communicate and experience emotion through such an abstract form as music. So dubstep was incredibly hard for me to wrap my brain around. It seemed that everything I loved about music was stripped away in this project.

Being a postmodern and very superficial kind of music, I simply cannot agree with the ideology behind dubstep. In fact, if people were to claim that dubstep isn’t “real” music, though I certainly would not agree with them, I can see where they are coming from. To me, music is for beauty, for order, and for emotion – reflecting many of the attributes of the Creator of music and art Himself. But I see so very little of that shown in dubstep. But I dunno, maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m not hearing it right.

Though I am thankful for the growing experience for sure (hey, when else will I get a chance to discover how to tune cat meows?), and it’s a great tool to have in my toolbox, I do not see myself composing, or probably even listening to straight-up dubstep again. At least as much as I can help it.

 

Sorry to those this might have offended. But hey, whatever you do, whatever you’re into – don’t stop listening. Listen on.

-Hailey

Discover Weekly highlights 1/22/17

Okay, so this week I got a lot of cool stuff. It was hard to narrow it down.

But I’m gonna start with the best:

1. “Pheonix Rising” by Calum Graham

This blew me away. Absolutely amazing. Yeah…I just…don’t have much more to say about it.

2. “If You Could Hie to Kolob” by Jonathan Keith

As Spotify has been getting closer to figuring out my taste, this week they included a whole bunch of instrumental hymns and worship songs. Unfortunately, most of them are the style you would hear in the background of a Hobby Lobby (no offence, Hobby Lobby. I seriously love you). Except this one. The piano is played with such drama and depth that I would like to replicate in my own future playing. And I don’t even know this actual song!

3. “Eve” by Neulore

Every once in a while I will be surprised by some really nice lyrical music. This is one of those songs. It’s deep, the words are meaningful, and the music is expressive. It all blends together so well in a way that makes a different kind of sound. The well-built atmosphere behind it keeps me listening.

4. “Vrij” by Matthijn Buwalda

So the other week Spotify thought I was Swedish, this week I have a Dutch song for you (they had a Finnish song in my playlist this week, too, but I like this one more). I dunno, I just feel like listening to foreign music gives one a better appreciation for the music and language as a whole, as you can’t be distracted by the words. It also gives a broader appreciation of talent and culture around the world.

Anyway, this is a simple and fun song that I’ve had the pleasure of listening to.

Oh, and “Vrij” means, “Free”, by the way.

5. “I Give Up” by Elijah Bossenbroek

Now we get into some other instrumental stuff. So much expression and heart in this. Just listen and feel it. Feel the epicness.

6. “Dark” by Greg Maroney

Another instrumental piano bit. This solo piano piece holds its own. Despite its simplicity, it breaks rules and has enough power to it to keep going without dragging. Beautiful.

And that’s what we have for this week! I will leave you with this rendition of “Hallelujah” by Josh Vietti.

As always,

Listen on, crew.

Hailey

DUBstraMETALtronic

About a year ago I discovered fusion genre Orchestral Dubstep and could not get enough. And if metal was added in there…just…yes. All the fusion, all the time. But how could I get all the things in one place? I started my “Favorite Instrumentals” playlist as a first effort. But I also threw in there all kinds of other things: acoustic, jazz, piano. Problem was, if I listened to the playlist, none of it would mesh.

But now, I have done it. I converted my “Favorite Instrumentals” playlist into something I would actually listen to. I made my overall, good for just about everything, go-to playlist. And I’m calling it,

DUB-STRA-METAL-TRONIC

What is this strange word, you may ask? It is, as you may have guessed, a combination of many words:

  • Dubstep
  • Orchestra
  • Metal
  • Electonic

Basically, it’s everything I want and enjoy in one playlist. All instrumental, of course. In fact, to me, this is, the one instrumental playlist to rule them all. You can listen to it here. Because this is a dump of epicness, I still need to go through and weed out some less-epic tracks. Also, it needs more metal.

If any of you know of some good artists/tracks I could add to this, PLEASE let me know!

Peace out and listen on,

Hailey.