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Music/Other Entertainment:

Post  Admin on Wed Sep 09, 2009 4:04 pm

Discuss music and other entertainment topics here --
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'Christian' music - OK for atheists?

Post  blacklens on Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:02 pm

Sometimes it seems like Contradiction is my middle name, and one aspect of this is that one of my absolute favourite artists is a biblical literalist, whos songs are almost all filled with religious imagery. I am of course talking about David Eugene Edwards, the front figure of 16 Horsepower and Woven Hand. When I try to describe his music to people who don't already know it, I always feel I have to make excuses for my liking it eventhough I don't believe a word he's singing.

So, what are your thoughts on this? Do you listen to religious music at all? Do you think it's hypocritical or is the artist's religious worldview completely irrelevant?
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Re: Music/Other Entertainment:

Post  Sosa on Wed Sep 09, 2009 6:23 pm

I don't go as far as listening to christian music (I can't stand it), although once in a blue moon I do like to listen to some Gospel, I like the instrumentation and all that, not the message. One of my favorite groups (Wu-Tang Clan) heavily promote themes from the 5 percenter cult and Nation of Islam beliefs in their music, but I just ignore that nonsense. I don't really care as much if the artist has a completely different or opposite world view than my own, as long as it's not all over their music, I just wont listen to it. I can still appreciate the artistic quality of the music though, sans lyrics
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'Christian' music - OK for atheists?

Post  jifrock on Wed Sep 09, 2009 6:27 pm

blacklens wrote:Sometimes it seems like Contradiction is my middle name, and one aspect of this is that one of my absolute favourite artists is a biblical literalist, whos songs are almost all filled with religious imagery. I am of course talking about David Eugene Edwards, the front figure of 16 Horsepower and Woven Hand. When I try to describe his music to people who don't already know it, I always feel I have to make excuses for my liking it eventhough I don't believe a word he's singing.

So, what are your thoughts on this? Do you listen to religious music at all? Do you think it's hypocritical or is the artist's religious worldview completely irrelevant?

I am open to most things. I can't see the point in denying myself the pleasure of good art, music or literature simply because I don't hold the opinions of the creator. It may also be that my because my experience of religion has not been as extreme as some others - I should do a gospel of doubt - I hold no great animosity towards it. I actually owe Dante's Divine Comedy a debt of gratitude. The Inferno had a role in inspiring me to go back to university and actually finish a degree!

I don't know much about Sufjan Stevens, but I have Seven Swans on high rotation on my iPod. I find it quite moving and have no hesitation in recommending people have a listen despite the fact it's chock full of explicitly religious lyrics.
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Re: Music/Other Entertainment:

Post  MisterChristopher on Wed Sep 09, 2009 7:53 pm

I don't think there's anything wrong with enjoying Christian music. Albeit most of it is shit, but good music is good music regardless of what faith it promotes. I love myself some choir gospel
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Re: Music/Other Entertainment:

Post  Stegocephalian on Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:31 am

Good music can be good music, regardless of the intended message in a song. I myself am a big Tom Waits fan, and though his religiosity is a big question mark, he does have some songs that depict Christian themes, and he does employ many musical styles, including gospel in his music.

Waits' music tends to be theatrical in nature though, meaning that he often sings from the perspective of a fictional character he embodies - that's why he can sing "Jesus gonna be here" in one song, and "Your spirit don't leave knowing your face or your name, and the wind through your bones is all that remains" in the next.

And some songs are ambiguous - sounding very religious, except for some lyrics which seem quite the opposite.... here's an example of a Gospel-style number "Come On Up to the House":



Is that a Christian song or not? Strangely ambiguous - mostly it is, but then he sings a line like "There's no light in the tunnel, or irons in the fire, come on up to the house".... and you wonder. scratch
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Re: Music/Other Entertainment:

Post  blacklens on Fri Sep 11, 2009 7:19 pm

Yep, good music is good music. And this is good music.



One of my absolute definite favourites, which without exception gives me goosebumps and floods my eyes. I don't know why. ENJOY!
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Re: Music/Other Entertainment:

Post  Momma Heathen on Fri Sep 11, 2009 8:12 pm

I don't know if I could listen to x-tian music. But I have never really heard any that caught my attention. I do find that I tend to gravitate more to music with a fantastic beat (astrologers say that a Leo is naturally drawn to rhythm, he he!), and I pay less attention to the lyrics. Come to think of it, maybe I HAVE heard some x-tian music that I have enjoyed. I may have just missed the message! Smile
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Re: Music/Other Entertainment:

Post  MisterChristopher on Fri Sep 11, 2009 8:47 pm

There's a few good musicians that put in blatant atheistic themes. George Hrab comes to mind. NIN (I'm not a fan really, but they qualify)....and that's all I can think of
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Does musical worldview matter?

Post  wyceeric on Sat Sep 12, 2009 4:46 am

Hey Folks,

With regard to the "good music is good regardless..." theme- I strongly agree. Music is the second most important thing in my life after my family; listening to it, talking about it, thinking about it, reading about it and seeking to understand it better in it's many forms. If I like it, it doesn't matter from whence it comes. I'm a hardcore rationalist, but love lots of religiously contaminated music.

I'll use the example of the WYCE music library, since I'm pretty familiar with the contents, having been a programmer on air there since 1992,(hence my user name). Playing religious music is not part of our mission. Playing music that doesn't get played elsewhere but deserves airtime is, consequently we have lots of religious music in the five main genre divisions, those being Folk, Blues, Jazz, Rock, and World. There are many sub-genres in each.

The highest concentration would probably be in the Folk section, where much of the traditional/old time/bluegrass stuff has a fair amount of gospel content. The contemporary has less, but you wouldn't have to look very hard.

Next would be Blues and World, tied for second as Blues is infused with gospel and each sub-genre, (by region, ethnicity or whatever) of World has it's own indigenous religious tradition represented to a greater or lesser degree. Hell, every other Reggae song is a Rastafarian praise tune, and much of the fusion-y type stuff has some nebulous spiritual intent from somewhere.

Rock and Jazz are the least likely place to run into religion but it wouldn't take you very long even if you weren't trying.

Anyway, my point is that when determining what I want to play, my first obligation is to my ear. That said, I don't play anything too ridiculous, though. Just good stuff, regardless of what inspired it. I always end my show with something different from Over the Rhine. Why would a non-theist end his show with a tune by a band with a (not in your face) Christian worldview? Because most of their stuff is really great. Their lyrical songcraft, melodic tunesmithing, and Karin Bergquist's absolutely unbelievable voice move me- even if I'm not inspired to abandon reason.

All that and I haven't even mentioned the world of classical music. I'd love to play more non/anti-theist music, but it's slim pickings out there. Maybe I could get a few suggestions from you folks beyond those of which I'm already aware. I see a couple already mentioned.

Thought on the above?

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Re: Music/Other Entertainment:

Post  jgrow2 on Sat Sep 12, 2009 3:16 pm

wyceeric wrote:Rock and Jazz are the least likely place to run into religion but it wouldn't take you very long even if you weren't trying.

This is true. Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" springs to mind immediately. It was written as something of a devotional piece, and is just a thing of beauty.



For me, the Who comes to mind here too. (personal bias: A fan of the Who going on thirty years now. So since I was around eleven). Tommy and Lifehouse (Who's Next), as well as Pete Townshend's first solo album, Who Came First, were all full of songs that likened the search for god to a search for love, romantic love mainly, and couches one in the language of the other. "Bargain" epitomizes this.



I also love the blues, but was always bothered by the notion of "sinning" and being a "sinner" inherent in it. Sure it all made for a good turn of phrase, but sends the wrong message.

As for the "Christian music" of today, I find it as nauseating as what passes for Country.
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Our Universe

Post  timmeh on Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:01 am

Hi all,

As a first post, I wanted to share this cool video that someone sent me today. I think it's awesome, I hope you enjoy it too!
All the best from this Kiwi (person, not the bird, nor the fruit) living in Berlin.

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Re: Music/Other Entertainment:

Post  karyn on Sat Sep 19, 2009 12:11 pm

blacklens wrote:Yep, good music is good music. And this is good music.



One of my absolute definite favourites, which without exception gives me goosebumps and floods my eyes. I don't know why. ENJOY!

Well I'm a fan.

Also, System of A Down is full of science hating evangelicals. I still like a few of their songs, even the one that blatantly bashes science:

Science fails to recognize the single most
Potent element of human existence
Letting the reigns go to the unfolding
Is faith, faith, faith, faith
Science has failed our world
Science has failed our mother earth
Spirit-moves-through-all-things
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Re: Music/Other Entertainment:

Post  blacklens on Sat Sep 19, 2009 8:27 pm

karyn wrote:
blacklens wrote:Yep, good music is good music. And this is good music.



One of my absolute definite favourites, which without exception gives me goosebumps and floods my eyes. I don't know why. ENJOY!

Well I'm a fan.
If you're a fan you have to check out my photos of David here.
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Re: Music/Other Entertainment:

Post  jgrow2 on Sun Sep 20, 2009 8:40 pm

One of the most stirring pieces of music mated to a motion picture. One that evokes the majesty of the cosmos and the ascent of man.

I give you...



Enjoy.
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Re: Music/Other Entertainment:

Post  NH Baritone on Sun Sep 20, 2009 10:56 pm

jgrow2 wrote:One of the most stirring pieces of music mated to a motion picture. One that evokes the majesty of the cosmos and the ascent of man.

I give you...



Enjoy.
I laughed. I cried. I cringed.

Somewhere there is a trumpet teacher, who upon hearing this rendition, tossed his horn into the the path of a speeding freight train and penitently walked away. If only he had done so sooner.
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Christian Music and Good Music

Post  Stanley on Mon Sep 21, 2009 10:17 am

Well, being of a certain age, I had a soft spot for Prefab Sprout. They sound nothing like any other CD in my collection but I always just found then surprisingly good.

That was until I bought the "new" album, "Let's Change the world with Music", delayed release from 1992... I listened in horror as Prefab Sprout's amusing lyrics had been replaced with horrible guff about how wonderful his god is and the music had moved from quirkily sentimental to fluffy sentimental rubbish. Happily, Fopp's "Suck it and See" policy allowed me to return the CD forthwith.

I like music which moves me emotionally moreso than physically and so lyrics do tend to be rather important. I find it hard to regularly enjoy a song about stalking (Every breath you take) and, it stands to reason, I find it dreadfully difficult to listen to someone bang on about their imaginary friend in the sky.

That said, the odd reference here or there won't worry me. After all, I'm friends with religious people so it would odd to ignore the artistic output of the community. I'd like to think I'd count Bruce Springsteen among my friends if I could...I don't know him but his faith sure wouldn't put me off sharing a drink with him.

I leave you with this one to discuss... Patrick is a friend and played this as part of my wedding ceremony earlier this year. To me, it speaks beautifully of the journey from faith to reason:



"Roads to freedom, long and wide,
Should clear your thoughts and ease your mind,
So rise above it all
And stand where others fall."
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Frank Zappa and C.A.S.H.

Post  cleanwillie on Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:41 pm

I think Frank Zappa's role as an advocate for reason has been somewhat overlooked in the atheist/humanist/naturalist community. I'm a huge Zappa fan myself and I really think he deserves more credit for doing stuff like this:

Church of American Secular Humanism
Unused Press Release, 1987
"ZAPPA ANNOUNCES C.A.S.H. – CHURCH OF AMERICAN SECULAR HUMANISM"

Thousands of years ago, wise men predicted a NEW RELIGION would appear at the time of a unique planetary alignment called The Harmonic Convergence – THE PROPHECY HAS BEEN FULFILLED!
The ancient writings didn't mention a Nixon-appointed judge named Brevard Hand, but they should have.
His ruling in the controversial Alabama School Textbook Case provided the Final Sign From On High which led the unpredictable Mr. Honker to file articles of incorporation in the State of Alabama for C.A.S.H. – CHURCH OF AMERICAN SECULAR HUMANISM.
In deciding the case, Judge Hand ruled that 'Secular Humanism' was, in fact, an actual religion, and that the tenets of its faith were dominating the curriculum of Alabama Schools, thereby violating the civil rights of decent Christian folks who demanded 'equal time.'
The problem with this historic legal interpretation, according to some, was that there really wasn't a 'religion' called Secular Humanism ... and certainly no CHURCH of SECULAR HUMANISM.
Out of this desperate need, C.A.S.H. was created. Zappa reasoned that, if the Judge's ruling was upheld, Secular Humanism was entitled to the same benefits under U.S. law that every other religion enjoys: tax exemptions, awesome political power, unaudited expenditures of vast sums on real estate speculations, etc., so, in drafting the Tenets Of The Faith, he duplicated the actual language of the Judge's ruling, adding to it a few thoughts of his own. (THE COMPLETE LIST IS INCLUDED LATER.)
When asked to explain, Zappa paraphrased Oliver North, saying, "As a result of Judge Hand's finding on this matter, I sensed a need for the creation of an 'off-the-shelf, stand-alone, self-financing (religious) organization, capable of worldwide covert action.'
He also said, "If the Judge's ruling is struck down ... and, in fact, it should be, there is still a need for this church. The people of Our Faith refuse to be persecuted any longer by a fanatical fifth column, shoveling money in the direction of 'special friends' in Washington, D.C."

(Quote from the Zappa Wiki Jawaka http://wiki.killuglyradio.com/index.php/Church_of_American_Secular_Humanism)

What do you think?
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Re: Music/Other Entertainment:

Post  KMB on Tue Sep 22, 2009 4:35 pm

How could someone possibly not love Zappa?

Lyrics in spoiler:
Spoiler:
Whoever we are
Wherever we're from
We shoulda noticed by now
Our behavior is dumb
And if our chances
Expect to improve
It's gonna take a lot more
Than tryin' to remove
The other race
Or the other whatever
From the face
Of the planet altogether

They call it THE EARTH
Which is a dumb kinda name
But they named it right
'Cause we behave the same...
*We are dumb all over*
Dumb all over,
Yes we are
Dumb all over,
Near 'n far
Dumb all over,
Black 'n white
People, we is not wrapped tight

Nurds on the left
Nurds on the right
Religous fanatics
On the air every night
Sayin' the Bible
Tells the story
Makes the details
Sound real gory
'Bout what to do
If the geeks over there
Don't believe in the book
We got over here

You can't run a race
Without no feet
'N pretty soon
There won't be no street
For dummies to jog on
Or doggies to dog on
Religous fanatics
Can make it be all gone
(I mean it won't blow up
'N disappear
It'll just look ugly
For a thousand years...)

You can't run a country
By a book of religion
Not by a heap
Or a lump or a smidgeon
Of foolish rules
Of ancient date
Designed to make
You all feel great
While you fold, spindle
And mutilate
Those unbelievers
From a neighboring state

TO ARMS! TO ARMS!
Hooray! That's great
Two legs ain't bad
Unless there's a crate
They ship the parts
To mama in
For souvenirs: two ears *(Get Down!)*
Not his, not hers, *(but what the hey?)*
The Good Book says:
*("It gotta be that way!")*
But their book says:
*"REVENGE THE CRUSADES...
With whips 'n chains
'N hand grenades..."*
TWO ARMS? TWO ARMS?
Have another and another
Our God says:
*"There ain't no other!"*
Our God says
*"It's all okay!"*
Our God says
*"This is the way!"*

It says in the book:
*"Burn 'n destroy...*
*'N repent, 'n redeem*
*'N revenge, 'n deploy*
*'N rumble thee forth*
*To the land of the unbelieving scum on
the other side*
*'Cause they don't go for what's in the
book*
*'N that makes 'em BAD*
*So verily we must choppeth them up*
*And stompeth them down*
*Or rent a nice French bomb*
*To poof them out of existance
*While leaving their real estate just where
we need it*
*To use again*
*For temples in which to praise
OUR GOD*
*("Cause he can really take care of
business!")*

And when his humble TV servant
With humble white hair
And humble glasses
And a nice brown suit
And maybe a blond wife who takes
phone calls
Tells us our God says
It's okay to do this stuff
Then we gotta do it,
'Cause if we don't do it,
We ain't gwine up to *hebbin!*
(Depending on which book you're using
at the time...Can't use theirs... it don't work
...it's all lies...Gotta use mine...)
Ain't that right?
That's what they say
Every night...
Every day...
Hey, we can't really be dumb
If we're just following *God's Orders*
Hey, let's get serious...
God knows what he's doin'
He wrote this book here
An' the book says:
*He made us all to be just like Him,"
so...
If we're dumb...
Then God is dumb...
*(An' maybe even a little ugly on the side)*
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Video game music

Post  MisterChristopher on Tue Sep 22, 2009 6:31 pm

Video game music/songs anyone? "Still Alive" is simply and has a dark undertone. Gotta love Portal

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Re: Music/Other Entertainment:

Post  Jim on Tue Sep 22, 2009 6:36 pm

MisterChristopher wrote:Video game music/songs anyone? "Still Alive" is simply and has a dark undertone. Gotta love Portal
i love this song.
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Re: Music/Other Entertainment:

Post  exxian on Thu Sep 24, 2009 3:10 pm

I like some religious music.... but Christian rock and pop are just too much.

Preferably I'd like mine in hymn form, if possible in latin, so I don't have to know what they're saying except in the most general of terms.

One band I do LOVE that leans that way is Nickel Creek... but they keep most of their songs secular. Ironically my favorite of their list is "Doubting Thomas" because it so beautifully illustrates that conflicted time of doubt before someone leaves their faith. Really heartbreaking to listen to.
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Carl Sagan's New Single: 'A Glorious Dawn' ft Stephen Hawking (Cosmos Remixed)

Post  dezrah on Thu Sep 24, 2009 4:48 pm

I just had to share this, I think if you've been listening for awhile, you'll appreciate it's appropriateness:

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Carl Sagan sings

Post  Stanley on Fri Sep 25, 2009 8:18 am



Just unbelievably wonderful.
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Re: Music/Other Entertainment:

Post  Jim on Fri Sep 25, 2009 11:52 am

that was fucking rad.
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Re: Music/Other Entertainment:

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