Thursday, October 29, 2015

Shemita Songs: The 2015 Platinum Vinyl Awards 4th Qtr - Live

We begin our single genre posts of the 2015 Platinum Vinyl Awards 4th Quarter Pool with a bit of a cheat. I have begun adding Compilation and Live Album into the wrap, even though they are not technically genres. And with 6 entries this quarter, the live experience has something to crow about. We shall get right to it.

Live Recorded Album

We are under way once again. I apologize for the delays in between posts, but a lot is going on at the moment. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Shemita Songs: The 2015 Platinum Vinyl Awards 4th Qtr - Metal Dance

Well I guess that's better than Safety Dance. No nasty email and letters, I kind of like the song, especially the version done by The Echoing Green. But that's for another time. We are finally returning to our announcing of the 2015 4th Quarter, and we have come to the final multiple genre post. We are combining Hard Rock/Metal and Dance/Synthpop.


Dance/Synthpop

Toby Mac is Back! And that is a good thing. Personally I thought he was mailing it in for the last album. In fact it was the Remix albums that were the best. I think he figured that out as well, and he knocked this one out of the park.

Hard Rock/Metal

While I liked the previous release by P.O.D., it was a little different. This one is too, but its going back to Satellite, and that is a very good thing. It's all single genre posts from here on in, so until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Crowing Over The Doves

Well it is that time again. The Dove Awards have been handed out and the bands and artists are glowing in the shine off the hardware. Or something like that. Of course it is nothing like the glory they get from winning a Platinum Vinyl Award, but it's better than nothing.

In my line of work as the President, Founder and leader of the WENC Night Beat, it is my responsibility to make predictions as to who I think will win the awards. To try to improve the Award Process, of course. Anyways, I would like to remind you that statistically speaking, a coin flip is 50%, so if I get near to that, I don't have to hang up my Carnac the Magnificent hat.

We begin with the Album Awards. I made 3 Picks which I explained, and another 5 Quick Picks with no explanation. I cleared a wide berth for Worship Album, picking 3: Bethel Music, Chris Tomlin and Passion Conference. There were only five nominees, I had to hit, right? Wrong. They went with Hillsong No Other Name. 

I did better with Pop/Contemporary Album, picking For King and Country, and the Dove Committee went for it as well. I will give myself points if I thought the industry would pick a choice other than mine, but then they went for my choice. I said Red should win for Rock Album and that the industry was pulling for Disciple, but the GMA's went for Red as well. That's 2 for 3. 

For the quick picks I went with Kierra Sheard for Contemporary Gospel; Charles Jenkins for Traditional Gospel; Philips Craig and Dean for Inspirational; Colton Dixon for Rock/Contemporary; and Lecrae for Rap Album. I only lost out on Gospel. The other three were correct. Final album total 5 for 8 or 62%.

I made four picks for Song awards. For worship song I went with Forever by Kari Jobe but really thought popular opinion went with Holy Spirit by Francesca Battistelli. The Dove went to Matt Maher. Go Figure. I thought How Can It Be by Lauren Daigle should win but the Dove would Go to For King and Country. The Dove went to Daigle for Pop/Contemporary Song. I had a bad hunch that the Dove for Rock Song would go to Skillet for Good To Be Alive, from an album honored in #PlatVnyl4 two years ago. I was right. I picked NF or Rapture Ruckus for Rap Song. The Dove went to Lecrae. 2 for 4 on Song, Overall we were at 7 for 12 or 58%. Still ahead of the coin flip.

The third part went to the General Field. I made a pick for Artist of The Year, New Artist of The Year, and Song of The Year. For Song of The Year, while I thought that the Dove's would go to Casting Crowns for Thrive, I said that I would pick How Can It Be by Lauren Daigle. And that is the song that won. I love it when the big boys agree with me.

For New Artist of The Year, I Picked Lauren Daigle. I love her powerful, deep voice. So did the Dove Committee. 2 for 2.

I really thought it would be the ladies year so I said either Kari Jobe or Francesca Battistelli for Artist of The Year. The Dove went to Lecrae. Must be a war on women thing. Ending there we would be 9 for 15 or 60%. and 2/3 here or 67%. But I also, on a lark, picked for Short Form Video to illustrate absurdity by being absurd. While I have a Video of The Year Award, I also have ones for individual music genres. Trying to do one without the other is crazy. Anyway I picked Dreams by Kings Kaleidoscope and they picked You Can't Stop Me by Andy Mineo. Including this loss gives me 9 for 16, still over a coin flip at 56%. I guess I can keep at this. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Friday, October 16, 2015

What is Christian Contemporary Music?

Don't ask me. Shocked you with that answer, didn't I. Despite the fact that I have been involved with Christian Music in some fashion for 40 years, I have no problem with admitting that I don't have a clue, and the truth is, neither does anyone else.

As a person who rates and makes criticism on the Christian Music Industry, let me tell you that of the three most useless descriptions on iTunes, two of them belong to Christian Music. They are CCM and Christian/Gospel. They appear so frequently that they give absolutely no clue as to how an artist or band will sound. Unless you're in the know, you wont. The other useless label is that of Singer/Songwriter. You would think that the title would scream folk music, you know the ubiquitous "Girl with Guitar" (Think early Amy Grant), but the title really could be placed on anyone. If Michael Sweet, lead singer of Stryper, writes his own songs, isn't he a singer/songwriter as well? Bands tend to get excluded from the label, however. (Now if we had Girl with Guitar and Glockenspiel, that changes everything).

Seriously though, the name now is applied to everything except Rock, Metal and Rap, and that is a shame. There are so many descriptive terms than CCM. And Christian/Gospel? Is it Urban Gospel?, Southern Gospel?, Just somebody who happens to be Christian and plays music? I think the 40th Anniversary of Christian Contemporary Music is the right time to retire the label. Instead of "Moving Beyond Genre" we should be moving towards them. Embrace labels such as Folk, Folk Rock, Dance, EDM, Industrial, Alternative, Rap, Hip Hop, Heavy Metal and many many more. We can finally ditch silly categories such as Pop/Contemporary at the Dove Awards. Maybe then we can get on to tackling the serious problems that plague the industry, like the recurring purges and witch hunts that happen every time someone gets caught in a "major sin". Newsflash, we all sin. We are to "Restore such a one in a spirit of meekness, considering yourself, lest you also be tempted." We are not supposed to remove all trace of them from shelves and pretend they never existed, which is putting it mildly.

And while I'm at it, maybe we can retire the old "We're not a Christian Band, we're a band whose members happen to be Christians" argument. The past 40 years have showed the industry that people are happy enough to have "clean" music. They don't need to have Jesus name uttered every other line. So bands like U2, Evanescence and others could be very happy with their Christian Audiences. We've been blessed by the Music, why can't the industry recognize them properly?

That's my rant for today. I'll try not to have one a day. I've got a lot to do otherwise. Picking winners for my sweepstakes, getting the 4th Quarter Out. Starting Judging, and commenting on the recently completed Dove Awards. But still, it needed to be said. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

40 Years of CCM: A Testimony

This Summer I came across an old Gospel of John with my writing in it. The writing marked my Decision to accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. That day was March 10, 1975. At the time making an annual celebration of your "Spiritual Birthday" wasn't really a big deal, so it was forgotten, though I never forgot that I was born again. I was eight years old at the time, and the person responsible for my Salvation was Royal Ranger Commander Walter Monroe of Southern New England Troop 66 at the New Testament Church of Cedarville, MA. I would have turned 9 in a little over a month, so I was held out of the Buckaroos Division until my Birthday and then I was admitted as a Pioneer.

One small regret. Soon after I got saved I had a yard sale and sold my and my brothers collection of Secular Music. The Beatles, Chicago, Paul McCartney and Wings, Bad Company. I know. There was a lot of other stuff, not all so good. Still, with what I have deemed GRAC (Generally Regarded As Christian) and the Fringe a lot of these artists could have been considered (if They were active) for a Platinum Vinyl Award.

I recently discovered another 40 year birthday to celebrate. It seems that Christian Contemporary Music had its birth in 1975 as well. Yes, I know, but we're talking CCM. Christian Rock and Metal were first, but the Industry has always been uneasy about their existence. Soon after my conversion I was introduced to Christian Music via the Christian Coffeehouse. Most of the artists would soon be forgotten by the Church. They were not forgotten by me, however.

Which brings me to the recent compilation from CCM United entitled We Will Stand. The Album is subtitled 30 Artists, 45 Songs Celebrating 40 Years of Christian Contemporary Music. While the music is good, the Industry is a bit Nostalgic, so the "History" is a bit back heavy. We have Amy Grant, Sandi Patty, Michael W. Smith, The Imperials (when they were rockin thank God), Love Song, you get the idea. The only "Contemporary" CCM artists are the Newsboys, Nicole C. Mullen and Francesca Battistelli. So it is more like CCM 40 years ago rather than 40 years of CCM. I would like have liked it to have included a bit more volume as well.

I am going to give We Will Stand (Live) 4.75 Emeralds based on the nostalgic value alone. It is a good, though incomplete look at mostly the Adult Contemporary Genre of Christian Music. Of course I have a problem with the CCM Title anyway, but that is the subject of another rant. Until then, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Shemita Songs: The 2015 Platinum Vinyl Awards 4th Qtr - Folk Compilation

We continue with the announcements of the 4th Quarter Pool Entries for #PlatVnyl6. This is the second of three multiple genre posts. Our first post comprised Children's Music, Electronic-Industrial, Remix, and Instrumental. This time we shall only have two, Compilation and Folk Music. Let's get to it.

Compilation of The Year

Needless to say these are all multiple artist or various artists, so we only give the title.

Folk Music/Folk Rock

That does it for this edition. We still have one more multiple genre post before we go to the single genre. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Shemita Songs: The 2015 Platinum Vinyl Awards 4th Qtr - Children's Electronic Remix

The entry pool is closed, and it's time to announce the nominees for the Final Quarter of #PlatVnyl6. You may have noticed I like to poke fun at things in the title of our quarterly wraps. This quarter is no exception. The religious community as well as the Gold Brokers rallied around the "Shemitah Year" It's a Hebrew Word meaning seventh or sabbath year. You know, 2015, 2008, 2001. Well even though 9/11 happened in 2001 and there was a stock market hiccup in 2008, that doesn't mean the world would end in 2015. Trust me folks, I've been dealing with this flakiness since 1980. The Word of God is the only sure thing, and there's no worldwide financial collapse predicted in the Bible. On to the music.

We do our announcements from least to greatest. Of course we also put in a minimum threshold to avoid having posts with just one or two entries. We have settled on 5 here at Night Beat HQ. So that means that the sparsely represented genres get combined into one post. There will be three such posts this time. Our first post combines Children's Music, Electronic-Industrial, Remix, and Instrumental. Let's get this party started.

Children's Music

 

Electronic-Industrial


Remix

  • Colton Dixon - Storm EP

Instrumental

We are under way. Next up, another multi-genre post. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Night Beat Rewind: September 2015

The End Is Here. The end of the #PlatVnyl6 Eligibility Year, that is. What did you think I was referring to? Hopefully we have all the entries, but the entry period is over and the judging begins. As you know things can pop up before the official announcement of the nominees is made. There were five singles released during September, so let's get to it.

The Singles Scene

  • The Afters - Live On Forever 4.75 Emeralds
  • Fearless BND - Brighter 5 Emeralds
  • Kirk Franklin - Wanna Be Happy 4.75 Emeralds
  • Manafest - Shine (feat Trevor McNevan) 4.50 Emeralds
  • Zealand Worship - Good, Good, Father 5 Emeralds
A few notes. Fearless BND (pronounced Band) is the band formerly known as Worth Dying For. A band by any other name. And like I said, I judge songs and albums independent of each other, so you have been warned. Our album coverage begins with those releases which were deemed unworthy of the pool, those that

Missed The Mark

  • Broken Flesh - Broken Flesh 3.25 Emeralds
  • Jason Crabb - Whatever The Road 3.75 Emeralds
  • JGivens - Fly Exam 3.75 Emeralds
  • Kari Jobe - Majestic: Revisited 3.75 Emeralds
  • Marty - Marty For President 3.75 Emeralds
  • Leigh Nash - The State I'm In 3.75 Emeralds
  • PyRexx - Born Again Disciple 3.50 Emeralds
A few more comments. Broken Flesh was like a broken record to me. The thrash vocals were unintelligible (no biggie, most are), there were no clean vocals on the samples I listened to, and musically every song sounded the same. That's a triple no no. I was very generous with the rating. I gave Leigh Nash a MTM rating based on the idea that this is a "serious" country alblum. You never can be sure with her style of vocals. If this is tongue in cheek it is pure genius. And Kari? You strip out all the orchestration and everything that made Majestic majestic. Not gonna get past this critic.

Pure Platinum Perfection

  • Annie Moses Band - American Rhapsody 5 Emeralds
  • Big Daddy Weave - Beautiful Offering 5 Emeralds
  • The City Harmonic - We Are 5 Emeralds
  • Planetshakers - #LETSGO 5 Emeralds

Semi-Precious Metal

  • All Things New - The Good News 4.75 Emeralds
  • Building 429 - Unashamed 4.75 Emeralds
  • Carrollton - Sunlight and Shadow 4.75 Emeralds
  • Noah Cleveland - Church With No Walls 4.75 Emeralds
  • Amanda Cook - Brave New World 4.50 Emeralds
  • Conveyer - When Given Time To Grow 4.50 Emeralds
  • Jonny Diaz - Everything Is Changing EP 4.75 Emeralds
  • Disciple - Vultures EP 4.50 Emeralds
  • Colton Dixon - Calm EP 4.75 Emeralds
  • Colton Dixon - Storm EP 4.75 Emeralds
  • Colton Dixon - The Calm Before The Storm 4.75 Emeralds
  • Eleven 22 Worship - Before All Things 4.75 Emeralds
  • Julie Elias - Unbroken 4.75 Emeralds
  • Darrell Evans - Fearless 4.50 Emeralds
  • Jon Foreman - The Wonderlands: Darkness EP 4.75 Emeralds
  • David Gentiles - God of Heaven 4.50  Emeralds
  • David Jooste - Amazing God EP 4 Emeralds
  • John P. Kee - Level Next 4.50 Emeralds
  • Crystal Lewis - Crystal Lewis 4.75 Emeralds
  • Jonathan McReynolds - Life Music, Stage 2 4.75 Emeralds
  • Justin McRoberts - Everything Has Changed EP 4.50 Emeralds
  • Andy Mineo - Uncomfortable 4.75 Emeralds
  • Cindy Morgan - Bows and Arrows 4.75 Emeralds
  • Trevor Morgan - Roots 4.50 Emeralds
  • Needtobreathe - Rivers EP 4.50 Emeralds
  • New Hope Oahu - Greater Together 4.50 Emeralds
  • Pen Pals - Gold EP 4.50 Emeralds 
  • Reckoncile - Catchin Bodies 4.75 Emeralds
  • Rp Tha Chozen 1 - The Harvest 4.50 Emeralds
  • Holly Starr - Everything I Need EP 4.75 Emeralds
  • Ryan Stevenson - Fresh Start 4.75 Emeralds
  • Tree 63 - Land 4.75 Emeralds
  • Various - #TheBridge, Volume 1 4.75 Emeralds
  • Various - Wow Hits 2016 4.50 Emeralds
  • Various - Wow Hits 2016 Deluxe 4.75 Emeralds
  • Veridia - Pretty Lies EP 4.75 Emeralds
  • XXI - Inside Out 4.75 Emeralds
  • Zealand Worship - The EP 4.75 Emeralds
Whew! Now that's a list. That's a whopping 38 entries in Semi-Precious Metal. Obviously a lot of these will not make the cut. You know the drill, I am forgoing links blah, blah, blah. I have actually started going back to the beginning of #PlatVnyl6, but I am in November of 2014 at the moment. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Merely Ordinary

If you've been following the Night Beat for any length of time you have most likely picked up a rant or two about my dissatisfaction with the state of Modern Worship Music. Most of that seems to be centered around the hillsongification of the genre (Yes, I just made that up. But maybe I could get it to trend). While Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia is the most successful and has spawned a legion of imitators, that is both a blessing and a curse. Most of the music in the genre sounds pretty much the same.

That being said, there is a new breed of Worship Music arising. While Australia still is King, the city is Melbourne and Planetshakers. Then there is Northern Ireland and Rend Collective (Current Album excepted. A little slip. No need to panic yet). Here in the States we have Daniel Bashta and Kari Jobe that have a flair for the dramatic, or should I say orchestratic.

At least until now, at least for Jobe. Majestic was a 5 Emerald Hit and cleaned up at the Platinum Vinyl Awards. There was the Obligatory Deluxe Album. They should have done the instrumental album, but instead went acoustic with Majestic Revisited. Bad Move.

The songs are meaningful, but part of the magic that made majestic live up to its title was the soaring orchestration. In my opinion it makes Kari sing better. Without the challenge of trying to sing above the soar, she gets very quiet, and that is a shame. The songs are the same, just more ordinary.

I never thought I would say this, but I am giving Majestic Revisited by Kari Jobe a quite ordinary score of 3.75 Emeralds. A Platinum Vinyl Awards without Kari Jobe. Maybe she cans still be a presenter. Oh well, until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.