Thursday, 17 June 2010

Redemptive Rock and Spiritual Songs...

The announcement that this band, 30 Seconds To Mars, are going to be visiting these shores again this Autumn I thought I would post some thoughts I have been mulling over for a wee while. Part of this is a reaction to the support I've had when I've stuck my head above the parapet and slagged off the dreadful Worship Music scene and genre. I hope this post gives some supporting evidence to explain why my views are more about substance than just taste driven opinions...

I have a relatively broad taste in music ranging from not too high brow classical, through ethnic / indigenous music to pop and stadium rock. I like pieces which have spirit, integrity, passion and believability regardless of whether it is technically impressive or flawed. I love hearing a song that makes you want to learn more about it, glean what's behind the lyrics and the artist.

Now this song is not particularly original and could be criticised for being derivative of other bands' earlier work. However, there is a certain comfort in a bit of familiarity when hearing something for the first time. This song, combined with the video, is such a great piece of art that issues challenges and hope! If anything it is the optimism musically and lyrically that I find so enthralling... and the depth of what the storyline covers is not lost on the band's followers, check out some of the comments on Youtube:
Can we all get the message? Eternal inspiration (song). No stupid fashion or trends (clothing). No damn pollution (bikes). No hate (car accident). Continuous miracles (white horse and resurrection). The good and true path (all going in the same direction because they know thats The way). True life (no death and no impossibilities).
unfortunatelly i don´t know if will have learned our lesson either, with all these things hapenning a lot of people are still destroying the nature, only thinking about money.
This song would be best suited to the part where someone makes a massive life-changing decision or turning point in their life.
We are born into a world at war for our hearts, and we are desperate for God. He wants us to become the "Kings and Queens" we were mean't to be. This can only be done by not making ourselves the focus of everything, and becomeing the "lesser god" that the song says.
and prompted this joined-up response:
This really does make me think of the oil spill in the Gulf. If honestly makes me what to cry. How much more are we going to punish the earth? I ask myself when will it be enough, to satisfy us selfish humans. It makes me so angry, but also at myself because I can't really do anything about it.
Here's one that suggests corporate singing still moves peeps:
i love this entire song, but especially the chanting "oh oh ohhhh" part! there's something about chants that always makes me go wow. it just sounds so cool when there's hundreds of voices blending together. =)
I love the shots in the video of the basic band, the flight cases, backs of guitar amps, it depicts the tools of the trade of a rockin' band, that's what it really looks like! That moves into images of redemption, the shining cross in the cityscape, the white horse...

Some will also be cynical of this band's rise to fame as singer Jared Leto was already a successful actor. Yet they have cemented relationships with their fanbase by inviting them to be part of the video as above and to take part in the recordings. Wikipedia quotes the band:
'How great would it be to invite the world to come and be a part of the next 30 Seconds to Mars album? There were some things [we tried] that were left-field sound experiments — using the group, the collective, as a musical instrument. We did everything from percussive expression to whispering to things that were a little bit more familiar, like inviting the 1,000 people that were there to sing the chorus of a song. And those people who were a part of it all will be a part of the next 30 Seconds to Mars album. It was quite simply one of the best things we've done as a band.'
So the chants are already congregational and not simply multi-tracked backing vocals!

This aptly demonstrates Seth Godin's notion of Tribes, where there are leaders but collaboration and inspiration are key. Obviously this band has a totally commercial purpose but their passionate and committed approach is definitely working... real music, heartfelt lyrics that listeners relate too, wonderful!

For the connoisseurs of amazing recording detail, check out the vocals only version here (starts 30s).



Anonymous said...

Love the song, really love the video. It's like C.S. Lewis directed it.

Peter Banks said...

Thanks Mike... may have seen '30 Seconds to Mars' on your Last FM recently played list once or twice perchance?! Talking of C S Lewis, have you seen the 'Voyage of the Dawn Treader' trailer yet? All the best from the UK, PB.

Sally said...

love it, thanks Peter, there is depth here, a depth we are hungry for...

I am sick of frothy and/or boring worship!

Peter Banks said...

Cheers Sal, look forward to hearing how your 'no hymns' service goes!

Best, PB