Tag Archives: the rabbit room

Music Review: Light for the Lost Boy by Andrew Peterson

29 Aug

Sometimes it’s a couple of days or even weeks before I dig through the pre-releases in my “to be reviewed” pile to find the right mood music.  However, in the case of Andrew Peterson’s latest, Light for the Lost Boy, I gave a giddy shout and popped the album in my vehicle’s CD player as soon as I ran out the door minutes after checking my mail.  As the strings of the first song on the album flirted with my ears, I let out a gentle sigh and tried to relax.  But Andrew Peterson is one of the few artists whose musical proficiency and stunning use of lyric touch me on a level too deep to explain.  It’s hard to relax when my soul is so thirsty for the refreshing touch that Peterson’s music can provide it.

Counting Stars, Peterson’s previous album, was my introduction to this artist’s body of work, which not only includes an impressive line of music, but books and a website called The Rabbit Room as well.  Truly a visionary, Peterson is one of those creative I’d love to sit down with for a chai latte to talk music, literature, writing, and theology.  I’m sure the conversation would be nothing short of fascinating.

Therefore, my expectations for Light for the Lost Boy were very high, and I feared I would be let down.  Lost Boy certainly rises to the occasion with 10 beautiful tracks, each one as delectable as the next, though I have my favorites.  I purposely didn’t read the press release accompanying the pre-release, any early reviews, or even Peterson’s thoughts on the album because I wanted to present pure and personal thoughts on this my review of Lost Boy.

To me, Light for the Lost Boy, is a double entendre.  The light is not only for the lost “boy,” who is Peterson himself (or perhaps his children), but it is also light for a lost world.  The album repeats the message, “Yes, this word is cursed and it hurts, but God is with you.  Hope is ever near you, beside you.  And there is a reality that is so much stronger than all that you see and think you know.”  The album continually echoes the thought of one of my most beloved Bible verses found in Revelation 21:5, “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!'”

So I wasn’t too far off…

My early favorite on this album was “Rest Easy,” which Andrew Peterson promoted through a contest, in which fans were invited to make a music video for this song (see winner). Spoken from the voice of Jesus (like a music version of the devotional Jesus Calling), the song starts out with the lyrics, “You are not alone/I will always be with you.” I was immediately drawn in.  All humanity feels alone, and this song speaks from God’s heart directly to that persistent aloneness, that ever-present separation from God that won’t be eradicated until see finally see Him face to face.

Yesterday, I listened to this song over and over again, letting the words soak into my trembling, sweaty body, for I needed the lyrics to speak to my heart, “You don’t have to prove yourself/You’re already mine/ You don’t have to have to hide your heart/I hold it in Mine/You can rest easy.”  How I long to rest easy!  I appreciate the ability of a song to help me settle down so I can open myself to God’s peace that surpasses all understanding.

Energy flows through another one of my early and consistent favorites, “Day By Day.”  From the first beat, the listener is propelled into an adventure of searching with child-like faith and a reminder that we are truly “children of eternity” who are fighting the curse of death. (Lyric: “Children of eternity, on the run from entropy.” Ahh!  Peterson’s use of language gives me chills!)  This song gives a nod to fleeting youth, but reminds listeners of the promise of eternity.  Referencing 2 Corinthians 4:16, Peterson sings, “Don’t lose heart, though your body’s wasting away/ Your soul is not, it’s being remade/Day by day by day.”  It’s so hard to explain how much this soul touches me.  It gives me hope as I watch a dear friend’s earthly body revolt against her, yet her faith is strong and her soul is ageless.  This song is for her, for all of us.

“Shine Your Light On Me” seems to be a biographical song about how God’s light shown into Peterson’s life when he was devastated, sick, and in the sloe of despair.  He talks about how he “drove into darkness” and “could hear the flapping wings of every devil” he has known.  This is a place I’ve been many times, and the same light that invaded Peterson’s car, floods me as well.  Again, this is another song which I have difficulty describing, yet I know the place from which Peterson writes.  It’s dark, scary, lonely, and almost hopeless.  The light of God’s grace shines into that darkness time and again, each time more beautiful than the last.  It’s these little glimpses of eternity that keep us going in our struggles.

A Facebook friend mentioned that “Cornerstone” was one of her favorite songs on Lost Boy.  The first few times I heard this song I liked the message pulled from John 6.  I found the music “hard”—more electric guitar and less easy acoustic.  That’s why albums must have multiple listens because this song has drawn me in.  With lyrics like, “You look me in the eyes and fix me with a permanent stare,” how can this song not be amazing?  This is one of the most profoundly Scriptural songs on the album, like it was ripped directly from the Gospels.

Wow!  Andrew explains these songs so beautifully.  Maybe I should’ve watched these earlier.

Then there’s “Carry the Fire,” which offers promises of what is to come in a place “where joy writes the songs and the innocent sing them” as well as the first track on the album, “Come Back Soon.”  To be perfectly honest, this song is an enigma to me, though the mystery becomes clearer with every listen.  I will most certainly read Peterson’s thoughts on the song, though it seems like a good summation of the album echoing, “We groan in this great darkness for deliverance/Deliver us, O Lord.”

This is the longest album review I’ve ever written in my 16 years of “music journalism” (hey, I could those clumsy days as a teenager with a ‘zine!)  Peterson’s music evokes one of my early faves, Rich Mullins, whose honest lyrics shaped my faith as a teenager (and in many ways, still do shape my faith).  Peterson, a great admirer of Mullins’ work, carries on his legacy.  Yet Andrew Peterson is very much his own artist, achieving a depth rarely seen but sorely needed.  While there are many catch lines I could insert telling you that you should buy Light for the Lost Boy, I won’t bow to cliché endings.  Andrew Peterson certainly wouldn’t. Give this album one listen, and you’ll see what I mean.  But, of course, you’ll want to buy it first because one listen simply won’t suffice.

Let’s chat!  Leave a comment below! What do you think of Andrew Peterson’s new album? What’s your fave song and why?  If you haven’t heard it, did I convince you that you NEED to listen to it?  Do you like how Andrew explains his songs?  Is this the longest music review you’ve ever read?


Friday Faves: The Not Amy Edition

29 Jul

Greetings, Backseat Writers, Readers, Lurkers, etc.  I hijacked Backseat Writer this week. Amy is around… somewhere. No, I didn’t put a Petrificus Totalus curse on her and stuff her under an invisibility cloak… she just needed a break and kindly asked me to fill in for her this week. I hope I can do her lovely blog justice!

So, I guess you’re wondering who this Not-Amy impostor is, right? My name is Jen, and I blog about music and books and art and stuff at Divinest Sense. I’ve been a lurker/admirer of BSW for a while, but not so long ago, Amy and I connected over blog comments and Twitter and found out that 1) we both read each other’s blogs and 2) we have an insane number of things in common, mostly of the books, music, and Harry Potter geeky variety.

Other stuff you need to know:

1)  My day job is Audio Ninja for Z88.3 FM, a Christian music radio station in Orlando, FL. It almost seems unfair to call it a day job… usually, that’s how you describe something that you do for a pay check while deferring your “dream job.” I’m truly grateful for a fun, interesting, and rewarding 9-5.

2)  Audio ninja = I do all kinds of programming stuff to make the radio sound cool. And various other things. I am not on the air, except for the occasional snarky comment as “Producer Jen” on our sub-stations The Rock and YHot.

3)  I’m a contributing writer for JesusFreakHideout.com, as well as a blogger and a wannabe poet.

4)  Loves: Coffee, books, going to concerts, my cats, plaid Chucks, deserted beaches, wordplay, Mexican food, colorful eyeshadow, handmade jewelry, indie record stores and used book shops, superhero movies, a wide range of music, my Macbook and Apple stuff in general, office supplies, spiral notebooks, and Twitter.

And now that this is out of the way, I present my Friday Faves!

*  So… music. Music is pretty much my favorite. I work with it, write about it, never leave home without my iPod, and spend an inordinate number of hours listening to it week in and week out. I have a few pre-release albums that are getting a lot of play in my car lately, one of them being the new Downhere. Um, wow. I never listened to a full album by these guys before, but their forthcoming record On the Altar of Love has been winning me over for the past month. Here’s a little teaser review I wrote for JFH.

*  One of the the other great things about Downhere is that they’re signed with Centricity Music. And the folks at Centricity are awesome, committed to putting great art out in the world… and hilarious. A month or two ago, they started a series of web videos called Centricity U, in which Prof. Mays hDRP (aka: John Mays, VP of A&R) teaches their artists all about the magic of radio. (Okay, occasionally these videos drift into the weird world of radio humor, but somebody please tell me you don’t have to be a radio geek to appreciate it.)   Here’s Episode 2, featuring Downhere (while we’re on the subject) These videos crack me up every time. But again… probably radio geek humor. Be sure to watch all the way to the end. “Honorary means Very. Special.”

*  Speaking of music, here’s a little video from one of my favorite websites in the cyber-universe, The Rabbit Room. It’s one of the few blogs I visit daily (so much I got a little twitchy when they were down for a redesign a few months ago. at least it’s a fairly healthy addiction). Anyway, besides their excellent essays and strong, smart web community, they also have a fine roster of musicians including the likes of Andrew Peterson, Jason Gray, Ben Shive, and the delightful Melanie Penn. I bought her album a while back, and it’s a charming collection of sweet and summery pop tunes. Her new music video “Ordinary Day” just debuted and it’s… well… magical! Give it a watch below, and you’ll see what I mean.

*  Another long-standing favorite: quirky handmade jewelry! I am not so girly, but I do geek out over the stuff at ShanaLogic.com. And this week they launched a Necklace-of-the-Month Club!

Oh, if only I could justify the price… basically, for $140 they send you a beautiful handmade necklace a month. What? It’s actually a pretty great deal when you do the math, though I’m sure I can find more… um… practical things to do with that money. But aren’t these samples fantastic?

I do adore and recommend ShanaLogic heartily. Their pieces are artistic and high-quality, the customer service rocks, and you can feel good knowing you supported independent art by shopping there. Everybody wins.

*  Do you like comics? Who doesn’t? I am proud to admit I have more than a little geek in me, even though I don’t indulge it nearly enough. (I have been to a couple of comic conventions though. It’s a fun and fascinating world.) My sister Sherri is just about the coolest geek I know and an artist, and I’m really proud to say she’s about to be published for the first time. W00t!  She’s on board for an upcoming project called Womanthology, a massive collection of comic art and stories by an all female cast of creators, both professionals and newcomers alike. She’s drawing a four-page fantasy story for the anthology. The coolest part is that it’s completely funded by donations through Kickstarter, and all profits from the book will go to charity. I’m so stoked for her! Here’s a great interview with Renae De Liz, the artist behind it all, and the story of the Womanthology project.

*  I never really did get into the Royal Wedding and such, but I do have a thing for all things British! I especially love the accents… sometimes I wish I could pack my bags and move across the pond for whatever length of time it would take to acquire one. (I’m sure I’m not the only one.) If you’ve also ever dreamed of spending a fortnight or more in the UK, you might want to study this list of 50 Annoying Americanisms as polled by the BBC. Some I agree with… others are just hilarious. I especially love the wit in some of these e-mails, like #35 from Nerina in London:  “‘Reach out to’ when the correct word is ‘ask.’ For example: ‘I will reach out to Kevin and let you know if that timing is convenient.’ Reach out? Is Kevin stuck in quicksand? Is he teetering on the edge of a cliff? Can’t we just ask him?”  As Nerina might actually say… “Brilliant!”

*  Since Pottermania is still alive and well at Backseat Writer and I am indeed a proud Floridian, I thought this was worth sharing as a dual favorite. Found via my friend Lindsay’s Tumblr… this is why Florida wins. (According to this handy infographic, I am a Hufflepuff. And “Go BadgerKnights!” is my new battle cry.)

*  Finally and on a serious note, good, thought-provoking, hope-stirring writing is my favorite. In the midst of my online travels and sometimes Twitter overload, I found this little gem of a post. I’ve never read this blog before, but Rachel Held Evans (a blogger I read often) tweeted a link to a post The Kingdom of God is Like…” from Sarcastic Lutheran. Beautiful words. Startling reminder.

“We mistakenly may think that the kingdom of God should follow our value system and also be powerful or impressive and shiny. But that’s not what Jesus brings.  He brings a kingdom ruled by the crucified one – populated by the unclean, and suffused with mercy rather than power. And it’s always found in the unexpected.”

So, how did I do? Should Amy never invite me to do this again? Will you come visit my blog? Are you a casual or obsessed music fan? Did you like the humor in the Centricity U video, or just think music people are weird now? How about Melanie Penn? Would you join a Necklace of the Month Club? Are you a comic geek at heart? Don’t you love British accents too? What words or phrases annoy you? What house/Florida university would you end up in? And what is the Kingdom of God like to you? Did I ask enough questions yet?

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