Listen Up! Summer Extended — July

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Artist: Paramore
Single: “Hard Times”
4/5 Stars

Alternative rock band Paramore formed in 2004 in Franklin,Tennessee and has certainly seen its fair share of difficulties. Over their 13-year career, numerous issues have put the members at odds with each other. Lyrically, “Hard Times” is about just that: hard times. Sonically, however, the song doesn’t really reflect hardship. The predominate groove begs for a disco ball, then diverges into an electronic groove as the track closes. The song as a whole is artfully constructed (such as the juxtaposition between the lyrics and the sound, and the unorthodox percussion) but not quite perfect. Hayley Williams’ more rhythmic and guttural delivery of “and I gotta get to rock bottom” clashes with the more melodic lyrics of the rest of the track, and though it adds an interesting dynamic, it doesn’t quite fit. That being said, “Hard Times” is quite enjoyable and doesn’t suffer from lack of creativity. Definitely worth a listen.

Artist: Nothing Left
Single: “Destroy and Rebuild”
4/5 Stars

Nothing Left is a Christian hardcore band that formed in 2016 from the remnants of several metalcore bands such as For Today. “Destroy and Rebuild” from their recent EP is a solid track that would please most any fan of heavy music. There’s nothing too fancy about the track as far as instrumentation goes, but the energy is almost tangible. After a few measures of only guitar, the rest of the band blasts ahead at full force and doesn’t look back. The lyrics strongly remind me of Romans 12:2. The final lines “This is where the light and dark collide/Shattering memories that plague my mind/There is no turning back” make me think about how when we allow God to transform our thought process there really is no turning back. To do so would be foolish. Though not especially impressive, it’s overall a great blend of hard music and hard truth.

Reviews By Caleb Trimmer

Artist: Jamie Grace
Single: “The Happy Song”
2.5/5 Stars

Jamie Grace is a singer/songwriter from Atlanta, Georgia. Most of her upbeat tunes fall into the category of pop and rap. I have been a big fan of Jamie Grace for several years now. However, I am not impressed with her most recent single, “The Happy Song.”  It is very repetitive and insists on you being happy with her. Let’s face it, we’re not happy all the time. Psalms 28:7 says, “The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” Although it drives me crazy, it has a beautiful message. This song would be good for a younger audience to get them up and moving, but as for me, I just want to change the station.

Band: Third Day
Single: “Revival”
5/5 Stars

Third Day was formed in Marietta, Georgia. Their Christian music has been rockin’ since the 90s. Mac Powell has a uniquely soothing voice that leaves a lasting impression on you. Their newest song, “Revival,” has an urgency that makes you want to gather up your congregation and have a revival right then and there. My favorite lyrics say “Ain’t gonna find it (a revival) in a politician/ Not from the government or any law/ Can’t get it going by your own religion/ Only by the Spirit and the Word of God.” So many times, we look for answers in politicians, Netflix, social media, drugs, and other worldly things. We forget to turn to places where we can find the answers, like the Bible. This song reminds us that all the answers can be found by turning to God. It urges a revival in our hearts and has started one in mine.

Reviews By Shyan Campfield