If you have only scratched the surface of Contemporary Christian music, the name John Mark McMillan may not mean anything to you. But you have almost definitely heard one of his songs – particularly “How He Loves”, popularized by David … Continue reading
Capital Lights is a small band that hopped onto the scene a few years ago. They are a band under Tooth and Nail records, and claim to be Christian. Their most recent album, Rhythm ‘n’ Moves, is a more obscure release, and falls under the radar often, in Christian and secular circles both. But the band themselves have a good songs, solid songwriting, and high quality tracks: while they may be more obscure they are by no means bad. However, any band that claims to be “Christian” has a standard that they are expected to live up to in the morality that their songs present. Capital Lights, unfortunately, sometimes does not quite live up to that standard, and this album is no exception. The band has one more album: “This Is An Outrage”, which, while I have listen to it, I have never listened to the full album under a critical lens, so I cannot give a total review of the band at this time (I may review that album later on), but I can tell you what I think of this album in particular.
THE GOOD AND THE BAD
“Rhythm ‘n’ Moves”, the title track opens the album, and it sets a rhythm (haha) that will remain for the rest of the album, establishing the theme of the album (relationships) and the mood (peppy and upbeat). The song is very atypical for the rest of the tracks: it is about a guy whose girlfriend left him, and it describes her and how he wants her back and how she’s his perfect girl and continues on like that. The song itself is fun and makes you smile and tap your foot, and, while it doesn’t have much substance, it doesn’t have anything really objectionable in it either. Overall an enjoyable, clean track.
The only word I can think of to adequately describe “Let Your Hair Down” is bipolar. The narrator is in a relationship that seems like it is ending: his lover is leaving him, and he is giving up on her but still wants her back. It’s clean and fun, and emotionally driven, but it is an “eh” track at best, just because the narrator seems kind of confused and unable to decide what he wants.
Ahhhh yes. “Caroline”. This is one of the CATCHIEST songs I have ever heard, and it gets stuck in my head ALL THE TIME. The song itself is clean, and the message is pretty good: it’s about a guy who was in love with a girl that fell victim to fame: “Caroline, wo-0-ah! Hollywood took the girl!” and he’s sick of her newfound self-love and is getting out of that one-sided relationship. Give this track a listen… at your own risk. Because it’s really peppy and will have you bobbing your head and tapping your foot for hours after it’s done.
“Coldfront Heatstroke” was their hit single, and it is one of the best tracks on their album. Again, it is a track about a one-sided relationship that he’s calling quits because he can’t take her emotional flip-flopping anymore. It’s a fun, acoustic driven track that is well written and completely clean. Plus, it’s got creative lyrics that are fun to listen to.
Controlling my anger, I will try to write a clean-headed review of the next track, which is a waste of talent and time and drops the morality of the album out from under itself. As a “Christian” band, this is a shameful track for them to put out. Called “Newport Party,” this is about a beachside party where there are a bunch of guys waiting for good-looking “Laguna beach bodies to arrive” and make them “lose their Cinderellas”. It is spit in the face of love, replacing it with a lust for good-looking girls in bikinis. I call it a waste of talent because there is some clever writing here, with the band referencing two of the songs on their previous album: “With the fellas singing This is an Outrage/Girl, you’re just a Mile Away” (This is an Outrage and Mile Away are the two). But it’s ruined by the rest of the song. I violently despise this track and recommend you steer clear from it. I wouldn’t even give it a listen.
This album is pretty darn bipolar: in between the two worst songs is a really good, inspiring one for girls going through depression. “Honey Don’t Jump” is a really touching song about a broken girl who is thinking about suicide, and it is written from the perspective of someone encouraging her with touching lyrics such as “Honey, don’t jump the gun/There’s a life worth living on/When the world comes crashing down/In God’s arms you’re safe and sound/Let the love of new life spread/In the light, you’ll walk til death/Then, arise, a forgiven soul/As Daddy says, welcome home and job well done/Oh honey don’t jump the gun!” It’s a good song, a very good song. I highly recommend it.
“Say Hey” is not necessarily a BAD song. But I did not like it, enough for me to take it off of my iPod. For one thing, the song opens with the sound of a can being opened… and since it is a party song written by adults, it’s hard to imagine that it would be a soda can. But I guess that is the assumption we are supposed to make. The song itself proceeds to, while not being out-front inappropriate, kind of shady, including lyrics like “Four silhouettes getting down in the daylight”, “Me and shawty in our best clothes/getting down on a late night”, and a few others that walk a razor’s edge. Use great discretion with this track.
“Don’t Drop Dead Juliet” is narrated by a boy who’s in love with a girl, but is having trouble committing to the relationship, and is scared of what the future may hold, but is encouraging her to stay because he knows he wants to stay with her till he dies. It’s a pretty touching song, and changes the tempo of the album a bit: instead of him leaving a girl because the relationship is unhealthy, he’s encouraging a girl to stay with him because he wants to make things right between them. Not a bad track at all.
“Hey Little One” is a track that takes the album to a much slower pace, and it’s a warm, heartfelt song. It’s about a boy who lost his love, and regrets it and thinks back on it with happy memories and a desire to relive them. It is touching, and the artist puts raw emotion into the song that makes you sympathize with him and, if you have ever lost a love, brings you back to those memories. He also looks towards the future, and asks God with the strength to move on. The song has one questionable line: “What if this was just a dream?/When I awakened from this nightmare you were lying next to me?”, but if you can overlook that tiny detail the song is very good. I like the track, but it might not be for everyone.
Next is “Save the Last Dance,” another iffy song on the album (while not NEARLY as bad as “Newport Party”). While does not have any outright inappropriate content, its message is not one that, as Christians, I do not believe we should condone: the narrator is at a party, and he sees this girl who he describes as “a real life girl in a dream girl’s body”, which throws up a red flag in the first place because all he knows about this girl is that he likes her body and that she’s a good dancer. The man continues to make a plot to cut in in the last dance of the night and get the girl. That is the entire song; again being one that is pretty shallow and has very little sustenance to it, except this has enough “eh” to it to put it off some Christians’ iPods, or at least make it a less popular track. It’s worth a listen: the song is catchy and fun, but it is not necessarily worth a buy. Use discretion.
And then the album ends by making your eyebrows shoot up as you say “Wait… this was a CHRISTIAN band?” This is their only purely religious song on the album, and a good one at that. It is a great track about God’s love and its effect on the people who have it. I like this song, while it’s not as catchy as some of the others it is one of the only ones that deviates from the relationship theme; while that is not a bad theme, it can sometimes get exhausting when every album is all about it. I highly recommend this song.
This album has some ups and some downs. If you’re looking for a “Christian” band, this would not be a good place to look. However, if you’re looking for a secular band made of Christians, Capital Lights is not that bad of a pick. There are better bands, but there are much, MUCH worse ones. And their songs are catchy and enjoyable, allowing the album to be a fun experience with some emotion along the way. In today’s age when you can preview songs using services like Spotify and YouTube, and can purchase individual tracks, this is definitely a band to check out. I placed this album into my secular category, and rated it: