Tag Archive: Music


Photo by By imagerymajestic on freedigitalphotos.net

Photo by By imagerymajestic on freedigitalphotos.net

A few years ago, I wrote a post called “Longing, beyond” in which I expressed the feelings that were gnawing at me, and that I still come back to at times.  The insatiable desires within seem to point to something beyond ourselves, beyond the capability of this world to satisfy.

Not the least of these desires is justice, and mercy for my world and my family.  At my low points, I fight despair about the culture that my innocent kids are being raised into, seeming inevitable and irreversible downward moral slide of man.  Politics, economics, immorality.  I can’t very well barricade my family in to keep the bad world out.  Can I?  Should I?  I feel angry and impotent.  I am weary when I fall into bed, and I can stuff down the ache for a while, long enough to fall asleep.  In the morning, yes, I will feel better, but it is like a ratchet effect; “better” is only somewhat better.  It’s like a new low-tide level, higher than the last wave’s recession.

The original post ended with a lukewarm affirmation that I hold to Christianity, if for no other reason than, what other, better, path is there? John 6:67-68 “So Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘Do you want to go away as well?’  Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life'”

In the intervening time since I wrote this, I have thought and fought with this despair.  I believe that the problem, then, is twofold: an emotional (and surely understandable) response to injustices for which my short view cries out against, and an insufficient trust in God, who does have the long view, whose justice and mercy are perfect and in whom the longings inside me are fulfilled.

Proverbs 12:25  Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.

Proverbs 13:12  Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

Proverbs 14:10  The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy.

Proverbs 14:13  Even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief.

Proverbs 14:30  A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.

Proverbs 15:4  A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

Proverbs 15:13  A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.

Proverbs 15:14  The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly.

Proverbs 16:2  All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit.

Proverbs 18:14  A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?

Proverbs 28:1  The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.

“When the real want for I Heaven is present in us, we do not recognise it. Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise. The longings which arise in us when we first fall in love, or first think of some foreign country, or first take up some subject that excites us, are longings which no marriage, no travel, no learning, can really satisfy.  I am not now speaking of what would be ordinarily called unsuccessful marriages, or holidays, or learned careers.  I am speaking of the best possible ones.  There was something we grasped at, in that first moment of longing, which just fades away in the reality…”

“The Christian says, ‘Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. if I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed  under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same.’ ”  C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“Our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation.  And to be at last summoned inside would be both glory and honor beyond all our merits and also the healing of that old ache.”  C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

Photo by  Gualberto107 on freedigitalphotos.net

Photo by Gualberto107 on freedigitalphotos.net

 

Rank/Artist & tags/2013 plays

Stand to Reason 267
Falling You 120
Shiva in Exile 78
Passion 69
Cell 63
Connect.Ohm 55
The Lost Patrol 52
Hillsong United 51
Hillsong Live 50
10 Biosphere 47

(source: http://www.last.fm/user/jkwood/charts)

I love music!  As has been my habit over the last few years, I like to do a backwards glance into the things I’ve been listening to over the past 12 months or so.

Looking at the chart above and comparing to last year’s, it seems that I did not listen to as many individual tracks this year, and so not as much music.  However, I believe the truth is that I listened to more spoken word, which runs much longer, and so it likely works out that I was listening more this year, and not less, just different things.

So what was I listening to in 2013, anyway?

1. Stand to Reason – Ok, so first disclaimer, this is not actually music.  But since it appears in my last.fm database, and at the top slot, and by a very large margin, I think it is worth taking some time for.  STR is a Christian organization led by Greg Koukl dedicated to “Equipping Christian Ambassadors with Knowledge, Wisdom, and Character.”  Their especial strength lies in making a compelling case for the Christian worldview in a concise and culturally timely and relevant manner.  Early in the year, I purchased their three-part Ambassador Basic Curriculum which covers many diverse topics including the relationship between faith and reason, tactics in conversation (from Koukl’s excellent book), decision-making and the will of God, evolution, homosexuality, and others.  I listened to this curriculum over and over.  I recommend it highly to those interested in presenting a winsome case for Christianity.  Below is a sample of Greg Koukl speaking in a video blog on prayer and wishful thinking.

2. Falling You – Really, I’m running out of things to say about Falling You.  Year after year they remain in my top ten because I keep coming back to them.  Ever since my mid-twenties, my musical tastes have largely mellowed to the point that most of what I listen to is ambient, trance, etc., most often with female vocals, and Falling You is a prime example of my tastes in that area.  During 2013, Falling You released a new album “Blush”, which, while it displayed terrific production values, just did not inspire and move me in the way that the previous releases did.  Because this album is still somewhat new, and Falling You is not very well-known, I could not find a video link for songs the new album.  You can listen to the release on their website, or see below for a video featuring a song from an earlier release.

3. Shiva in Exile – This band is one which I have been listening to off-and-on since I discovered them in 2011.  I fell instantly in love with the electronic-middle eastern fusion in sound.  I listened to them quite a bit this year, and so they appear in position three in my charts for the year.

4. Passion – “Passion” is the name of the worship albums performed by a  collaboration of several Christian musicians, including Chris TomlinDavid Crowder BandMatt RedmanSteve FeeKristian Stanfill Charlie HallChristy Nockels and Nathan Nockels.  During 2013, I discovered their release “White Flag”, and found that almost every track was catchy, worshipful, and memorable.  I listen to it a lot, and recommend it.

5. Cell – Producing music of ambient, electronic, and downtempo genres, Cell is the work of electronic artist Alex Scheffer.  Introduced to me by Spotify’s “Discover” feature, I spent a couple of days listening through all of Spotify’s available albums.  I find it excellent music for reading and studying.

6. Connect.Ohm – Another artist found by Spotify’s “Discover” feature, Connect.Ohm has become a new favorite among the ambient/electronic genre of music.  Featuring Hidetoshi Koizumi of Hybrid Leisureland and Alex Scheffer of Cell, Connect.Ohm produces ambient music that is both interesting to listen actively to, as well as being relaxing focus music for reading or studying.

7. The Lost Patrol – Another artist which, if not always in my top ten, consistently stays in high rotation in my listening patterns.  For genre, I like to classify The Lost Patrol as “reverb surfabilly.”  Most of their songs are short, catchy, and feature female vocalists over reverb-heavy guitars in a rockabilly style.

8. & 9. Hillsong – I have combined my number nine and ten slots this year, as Hillsong Live is simply the live recordings of Hillsong United.  If you are unfamiliar with Hillsong, they are a contemporary rock style praise and worship band which originated in Hillsong Church in Australia.  Along with my number four ranking for last year, Passion, I listened to Hillsong quite a lot as I listened to more worship throughout the year.  They have produced many great worship recordings and I enjoy listening to them in my personal worship.

10. Biosphere – Finally, at number 10 is Biosphere, yet another good call by Spotify’s Discover feature.  With an experimental ambient electronic style, Biosphere is the musical project of Norwegian Geir Jenssen formerly of dream-pop band Bel Canto, and features musical loops and samples from sci-fi sources.  As with Cell and Connect.Ohm, this is great background music for performing focused tasks.

(view last year’s top 10 here: https://jkw00d.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/my-top-10-musical-artists-for-2012/)

What do you think?  Does any of this music grab you, inspire you, or influence you?

My Top 10 Musical Artists for 2012

Rank/Artist & tags/2012 plays

1
Ulrich Schnauss – ambient chillout electronic
2
Qntal – electronic medieval fusion
3
Armin van Buuren – electronic, progressive trance
4
Above & Beyond – electronic, vocal trance
5
Ladytron – synthpop electronic
6
Falling You – ethereal ambient, female vocals
7
Dean & Britta – dream pop
7
Sey Hollo – post-rock instrumental
9
Dash Berlin – electronic, vocal trance
10
Delerium – chillout electronic, female vocals

(source: http://www.last.fm/user/jkwood/charts)

Image representing Last.fm as depicted in Crun...

I listen to music a lot.  Almost always I listen from my computer or phone, and since I have their client installed on these devices,  the tracks are noted in the Last.fm database.  So, I am able to see what kind of music I am listening to over time.  For an OCD person like myself, this is great.

Last year, three things happened that had a big impact on in the ways I listen to music, and allowed my access to music as never before.  Prior to then, most of the music I listened to was from my personally owned MP3 library of about 50 gb of music.  The effect of these things listed below is that my exposure to new artists and music, as well as old favorites, has been dramatically increased, and so the top 10 for 2012 is full of a lot of newcomers to my annual lists.

Spotify Logo

First, I expanded my use of Spotify which, conveniently, has the last.fm client built-in.  (Spotify users: look for the links to the featured songs below, or listen to them all in this playlist.)  For me, Spotify is the greatest thing since sliced bread: most any song and album I can think of available on demand with no cost, other than being ad-supported (ad-free available with subscription).  In addition, Spotify has the ability to generate a radio station based on artist, song, or playlist.  I have used this quite a lot.

The official online color is: #A4C639 . 한국어: 공...

Second, late in 2011, I got a smart phone (Motorola’s Droid Bionic, to be specific).  Spotify has a client for Android (with last.fm built-in as well) which, while not allowing track-on-demand play unless subscribed, does allow radio for free users.  I have used this phone as my portable music player while away from my computer and in need of a music buzz.

Turntable.fm Icon

Third, my use of Turntable.fm continued from 2011.  Turntable is a social music site which allows on-the-fly creation of rooms in which people can play music tracks for others in the room.  This site also allows connection with last.fm to track the songs you listen to.  These rooms often are genre-based, but can also be free-for-all, depending on what rules the room moderator (the room creator or designee) has established.  When using this site, I am most often in the Trance Out room, and #3, #4, and #9 in my top ten are a result of hanging around in this room.  A sense of how much I listened to Trance electronic music last year can be gained by considering that I mostly listened to trance in a radio-station format, rather than listening to albums, and even so, three of the top ten artists last year were trance.  Indeed, if my last.fm charts are sorted by tracks instead of artists, the top 14 songs I listened to the most in 2012 were all electronic trance.  If you are interested in hearing more great trance music, check out my Spotify Trance playlist.

So let’s talk about my top ten from 2012…

  1.  Ulrich Schnauss – Emerging at the top of my list last year is a German composer whom I had recommended to me in the late part of 2011 (thanks, Ben!), Ulrich Schnauss.  If I recall correctly, the first song I heard by him, “…Passing By”  (video below), became an instant favorite.  Schnauss blends the feel of atmospheric ambient with harder-edged electronica, somewhat akin in feel to Vangelis’ “Blade Runner” to my ear.  Other standout tracks include “A Letter from Home,” “Coming Up for Air,” and “Clear Day.” 
  2. Qntal – My second most listened to last year was a  longtime favorite German band.  Qntal blends electronic synth performed by Fil, classic medieval instruments played by Michael Popp, and the haunting vocals of Syrah to create music based on historical works such as Carmina Burana (“Ecce Gratum” and “Flamma“) The songs are mostly in Latin, medieval German, and other European languages, but I enjoy the music all the same (or perhaps because of this), as for me the vocals become one of the instruments of music and further draw the two seemingly incompatible styles of electronica and ancient music together into an entrancing, beautiful mix.  For more great tracks, try “Vedes Amigo Illuminate,” “Am Morgen Fruo,” and “Entre Moi Et Mon Amin.”
  3. Armin van Buuren – And now, we start seeing the effects of my trance bingeing last year, as the number three spot goes to Armin van Buuren.  This Dutch-born progressive trance producer is a well-known and loved name in electronic music, having been experimenting with the genre for over two decades.  Armin enjoys much fame from remixing other artists, but also has won awards for his original work on albums “Shiver” and “Imagine.”  He also broadcasts a radio show “A State of Trance” with over 26 million listeners a week.  Standout tracks include “Birth of an Angel” (video below), and “J’ai Envie De Toi.”
  4. Above & Beyond – Number four on my list is the British uplifting trance artist Above & Beyond.  Much of A&B’s music is light vocal trance with guest female vocalists, my favorite of whom is Zoë Johnston.  Above & Beyond also has a popular weekly radio show called “Trance Around the World.”  Great tracks by this artist and Johnston include “Good for Me” (video below), “Alchemy,” and “You Got to Go.”  
  5. Ladytron – Moving up from number 9 in 2011, the British band Ladytron continued to impress and entertain me this year as I leveraged Spotify to listen to more of their tracks and further discover their sound.  Perhaps best described as new wave synthpop meets modern electronica, Ladytron delivers an appealing indie/80’s music feel without being too lo-fi gimmicky or kitschy.  Favorites of mine are the tracks “Tomorrow,” “Destroy Everything You Touch,” and “Ghosts.”  
  6. Falling You – If you have read my previous years’ top ten lists, you get no points for guessing that this artist made my list this year.  Always on my top ten, Falling You continues year after year to be a source of soothing, inspiring music.  Featuring a varied cast of female guest vocalists and dark ambient-pop accompaniment, Falling You is my “comfort food” of music, being often what I fall back to when I am looking to relax and de-stress, and it does its job well.  As with 2011, their newest album “Adore” received the most of my attention (see my review of this album here).  My favorite tracks last year by them include “Firestorm,” “Song of Summer,” and “Moving One.”  
  7. Dean & Britta – Tied for number seven is Dean & Britta, a band which I discovered through Turntable.fm, and was glad I did.  This group was another instant favorite, evoking dream pop acts such as Mazzy Star, Tearwave, and Cocteau Twins.  Favorite tracks include “Night Nurse,” “Moonshot,” and “I Deserve It.”  
  8. Sey Hollo – Sharing the number seven spot is Sey Hollo, a one-man project by the Swedish artist Sebastian Larsson.  Sporting a rich, heavy, post-rock grunge reminiscent of early Starflyer 59, Sey Hollo is an instrumental act that achieves both beauty and power.  My least favorite part of my favorite tracks, are the last half minute or so of political sound bytes.  All the same, the music itself is so good that I don’t mind skipping the last bit of the song to go to the next.  Best tracks: “Growth,” “World Trade Center,” and “Eighty Five Percent” (warning, brief explicit language).  
  9. Dash Berlin – The number nine spot belongs to Dash Berlin, of the Netherlands.  I first discovered this artist in the Trance Out room of Turntable.fm and have been consistently impressed with the clean melodic style of this uplifting/progressive trance artist.  Recommended songs: “Till the Sky Falls Down” (video below), “Never Cry Again,” and “Waiting.”  
  10. Delerium – Wrapping up the top ten is Delerium, consisting (presently) of Bill Leeb from Skinny Puppy and Rhys Fulber of Conjure One (both also of Front Line Assembly fame).  Over time, the sound of Delerium has changed somewhat from a dark ambient to a mellow electronica.  Their newest album, “Music Box Opera” refines this style even more with some trip-hop influence, reminding me of Morcheeba and Massive Attack, especially in these suggested tracks, “Hammer” and “Sky.”  

(view last year’s top 10 here: https://jkw00d.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/my-top-10-1-musical-artists-2011/)

Rank/Artist & tags/2011 plays

1

Falling You – ethereal ambient, female vocals 341

2

Within Temptation – symphonic metal, female vocals 325

3

Shiva in Exile – ethnic electronic, female vocals 304

4

Burial – ambient dubstep electronic 172

5

Irfan – ethereal ethnic, female vocals 161

6

Conjure One – chillout electronic, female vocals 97

7

Solace – ethnic/world rhythms 93

8

Amethystium – ambient ethereal electronic 89

9

Ladytron – synthpop electronic 68

10

Lycia – ethereal darkwave, female vocals 62

11

Shiny Toy Guns – alternative electronic 54

(source: http://www.last.fm/user/jkwood/charts)

  1. Falling You– always a favorite, been in my overall top 10 for years.  This music is great for relaxing, and I use it often for that purpose.  Most of 2011’s plays came from the new album, Adore. (Falling You’s Magnatune page)  
  2. Within Temptation– While I’ve been a mostly casual fan of Within Temptation for a few years, the release of their album The Unforgiving in March 2011 excited me about this band, as I think this is their best album yet.  The symphonic metal style is a little out of place within this top 10, but this album is really more rock and symphony than metal, in my opinion.
  3. Shiva in Exile– Another Magnatune artist (as is Falling You), this is a new band for me this year.  I have been growing in recent years in my appreciation for ethnic music, particularly middle eastern influences.  SIE has heavy influences of middle east fused with modern electronic music, creating a very catchy and unusual sound.
  4. Burial – another new artist for me.  I discovered the music of Burial through the social music site www.turntable.fm (as I did #9 Ladytron, #11 Shiny Toy Guns, and many others), after which I purchased their two albums, Burial and Untrue.  With a dark ambient sound, heavy electronic processing and vocal sampling, I found myself attracted to this music, listening to the albums on repeat several days in a row.
  5. Irfan – This is one of the original sources of interest to me of middle-eastern/Arabic-influenced music.  I finally bought their albums Irfan (http://www.last.fm/music/Irfan/IRFAN) and Seraphim (http://www.last.fm/music/Irfan/Seraphim).  I have not been disappointed!
  6. Conjure One – Continuing an apparent trend in this year’s top music, I have also discovered this mellow electronic side project of Rhys Fulber (of Delirium and Front Line Assembly fame).  Also of no surprise to those that know my music taste (or who glanced at the tags in the list above), most of my favorite music features female vocalists, and while there is no permanent vocalist, Conjure One has many featured female singers (Falling You has a similar rotation of guest vocals.).  These singers have a variety of styles and sounds that compliment the accompaniment well.
  7. Solace – Still on my new music search this year, Solace popped up on my radar during my subscription to Magnatune (www.magnatune.com, home also of Falling You and Shiva in Exile from this list) as an artist similar to Shiva in Exile that I might like.  As I would consider this a less “westernized” Arab/Middle-eastern style, it may appeal less to some than does Shiva or Irfan.  Indeed, even though it is in my top artists, I must admit that there are no real standout tracks for me to recommend.
  8. Amethystium – Another longtime favorite, Amethystium is one of those artists I default to when I need something light in the background for reading, studying, or working.  Not that this is elevator music, by any means.  A variety of world music sounds combine with electronica and New Age styles to make many interesting and different-sounding tracks.
  9. Ladytron – Having been exposed to Ladytron through www.turntable.fm, my appreciation grew over time as I recognized that my foot tapped to this female-fronted electronic (another trend for me this year) music each time it came up.  Spotify and Turntable account for the many plays on this list in 2011.
  10. Lycia – A steady favorite throughout the years, Lycia has throughout their albums kept my eager interest as the sound morphed from droning guitars and low-key vocals to female-fronted ethereal and experimental when Tara Vanflower came on board.  This group steadily stays in top rotation.
  11. Shiny Toy Guns – Yet another www.turntable.fm discovery for me, I’ve grown to appreciate the style of this group which I was initially inclined to dismiss as another pretentious indie garage band.  I’m glad to be wrong; I find that this band has a catchy pop appeal with strong electronica/dance values underneath.  A quick favorite (once I gave them a chance!)  My expectation of further growth in my esteem earns them an honorary place in the top 10.

(view last year’s here: https://jkw00d.wordpress.com/2010/12/29/my-top-10-musical-artists-2010/)


“Adore” by Falling You

Released last week by musical project Falling You, the new album “Adore” can be listened to and purchased (currently, only) through Magnatune. In their four previous albums, Falling You has cultivated an ethereal, dark ambient, sometimes trip-hop sound characterized by haunting female vocals and echoing electronic music and percussion.  From their bio page on Last.fm:
“Falling You is instrumentalist and producer, John Michael Zorko, with a revolving cast of guest vocalists including Suzanne Perry (of Melodyguild and Love Spirals Downwards), Dru Allen (of Mirabilis and This Ascension), Victoria Lloyd (of Claire Voyant and Mono Chrome), Aimee Page (of Vishnu’s Secret), Anji Bee (of Lovespirals), Kirsty Hawkshaw, Sara Ayers, Erica Mulkey (AKA Unwoman), Amanda Kramer (of The Golden Palominos), Shikhee (of Android Lust), Krista Tortora (of Full Blown Kirk), and Jennifer McPeak (the original band vocalist from Mercy). They are known for haunting, ethereal, emotive ambient-pop, best heard when the moon is high and the atmosphere serene. ”

In this, their fifth full length album release, Falling You expands their sound towards a slightly harder edge.  Their sound is still recognizable, yet adds a more structured feel that may be more casually accessible to new listeners.  From this album’s page on Magnatune:

“Adore finds ‘Falling You’ exploring a more optimistic, rock-oriented motif. Though the ethereal / ambient base is still there, the music ranges from ambient, to jangly shoegaze, to melodic space-rock, to dream-pop and finally back to ambient. The concept is a simple one – life is a varied and wonderful thing, and though it’s trials can weigh heavily on us, it’s tribulations can lift our hearts. ‘Adore’ is about exploring the more optimistic side of emotional music and this gift called life.”

Before listening to the album, upon reading this description, I confess to feeling a bit disappointed, as the floating, dreamy soundscapes created by the haunting vocals and minimal accompaniment of their previous releases were what I treasured about their music.  I was concerned that expanded instrumental support would change the feel and appeal of the music.  However, based on prior experience, I was more than willing to give it a listen; indeed, if Magnatune had not had the album streaming for preview, I would probably still have bought it unheard. Tentative as I was, “Adore” hooked me from the first sampling, and it has grown on me steadily these ten or twelve times which I have since listened through.  It seems more that the heavier instrumental accompaniment make the music more rich and lush and enhance rather than obscure or detract from the vocals.  Some of my favorite tracks so far are “Firestorm,” “Adore,” “Song of Summer,” and “Moving One.”

If the descriptions of the music style or of this album have interested you, I recommend you sample their music and support this artist!  You can also listen to this album (and their others) on Spotify: <iframe src=”https://embed.spotify.com/?uri=spotify:album:6nPR6Dq0xKySbWH5gkSpkf&#8221; width=”300″ height=”380″ frameborder=”0″ allowtransparency=”true”>

Longing, beyond

“The loneliest moment in life is when you have just experienced that which you thought would deliver the ultimate, and it has just let you down.” – Ravi Zacharias

“When the music’s over, turn out the light.” – The Doors

What do you do when your cherished fantasies dissolve, or resolve into unsatisfying reality?

What are we living for when our “ultimate” fails to live up to expectations and lets us down?

What hope do you cling to when the concept that you find so compelling and important is disregarded by those who need it most?

How do you handle the realization that you cannot change the world, and your spit in the ocean feels so insignificant?

What happens when the acquisition of knowledge fails to satisfy or give enough answers?

What do you do when your youth and beauty fade, and you are left, mid-life, looking backwards?

What happens when sex does not completely fulfill the intimate longing, when the promises of romance fail or only partly deliver?

When the euphoria of music leaves you looking beyond, what then?

When the temporary satiation of an addiction leaves you feeling spent and used, and the effects diminished, how do you deal handle the disappointment?

What is the next level, the further hope beyond what has let us down so far, that we cling to as the “real” ultimate?  Can we afford to let ourselves hope again?

Do we fall back on the safe, “second string” hopes and dreams we’ve been settling for all along?

Do we collapse into pessimistic fatalism, avoiding dreams and the crushing despair of their dissolution?

How do we deal with the despair of a life of days in a high-walled rut of rote and routine? Would we even have the will and energy to try to break out? How do we resist the hypnosis by the tunnel on the lonely road of despair?

Is it even possible to stop dreaming? Some of our hopes and fantasies are not articulated in our consciousness until we realize they are out of reach. We seem to be built to dream.

I know the Christian answer: the hole left by collapsed dreams, hopes, and fantasies is God-shaped, and anything else that promises to fill it is a counterfeit, a sin, and/or a misapplication of some “good” that isn’t meant to be so glorified. I allegedly believe this, but don’t do well applying it, as I reach for things in sight and place my hopes of fulfillment in them.

Is there no good in this world in which to reach for or dream about? “The Lust, the Flesh, the Eyes, and the Pride of life, drain the life right out of me.” (77s paraphrase of 1 John 2:16)

Maybe this is what is meant by “coming to the end of yourself.”

So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”  Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life”  John 6:67-68

 

Edit: See here for my response to this post.

http://www.last.fm/user/jkwood/charts?rangetype=year&subtype=artists
1 Falling You (ethereal ambient female vocalist)
2 The Lost Patrol (female fronted reverb surfabilly )
3 Lisa Gerrard (ethereal ambient female vocalist)
4 Arcana (darkwave ambient female vocalist)
5 Narsilion (darkwave midieval-fusion female vocalist)
6 Dark Muse (experimental ambient)
7 Saviour Machine (epic goth rock)
8 Tearwave (dream pop female vocalist)
9 Sidewaytown (shoegaze alt-rock)
10 Howard Shore (soundtrack)
Think of 20 albums that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life or the way you looked at it. They sucked you in and took you over for days, weeks, months, years. These are the albums that you can use to identify time, places, people, emotions. These are the albums that no matter what they were thought of musically shaped your world.
(Not in order of preference)

1. The Phantom of the Opera (Andrew Lloyd Webber)
2. Wish (The Cure)
3. The Best of the Doors (The Doors)
4. Fallen (Evanescence)
5. Live Through This (Hole)
6. Man of Colours (Icehouse)
7. The Grape Prophet (Lifesavers Underground)
8. Estrella (Lycia)
9. So Tonight That I Might See (Mazzy Star)
10. Black (Metallica)
11. Another World (Paul Oakenfold)
12. Beat the System (Petra)
13. The Wall (Pink Floyd)
14. Mercury (The Prayer Chain)
15. Saviour Machine (Saviour Machine)
16. Silver (Starflyer 59)
17. Meltdown (Steve Taylor)
18. To Hell With The Devil (Stryper)
19. Achtung Baby (U2)
20. War (U2)