New Here?
     
Music

Performance, Death, and Grace in Sing

Performance, Death, and Grace in Sing

Buster Moon desperately wants to save his theater… and himself. When he was a young koala, his parents took him to see a stage production in which a sensational Suffolk sheep named Nana Noodleman (voiced by Jennifer Hudson) sang about ‘finding a way home’ and ‘carrying a weight’ as she gracefully performed an operatic rendition of the Beatles’ Golden Slumber. That moment convinced him that the theater would not only become his career aspiration, but his very identity and legacy in the world. Sing, directed by Garth Jennings and starring Matthew McConaughey in the lead role as Buster, aptly demonstrates…

Read More > > >

Deconstructing the Christian Music Industry, or, “What’s in a Name?” by Robert Farrar Capon

Deconstructing the Christian Music Industry, or, “What’s in a Name?” by Robert Farrar Capon

The following is excerpted from the recently released collection of shorts, More Theology and Less Heavy Cream: The Domestic Life of Pietro & Madeleine, by the inimitable Robert Farrar Capon. Below, the protagonists (Robert and his wife’s alter-egos) go toe-to-toe about, among other things, the nature of “Christian” anything.

Madeleine zapped off the TV set with the remote control switch. “I refuse to look at that dumb name anymore.”

“What dumb name?” Pietro asked, looking up from his newspaper.

“Pacific Telesis,” she snapped. “It sounds more like a skin disease than a phone company.”

“Maybe it’s not a phone company. Maybe it’s just a Christian punk rock band hiding…

Read More > > >

Kirk the Preacher and the Holy Ghost Album That Won’t Leave Me Alone

Kirk the Preacher and the Holy Ghost Album That Won’t Leave Me Alone

Kirk Franklin (thanks to St. Chance the Preacher) appears to be having a moment.

If you are all, “Who is Kirk Franklin?” then try to be less white and enjoy the following piece.

It has been well documented on Mockingbird that I was a theatre nerd in my youth. In Mississippi public high schools, math is almost as important as football, and so theatre was below the bottom rung. It was for the weirdos, misfits, and kids who were (understandably) too scared to come out of the closet.

Kirk Franklin’s Nu Nation Project was our joyful, heartbreaking soundtrack.

Allow me to set a scene for you….

Read More > > >

In Praise of Chance

In Praise of Chance

An ode to the Rapper of good news, by Cody Gainous.

Someone alert the end-time prophets: Jesus is coming back a day early. And it’s all thanks to one of the many stars of the 2017 Grammys, and a somewhat unlikely hero — he’s only 23 years old, and he has never sold an album. Chance the Rapper made an album so good that the Recording Academy had to change the rules just so they could give him awards. And awards they did give him — Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Album, and Best New Artist.

I’m not your typical rap fan…

Read More > > >

Lowland Hum, You Always Move Me

Lowland Hum, You Always Move Me

Lowland Hum’s third studio album, Thin, is out today. Its 11 tracks wrap their way in and around several different heart-level themes, but one that maintains precedence throughout is the freedom to be small. Their previous self-titled album aimed for, and executed, a bigger sound with a fuller production; by contrast, Thin relies on the musical capacity of the husband-and-wife duo, Daniel and Lauren Goans, alone.

This is a fragile place to be. As always, the music is greatly informed by the Goans’ marriage — a favorite lyric: “Andrew Wyeth, you always move my wife” — and as their sound becomes more intimate, its investigation of their relationship grows deeper. As Lauren says, the music…

Read More > > >

Gaga for Gaga

Gaga for Gaga

“The glory of God is man fully alive.” -Irenaeus

I don’t know the last time I was so fixated on a Super Bowl half time show. Actually I can state with complete confidence that I’ve never been so fixated on one. From beginning to end, Lady Gaga’s performance at Super Bowl LI was one for the record books. It was glorious in the best sense of the word.

No doubt Gaga’s performance will inspire a sea of words on the interwebs in the next 24 to 48 hours. I hesitate to add the pile of prose. But something caught my eye that…

Read More > > >

A Halftime Show Not of Human Origin

A Halftime Show Not of Human Origin

“I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin” (Gal 1:11).

Lady Gaga began her halftime show from a perch high above everyone else: Above the stadium, underneath a drone-filled night sky, she was dressed in what Variety called “an MTV exec’s idea of what Y2K was going to look like” — in other words, a glittery silver spacewoman outfit; her eyes were bedazzled with a silvery mask.

Everyone I spoke to beforehand was eager to see what Gaga would do but anxious about whether or not she would get political. In that sense, it was…

Read More > > >

Someone Left the February Playlist Out in the Rain

A clutch of tunes this month from the original “rock n roll Christian”, Jimmy Webb, to pluck and/or sever our heartstrings in time for Valentines:

Not Made for These Times: Looking for Answers in 4 O’Clock Moments

Not Made for These Times: Looking for Answers in 4 O’Clock Moments

Here’s another from our anachronistic friend Madeline D’Elia.

Every winter in the seasonal slump of dismal gray, I find myself turning to the same source of hope—the sunny sound walls of the Beach Boys.

Growing up in the millennial generation, I was the only one who considered Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson’s voices to be the harmonies of my childhood. Don’t get me wrong, my sister and I did our fair share of self-choreographed dancing to NSYNC’s harmonies (yes, you read that right, self-choreographed dancing), but I always loved the music my dad played for us more than the music of my own generation. Which…

Read More > > >

“Mockingbird Turns 10” Interviews: David Zahl

“Mockingbird Turns 10” Interviews: David Zahl

This is the first installment in a series of monthly interviews between myself and various Mockingbird writers and members of the Mockingbird community. These posts will explore some aspects of each individual’s personal story and some aspects of Mockingbird’s larger story and ministry as we celebrate its 10th Anniversary.

Charlotte Donlon: What has surprised you most about Mockingbird since it was started ten years ago?

David Zahl: Well. I’m a little surprised it’s still here. When we started, our vision was (purposefully) rather vague. We had our theological convictions in mind, and a good deal of sincerity/energy, but we didn’t know how the…

Read More > > >

(The Tide Decides) When The Hill and Wood Goes

(The Tide Decides) When The Hill and Wood Goes

If the cover of The Hill and Wood’s brilliant new record, When You Go, looks familiar, that’s because lead singer/songwriter Sam Bush and I share not only a long friendship but an affection for the work of Australian artist Jeremy Geddes. Sam somehow got permission for Geddes’s “Ascent”, part of his series of astronaut-slash-deepseadiver-floating-in-space paintings. No dove in this one, you’ll note. Instead, tentacles of fresh, slightly tangled plant-life are breaking through the voyager’s vacuum-sealed armor as he/she/it rises into the light. That’s no coincidence either.

The way Sam tells it, this record wasn’t supposed to happen. After a couple of…

Read More > > >

January Playlist

Time to ring in the new year with a new playlist (and a new article for Christianity Today, “500 Years After the Reformation, We Still Feel the Pressure to Be Justified”). Gulp gulp triple gulp:

P.S. I had help on that article (from a good family friend my favorite theologian.)