Listen Up! — March 2018

Single Cover Image 12 Stone

Band: 12 Stones
Single: “Picture Perfect”
Stars: 4/5

12 Stones formed 18 years ago in a New Orleans suburb and has released five albums since. “Picture Perfect,” which shares its name with the album, is a solid post-grunge track that is vocally reminiscent of Skillet’s earlier albums, and instrumentally is a nice blend of catchy hooks and more tame verses. It does all this without compromising the rock aspect of things, as the song still begs for fist pumping. Paul McCoy’s lyrics deal with struggling inwardly when things don’t go as planned (Romans 7:14-20 comes to mind when I listen to the chorus). Eric Weaver’s guitar solo is not really fancy or innovative, but aptly fills its assigned role—as does all of the instrumentation, creating a full-bodied attack that lacks nothing. However, it seems that standalone instrumentation was traded for raw attack, creating a sonic bulldozer. Overall it’s a good song, but not quite “picture perfect.”

Single Cover Image Coldplay—All I Can Think About Is You

Band: Coldplay
Single: “All I Can Think About Is You”
Stars: 4/5

Coldplay formed in 1998 in London, England and has been a mainstay in mainstream music for the past decade. “All That I Can Think About Is You” from Kaleidoscope centers around a pretty chill drum and bass groove that the rest of the song builds upon. Chris Martin’s haunting vocals, paired with minimalist guitar and piano, create an almost absentminded yet longing feel that gradually leads to a soaring hook and outro before dropping out entirely. The instrumentation is interesting and develops in a way that “leads your ears.” The lyrics, although thoughtful and creative, simply take a back seat and are forgotten by the end of the song. Honestly the only lyrics that stick are the title lyrics. While this song isn’t a worship song, it makes me think of how much better my life is when God is at the forefront of my mind.

Image Single Cover—Shake Me (awake)—The Dear Hunter

Band: The Dear Hunter
Single: “Shake Me (Awake)”
Stars: 5/5

The Dear Hunter is an experimental rock group from Providence, Rhode Island that formed in 2006. Their latest single, “Shake Me (Awake)” from the All Is As All Should Be album, is a bright and cheery song about living in the here-and-now, as well as breaking away from the routine and mundane. The track is fairly upbeat but still manages to maintain an easy and carefree tone throughout, despite a beat that continually drives forward in the verses and chorus. Additionally, teasing harmonies and playful instrumentation round out an already airy melody. The lyrics express this seemingly carefree attitude, discussing how tomorrow isn’t promised to us and therefore resolving not to worry about the future.  Lines like “take me far away/ to a life that’s far less ordinary/ before I’m in the mortuary” are sung with such nonchalant humor that it’s hard not to smirk.

Image Single Cover—Reel 1—Owl City

Band: Owl City
EP: Reel 1
Stars: 3/5

Adam Young is from Owatonna, Minnesota and formed Owl City in 2007. His most recent EP, Reel 1, contains the first three tracks from his upcoming album, Cinematic. The intent of the EP as a whole, as well as each individual track, is intuitive and interesting. “Fiji Water” is about signing to a record label and the introduction to commercial music. “The 5th Of July” was written to honor Young’s parents, as per Exodus 20:12.  “All My Friends” celebrates friendship. The execution is where problems arise, specifically on the last song. The opener will make fans of the earlier electronica material dance, and “The 5th Of July” is a simple ballad. Upon first listen, “All My Friends” induced a cringe, and it gets only slightly better each time. The delivery is simply sub-par and feels forced. That being said, Reel 1 is still fun and that can’t be ignored.

—By Caleb Trimmer