Hunter Hayes (Encore Edition) by Hunter Hayes

Hunter+Hayes

Hunter Hayes is a one-album-so-far country artist that recently popped on the scene. Interestingly enough, he has pronounced himself to be a conservative Christian: and while his music doesn’t often reference God, it is lacking in some of the stuff that secular music has in massive quantities: cursing, drinking, drugs, and sex. His music centers mostly around love, with a breakup song or two mixed with quite a few love songs. Some of his tracks deviate from this theme, but that is certainly the most prominent one on the album.

THE GOOD AND THE BAD
The album kicks off with a catchy track that opens with a classic acoustic country guitar that puts a smile on your face and makes you want to listen to the rest. “Storm Warning” is a song about a good-looking girl that the narrator sees, and it’s love at first sight, but he knows that the relationship is going to end in disaster: “[she’s] one part angel, one part perfect, one part brick”. The song itself is a catchy tune that could be interpreted as a warning to us guys in pursuing a girl based completely on looks, which is defiantly a positive message. Its two drawback are that in his description of the woman he describes her as “hotter than the heat in July”, which I find disrespectful to anyone, remarking them in that kind of a shallow, worldly manner. Also, the song says “I have a feeling when the night meets the morning/I’m gonna wish I had a storm warning”. The song never states what happened overnight, and it doesn’t necessarily imply anything either, but this lyric throws up a red flag anyway. Overall, I’d recommend using discretion on this song.

“Wanted” is a deep, sweet, clean loves song that never once mentions the girl’s body or a desire to have a relationship past a kiss on the lips and a tight hug. As love songs go, this one is one of the best ones I have ever listened to.

“If You Told Me To” is a soft ballad giving his love a list of all of the things he would do for her. Overall, it is a nice, smooth song that has no objectionable content at all.

And then we get to “Love Makes Me”, which introduces a small negative penetrating theme on the album: that love is an excuse to do crazy things. The song is one of the most objectionable on the album, as he sings about sneaking out late and driving to his girlfriend’s house to spend the night with her. Overall, not worth the listen or the buy. Avoid this track.

The next track makes a total turnaround, though. “Faith To Fall Back On” talks about how he treated his girl badly when she was with him, and then when he left he realized his mistakes and turned to God. You can tell he doesn’t quite have his faith entirely together: “These days I’m not sure if I know what I’m doing here or where I’ll go”, but the rest could easily have been written by a contemporary Christian artist.

“Somebody’s Heartbreak” is a very interesting track that takes the lesson that it seemed like “Storm Warning” was trying to teach and turns it on his head. The girl he’s singing to sounds a bit like the poem “O, Think Not That I Am Faithful To A Vow”. She seems to flit back and forth, not knowing what she wants. The narrator, however, is saying that if she’s going to break somebody’s heart, then he’d like it to be his. While the content of this song is not entirely objectionable, the theme seems to be centered around recklessly falling in love with someone who isn’t going to stick around. The message is not a positive one, so I wouldn’t recommend this track either.

“Rainy Season” is a slow, depressing ballad that worms its way onto the album, contrasting with the peppy, lovey-dovey rest of the album. The song centers around a couple (it’s not stated whether or not they are married, but it does mention sharing a house, though whether it is a metaphorical house or a physical house is not clear) breaking off their relationship and parting ways. This is another song with no objectionable content, but it seems to play into the feelings of denial after a lost relationship. It’s not a bad song, but it’s not necessarily a good one either.

As seems to be a theme on this album, the next song is a great one with a great message. “Cry With You” is a fantastic melody again centered around a couple, except this time it is a strong about building a strong love. Something is bothering the girl emotionally, and she is feeling down. The song is about the narrator’s desire to listen to what’s troubling her and to cry with her while she’s telling him. He constantly tells her that she’s not alone, and that he’s there for her and will always be there. It is a great song and I highly recommend it.

The next song is fun and peppy and makes you smile even though the topic is about the aftermath of a breakup. “Everybody’s Got Somebody But Me” has the narrator looking around wherever he is and seeing all of the couples around him and lamenting about his lost love. The lines “seems like everyone around me’s on they’re honeymoon” and “lovers being lovers in the corner booth” could be interpreted as objectionable, but overall the song is pretty lighthearted and innocent.

“What You Gonna Do” is a lot softer, and is another song with no objectionable content. The narrator is talking to a girl who is planning on leaving him, or a girl that he’s leaving (it is not clear which), asking her what she’s gonna do when he’s gone. This song also features the additional vocals of Ashley Monroe, which set it apart from the rest: it is a well-written duet and the voices are very well matched. Overall a very good track.

“More Than I Should” resumes the negativity of the album, giving us a situation in which the narrator proclaims that he “loved [the girl] more than [he] should[‘ve].” The song continues to strongly insinuate that the couple slept together, and that she left him afterwards. The song could be interpreted as a warning to stay away from bad relationships, but the objectionable content overrides any positive message the song could hold. I recommend avoiding this track.

“All You Ever Wanted” moves to another slow ballad about a man’s regret for his previous relationship, giving a very positive message of regret and acceptance of mistakes in love. The thing that he left out of the relationship was, it seems, showing real emotion. It is a song that teaches about communication in relationships from the narrator’s personal experience: without it, they crumble. A very good, inspirational track filled with heartfelt regret that teaches a valuable lesson to the listener.

Encore Edition Bonus Tracks:

The next song, “In A Song”, is another good lesson-teacher: the song takes another stance on a broken relationship, it’s about a man using music to recover from a broken relationship. It’s a song that talks about dealing with regret and coming out of heartbreak stronger, a good song for anyone going through the same things. The realtionship, as the song describes it, was an unhealthy one, and the escape was what the narrator needed. The song has one possibly-objectionable lyric: “Now I’m not saying that there won’t be too many lonely nights,” but it is certainly worth a listen and a buy.

“I Want Crazy” brings us back to the emotions described in “Love Makes Me”, saying that love is an excuse to do things that you wouldn’t do normally. In this one, it encourages crossing all of the lines and breaking all the boundaries, physically and mentally, but more physically. “Yeah, look at us baby, tonight the midnight rules are breaking, there’s no such thing as wild enough, and maybe we just think too much. Who needs to play it safe in love? Let’s be crazy!” So yeah. Avoid.

“A Thing About You” is like Bruno Mars’s “Just the Way You Are” without the unnecessary and offensive use of the word “sexy”. This song is all about a boy looking at a girl and seeing her as perfect. It is a wonderful song that leaves you with a warmth in your heart and a smile on your face. It has one alcohol reference: “an Italian tower leaning like it’s had to much to drink”, but in context it’s amusing and innocent so I wouldn’t call it objectionable. Definitely a keeper.

“Better Than This” is written from the perspective of a guy who lives his life for the journey, and keeps moving through with excitement and marvel at the mystery around him. It’s a fun, peppy song about enjoying life, and it has few drawbacks. It might not give the best advice: “getting by on little sleep and coffee cups” is not a very good way to survive, but the song itself is innocent and enjoyable. It even references God, without using His name in vain: “I kinda like it when I walk out the door/Not knowing what the good Lord’s got in store.” So it’s a great song, and I highly recommend it.

“Light Me Up” is a fun, electric guitar-driven piece about a guy who was in the depths of heartbreak and was pulled out by a new love. It’s fun, upbeat, and has no objectionable content. I personally enjoyed it greatly.

CONCLUSION

This album was an interesting mix of some of the best secular songs I’ve heard and some songs that I would not want to keep on my iPod. With only 3/17 songs having objectionable content, it’s a great album to purchase individual tracks or the entire thing. The songs that are clean are all fantastic, and this is easily one of, if not my favorite secular album I have ever heard. While those three songs stick out like sore thumbs, the rest of the tracks are filled with high quality country music that has a large amount of re-listen potential. The songs are sure to put a smile on your face and warm your heart, and if any of them relate to you on a personal level (and Hunter Hayes covers a large amount of ground as far as relationships are concerned) the songs will really hit you, and will twist your emotions towards the subject that Hunter is presenting, making you smile or laugh or cry. I highly, highly recommend this album: if it weren’t for the three objectionable tracks, I would easily rate this a ten out of ten. But, all things considered, my final rating is, as secular albums go:

Secular Album: 9/10

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Back!

To all of my lack of followers, I’m back to posting again xD I planned to return and then I kinda didn’t. But now I have a sight for what I want this blog to be: I’m going to be reviewing secular and Christian music, movies, and books, and posting the reviews on my blog for everyone to read. I feel like there’s not enough Christian-centered reviews of pop culture, and I intend to add my two cents to the piggy bank from now on. That’s all! I’ll be posting again soon 😀

Windows 8 Blog

Well, I had a bit of a hiatus, but I’m back! For now xD I got a laptop that is running Windows 8 with a touch screen, and posting is easier and more efficient. So I expect to have more posts posted from now on x) but we shall see! That’s all for now. Bye!! 😀

Death Troopers by Joe Schreiber

“He was still screaming when he slammed face-first into the bars of their cell, spraying a glut of blood through. It hit Trig’s face, shockingly warm and wet on his cheeks.”

                Thus writes Joe Schreiber, the author of the new book Death Troopers that took the world by storm on December 28, 2010. With the publishing of the Book of the Dead in 1990, zombie literature has become very popular throughout the world. Since then, hundreds of novels featuring the beloved undead have been published and become drastically popular. Even the novel Pride and Prejudice, a popular novel by Jane Austin that is a popular choice for English teachers to read with their students across America, has been rewritten to include rotting flesh and reanimated corpses, in a novel entitled Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. So, naturally, with the zombie enterprise coming to a height, the directors at Lucas Arts decided to jump on the bandwagon. They contracted an already popular author of three big-selling zombie novels to write a book that encompasses both the worlds of Star Wars and zombie literature. Thus, Death Troopers was born.

This book has both good and bad points. The author’s writing was lively and engaging, the book took me two days to finish because it was so vivid and interesting. If I just wanted to evaluate how good the book was, I would say something like this “I enjoyed the book, and I would read it again. I recommend it to anyone who likes horrific scenes and gory description.” But I’m not here to tell everyone to go and buy the book, I’m here to discuss whether the fusion between the two genres was successful or not. This topic has been widely debated throughout Star Wars forums and book reviews across the net, and the reviews are very mixed. From what I have seen, the reader either loved the book or hated it. Here’s what one customer had to say: “If you truly want to read this book then I would advise you to just be patient. You’ll find it in a bargain bin for a dollar somewhere or someone will just throw their copy away in disgust.” But another one said this: “If you like Star Wars you’ll love this book. If you like Zombies you’ll love this book. If you like both you’ll die of a heart attack because of its awesomeness!” So you see, this book had very mixed reviews. I tend to vie for the second opinion.

First, I’m going to examine the zombie side of it. Now, I don’t have much experience with zombie novels, because, as per my religious views, I do not believe in reading a book with excess cursing and suggestive scenes. Most novels from the zombie genre are horribly immoral and full of distracting language. But Death Troopers never uses a word worse than “Dang.” It is not for younger readers, as the gore and horror side of it is disturbing, but it can be read by anyone (who isn’t squeamish) older than fourteen without filling their heads with words that they shouldn’t be saying. As zombie novels go, it is very clean and a good read. Besides that, I honestly can’t say whether it was as good as other zombie novels or not because I am not well rehearsed in that genre. But I can say that, as a person who doesn’t read this type of stuff, I really enjoyed this book.

But Star Wars… well, let’s just say that I know about these books. A lot. I have, in my long 16 years, read 72 adult Star Wars novels and 10-20 young adult novels. This I can make an accurate judgment on. Now, Star Wars novels are not for everyone. There are all sorts of different aliens in the novels, different species that you get to know well. It’s a big galaxy, and there’s over 140 novels that take place within it. What do you think of when you hear the words ‘Star Wars?’ The answer is probably this: lightsabers, Jedi, Sith, dudes in white armor, blasters, and the all-powerful Force. Now, that stuff isn’t for everyone. One thing that makes people hesitant about the Star Wars books is that you have to suspend your disbelief, and admit to yourself that there actually IS a power that surrounds us that allows you to lift rocks with the flick of a wrist. However, in Death Troopers, the Force rarely mentioned. And forget blasters. Those laser shooting weapons won’t help the main characters against the type of evil they’re going up again. And you know that white armor stereotype of a Star Wars villain? Well take that and cover it with blood, and there’s your villain here. But it was still enough Star Wars for me to accept it as one of the best books in that giant series.

But the author made one huge mistake that I think killed the novel for me. It was still a good book, but this error destroyed a lot of the suspense and made the novel less believable in the accepted Star Wars canon. Unfortunately, the author wanted to make the zombie novel more accepted by Star Wars fans across the globe by including two huge characters. Han Solo and Chewbacca both make an appearance in this novel, and that was a horrible error on the author’s part. Beforehand, no character was safe. All characters had the possibility of being killed or turned into a zombie until this point. Now, we know that Han and Chewie would live, because they will be appearing in A New Hope which takes place two years afterwards. Suddenly, the suspense decreased to a bare minimum. Han isn’t going to die! That means that at least two characters are going to survive, and one of the most fun things about this type of book is that you don’t know how many main characters are going to die. Now, two characters are, for all intents and purposes, invincible for the duration of the novel. And they appear two years later perfectly fine and unchanged from their experience aboard the Purge. How are they supposed to recover from an experience this life changing and horrific? I feel like, if I survived this, I would end up in an asylum because of the terrible memories I had of the experience.

Overall, it is a well written novel that is fast-paced and enjoyable. It is a beautifully disturbing fusion of the worlds of zombie and Star Wars and readers from both genres would enjoy it. It is clean; all religions can read it without taking offense to the language. And, despite the mistake that I mentioned above, it fits very well into the Star Wars canon. I enjoyed this novel, despite the inclusion of Han Solo and Chewbacca, and I believe that whoever reads this novel will come away with hands shaking but a smile on their faces. I give it a:

6/10

Thoughts on “Stupid” by The W’s

This was actually written a while ago, but I thought it was a good thing to post.

I was listening to a song by The W’s on my IPod, and one line stuck out to me.

“We throw the heathen into a panic

As we’re bombing abortion clinics

While insisting to the cynics

They will know we are Christians by our love?”

I thought about this for a while. And I realized something. A vast majority of Christians believe that, upon conception, the cells that make up the body of a baby are a new life-form, no longer just an extension of the parent. The child should be born and raised and eventually have its own opinions on the way this world should work. In our minds, each abortion is a murder. That child will never have a voice. That is why some of us choose to participate in events like Day of Silence, where we pledge to go the entire school day without saying a word to raise awareness for the plight of the unborn. Now, I did some research, and discovered that in the United States and Canada, there have been 41 separate bombing incidents directed towards abortion clinics. Now, most of us look at these actions and see them as terrorist attacks. People shouldn’t resort to violence because their angry about a political issue. Except, when you look at the statistics, this isn’t just a political issue. I want you to pretend for a moment, no matter what your opinions on the issue of abortion are, that each destroyed fetus is an orphan that is killed by a parent who no longer wants to care for him or her. Suddenly this becomes a great concern. It goes from a choice to a crime. We Christians see abortion in this fashion. When the terrorist organization Al-Qaida hijacked planes across the country and launched a series of attacks aimed at important structures filled with civilians, around 3,000 people were killed. How did America react? We went to war. It is a very human compulsion to attack those who attack us or people that share a nationality with us.

Now think of Christianity. We see the entire human race as our family. We see them as more than human, we see them as part of a body. The body of Christ. If you bang your leg on a chair, your hands will immediately go down to grip the part of the body that has been injured, just like America going to war when Al-Qaida injured us. So think about this- every day, 115,000 abortions are carried out. 115,000 lives snuffed out. If America went to war after 3,000 members of its country died, can you blame the Christians for lashing out after 115,000 members of their body are killed? To put that number into perspective (this was a little mind blowing for me): Think about all of the people that died in World War II. The bloodiest war we have seen on this planet, claiming around 70,000,000 lives. Seventy MILLION deaths. That is a lot. Now, World War II lasted seven years. Statistics say that every year, 41 million abortions occur. Now multiply that by seven. 287 million children dead. That’s like… four World War IIs. Except every single death was that of an innocent child who never even got to glimpse the light of day.

The people who have decided to take up arms against the violence that they see occurring are fighting a war. They are fighting to save lives. We see them as terrorists, but they see these doctors as terrorists. Murdering innocent lives in the name of convenience. They are waging the ultimate war against terrorism. To them, the abortion clinics are like slaughterhouses for orphan children. If the child can’t be taken care of, kill it. What would America say if a terrorist organization planted enough bombs to kill 115,000 children per day? Would we fight them? Of course we would! The question is not “What makes these Christians think they can kill innocent lives to make a statement?” It is “Why aren’t more of these clinics being obliterated???”

The answer lies in the fundamental beliefs of the Christian religion. The terrorist organizations that are bombing these clinics believe themselves to be fighting a holy war. A crusade to stop the evil that is claiming so many innocent lives. What sets them apart from the Christians that wear tape over their mouths on the Day of Silence instead of destroying the clinics performing these abortions is that they are forgetting that to be a Christian is not to kill those who perform audacious deeds. We do not take “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” we turn the other cheek. We see the dead piling up around us, but we still believe that the killers can be redeemed. Sin is not a permanent blemish, it can be washed away. The doctors performing abortions all deserve to die, yes, but so do you. We all commit sins, but Christians believe that sins can be forgiven. We don’t believe in killing the killers, we believe in praying for them and talking to them. But on top of all of these different reasons Christians do not take up arms is one fundamental fact: A Christian who has truly tasted the love of Christ LOVES EVERYONE! We are a happy religion, we see the good in everyone and try to help them improve the bad. We see all people as potential servants of their creator. All of us were created beautifully and meticulously. God intends to use each one of us in a very special way if we let him. That’s why so few abortion clinics have been bombed- because mark my words: if Christianity wasn’t a religion that loved all of the human beings in the world, we’d be no less than a body at war.

That Kinda Girl

I was flipping through the DC Talk songs on my Ipod this morning, and I stumbled upon this one. It made me smile, because I had never heard anything quite like it before. Our world is full of musicians, and a great quantity of them are ones that produce rap music. But the music of today is one that gives me the impression that my ears are on fire. Listening to thirty seconds of Eminem is just painful to me. Because his lyrics are filled with profanities and obscenities to the point where his music just sounds obnoxious to me. It is a very rare thing to find a song like this one. TobyMac, the rapper that you hear throughout the song, paints us a picture at the beginning of the song. He tells us about a time where he and a girl that seemed nice went out on a date. The specific lyric to describe it is the following:

I took her to the Garden where
I guess they grow the Olives
She wore a tighter skirt
Than any I had seen in college
She said, “I love to smoke and drink”
While cursing like a sailor
I asked her where she got her mouth
And if she had a tailor
Finally I walked her to the door to say goodnight
She said, “I am an apple,
Would you care to take a bite?”
Politely I refused and said, “I’m looking for a lady
So she slapped me in my face and said,
“Boy, you must be crazy”

That kinda sounds like today’s portrait of a woman. The person that is described in this song, sadly, has a feel to her that we would regard as ‘socially acceptable.’ In today’s world, anything goes, so this lyric comes as no surprise. The song then goes to describe the kind of girl us Christian men should be looking for. We are looking for a girl who will help us grow in our faith, help us become better people. Through the relationship, we should not only come closer to the girl in question, but closer to the God both of us worship. We should be looking for a girl who will love God more than she will ever love us, a girl who will challenge us in our faith to take leaps that we never even thought of before. That is the kind of girl us Christian boys should be looking for. Because in today’s society, even though it is the social norm to date everyone and anyone, we should be looking out for our future, and the future of the woman we will someday marry, and wait for our princess to come along so that we can sweep her off her feet.

By the way, I highly recommend DC Talk to anyone who likes rap or Christian music. I mean, how many other rappers will say: “When I finally meet her, I’ll know how to treat her, by fulfilling all her needs; love her and respect her, cherish her forever; she’s the kinda girl for me!”???

A Thinker in Space

Why “A Thinker in Space?” Because I am not ‘down to Earth’ as some people like to say. I live with my head in the clouds, sticking my nose into a wonderful world of sunshine and starlight. Although I am very well aware of this world on which we live, I live above it. I consider this world a stepping stone to greater things. When I pass away on this Earth, a world of unimagined sights and sounds and tastes and emotions awaits me, a world called Heaven. I live on this planet, but my feet are not on solid ground. I feel a cushiony cloud beneath me wherever I walk, because I know this ground is temporary. Where this worldview will take me, I do not know. I desire to obtain a Pastorate when I reach adulthood, and begin to teach the Bible, the words spoken from the mouths of ancient men who received those words from God himself. I desire to become an author, writing novels that people have never thought of before. When I die, I want to take as many human beings to Heaven with me as I can. This blog is a place where me, a thinker from the wondrous realm of space, can share his observations and perceptions of this Earth with whomever would like to listen. For a little more about me, feel free to check out the page that says Picking the Brain of a Thinker.

Feel free to let me know what you think about anything. I am very curious to hear what you have to say!!! Comments are encouraged- I will answer back as soon as physically possible, which will usually be within a day or two, if that. If I am away for an extended period of time, no content will be posted or commented on, obviously.

Welp, that’s all I have to say. Enjoy your trip through the mind of a thinker!