Every school year, when I get to the end of the spring semester, I think, “there’s no way it could get any tougher than this,” and then somehow, it does.
That’s not meant to be a complaint – my years in college have been some of the most challenging, but also the most rewarding years of my life. Still, the rewards are easy to forget when you’re drowning in multiple 10-15 page papers and group projects while working two jobs and a maintaining some excuse for a social life. A lot of times, I find myself listening to music for encouragement, motivation, or just comfort.
As is my tradition every year, today I’m sharing a short playlist of the songs I listened to this past school year that encouraged and inspired me. As is NOT tradition, this post comes halfway through the summer. Even though it’s been a few months since the semester wrapped up, I still think this is worth sharing (and I’ll never let myself live it down if I let this school year go by without a playlist.
It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Between two different trips, finishing the academic year, and beginning my summer job, I’ve missed not one, but TWO Month in Review posts! I know, I know, I’m the worst. It’s okay, you can say it.
But as atonement for my wrongs, today I bring you a MIR double-header, covering May and June of 2019. That’s twice the stuff to go through, so I’ll do my best just to hit the highlights and keep it brief. But if you missed any of my other blog posts from the past two months, check those out first:
Happy May! This is arguably the best month of the year (not that I’m biased or anything… it is my birthday month after all), but April was also a great month! I’m excited to share just a little bit about what I did this month, but first, in case you missed anything I wrote about…
A few months ago, I started a series called “The Poetry of Metal,” where I analyze the lyrics of metal (or metalcore, if you want to be picky) songs in an effort to show that there’s more to them than just screaming. I believe that there is a lot of fantastic and even beautiful writing in this genre – you just have to look beneath the surface a bit.
The last time I did this, I covered the song “Panic Room” by Silent Planet, which was written about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This time around, I’d like to look at a song by one of my favorite bands: “Wake Up” by Wolves At The Gate, from their album VxV. You can listen to the song below, or just keep reading to see the lyrics.
In this series, I’ve already covered writing lessons from books, video games, and even a musical. As you can probably tell, I like to draw from some unconventional sources, because I believe that anything can teach us about writing, from books to movies to music to video games. They all tell stories, just in different ways.
Wolves At The Gate (WATG) is a hardcore band from Cedarville, Ohio. I first saw them when they opened for RED a few years ago, and I saw them more recently at Uprise Fest last year. Though I love many hardcore bands, there are few that I’ve really connected with like WATG, and they’ve become one of my favorites. Not only does their music sound amazing, but the lyrics and themes are so artfully put together, and so today, I’d like to talk about what writing lessons we can learn from their music.
Note: I know many in my audience aren’t fans of hardcore music, so I’ll be providing links to lyrics and to the songs themselves. Feel free to listen to them, but you won’t be missing out on the point of the post if you would rather just read the lyrics.
First year of college? DONE. Now I only have three more to go…
Anyway, this past year I listened to a lot of music. I mean, I don’t have over 500 songs on my phone for nothing! Plus, I think music can often provide motivation, encouragement, and support all through life, and it expresses things that sometimes can’t be described in just words.
This week, I wanted to share a handful of songs that I’m calling my Freshman Year Soundtrack. Although I listened to much more than this list, these are the songs that I think most describe my year and are also some of the songs that most encouraged me all through the school year. You can listen to the whole playlist on Spotify, but if you want to hear my explanations of the songs, keep reading!
Or, “Another Excuse for Me to Talk About My Favorite Bands.”
Want to start listening to Christian rock, but don’t know where to start? Well, I’m here to help.
But let’s get one thing straight first – I’m not the biggest fan of the term “Christian rock,” or whatever genre you feel like shoving in there. First off “Christian” isn’t a genre, no matter what your local Christian bookstore tries to tell you, and second, bands can’t actually be Christian. To quote Blimey Cow for the second time in the past week: “Bands don’t have souls! DC Talk didn’t go to Heaven when it died!”
However, musicians can be Christian, and lyrics can have themes related to Christianity. Musicians and bands use their platform to share the Good News, which I think is wonderful! That’s really what I mean when I use the term “Christian rock” – a rock band that’s using their music and their platform to spread the Gospel.
Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll explain this list: I know from experience that discovering Christian rock is both incredibly exciting and very overwhelming, so I decided to come up with a reference for those new to this “genre.” I’ve included the bands I think are pretty accessible to everyone up to metalcore and heavier artists. There’s a place for everyone, so read on!