Archives For Pop Music

 

Rock & Roll and the Racial Imagination
 
A Review of 

Just Around Midnight: Rock and Roll and the Racial Imagination
Jack Hamilton

Hardback: Harvard UP, 2016
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by Adam P. Newton

 
 

This might be the best book about rock & roll history I’ve ever read.

That’s a pretty bold claim, considering the amount of biographies, anthologies, oral histories, critical studies, and autobiographies from across the musical spectrum I’ve consumed in the past 15 years. And it’s not a declaration I make lightly, because I’ve recommended classics like Cash by Johnny Cash, Our Band Could Be Your Life by Michael Azzerad, Just Kids by Patti Smith, and Life by Keith Richards to people who don’t even love music, and they’ve devoured the stories.

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Looking for God’s Fingerprint

 
A Feature Review of

Burning Bush 2.0: How Pop Culture Replaced the Prophet
Paul Asay

Paperback: Abingdon Press, 2015
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

 

Reviewed by Danny Wright

 

In Burning Bush 2.0: How Pop Culture Replaced the Prophet, Paul Asay, from the often-visited website www.unplugged.com, takes the reader on a journey through pop culture’s music, movies, television shows and video games in order to experience God’s message that extends to each of us through those various forms of communication. Asay knows that we search for God in all of our stories and that we need to make sure we do not miss his revelations as we live in this storied existence. He wants to help us hone our ability to be sensitive to the Spirit’s guidance as we live, move and have our being in God and shuffle through this God-created, God-soaked and God-sustained world in which He is not very far from any one of us. Each chapter begins with a quote that focuses the reader and prepares them for the journey of the following pages as he begins to bounce back and forth through a variety of references to well-known media.

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John the Revelator

Today is the Feast day of St. John the Apostle, the presumed author not only of the Gospel of John, but also of the epistles of 1, 2 and 3 John and Revelation.  In addition to inspiring the work of many an end-times fanatic, the last of these books also was the inspiration for Blind Willie Johnson’s song “John the Revelator,” which in turn inspired a multitude of covers.

In honor of St. John the Revelator, we feature the original song and three covers of it here…

 

Which version of the song is your favorite? 

(Mine is Son House’s cover)

[ Blind Willie Johnson ] [ Son House
[ Phil Keaggy ]  [ Nick Cave ]

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As you might already know, this week is Banned Books Week.

But really… Isn’t there only so much you can say about banned books? Make a list, tell stories about why and where they were banned, etc. Important work, but it does get a wee bit tired after while.  So, my  friend (and SLOW CHURCH co-author), wittily suggested that for something completely different, somebody should re-spin this event as BAND Books week.

So, taking John up on his idea, in honor of the very first Band Books Week, we are proud to offer our list of 20+ essential books on bands and popular music.

(This list is based largely on contributions from music writers and booksellers including: Kester Smith, Adam P. Newton, Dan Gibson, Sheldon Lesire and Josh Langhoff.  Huge thanks to our contributors!!!!

Use the comments below to tell us:
What books are missing from this list?
What books do not belong on this list and why?

 


 The Very Best of the Best…
(Start Reading Here)

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Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

Read the Publishers Weekly Review


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Mashup Religion - John McClureEncouraging Creative Combinations

Mashup Religion:

Pop Music and Theological Invention

John McClure

Paperback: Baylor UP, 2012.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Adam P. Newton

To the uninitiated, the term “mashup” probably doesn’t sound too appealing, and when applied to the context of theology, it would seem especially spurious and dangerous in certain ecclesial circles. However, the average pop music fan would define the term “mashup” as such: a new song that combines material from two different songs, often from different genres, with the purpose re-introducing those original songs to the listener by providing fresh energy in an inventive context. Typically, these mashups fall into one of two primary categories: 1) the lyrics from one popular song (whether pop, rock, R&B, hip-hop, etc.) are laid atop the musical hook from another popular selection, usually to charm a wide range of people; or 2) the lyrics from a well-known track are combined with the hook from a lesser-known song, often attracting folks who listen to music outside of the musical mainstream.

Thus, the beauty of John McClure’s new book – Mashup Religion: Pop Music and Theological Invention – is in how deftly and intelligently he creates a powerful metaphor wherein he directly and positively teaches how theological practitioners in the 21st century have much to learn from their music-making contemporaries. Continue Reading…