Review Time!

By Tim Butler | Posted at 7:37 PM

Okay, in the last six weeks, I've seen probably four or five full length movies (that'd probably be three more than I saw in 2002) and I've added some new CD's to my collection. It's about time for a review or two. The movies will have to wait. I'd like to use this entry to discuss Divine Discontent, the new CD from Sixpence None the Richer.

Many people know who Sixpence is, even if they don't know the name. Most likely, unless you lived in a cave during 1999, you have heard their hit “Kiss Me.” If so, you're probably wondering why I wouldn't be interested in a band with a bit more depth. Well, the thing that few people realize is that Kiss Me was simply a light intermission between a much more serious set of tracks on the CD it comes from. Hardly a light and airy band, Sixpence's speciality is deep, reflective lyrics.

Also, while the band is pretty much mainstream, there is a good reason why you'll find Divine Discontent at your local Christian bookstore — two of the songs offer direct praise and worship to God, and much of the rest of the CD is, at the least, full of Christian influence. That's one of the great things about SPNTR, from the beginning in 1993, they have blended secular and CCM into something like the musical representation of how Christians should be (that is, not light seperated into some little container, but a light to the world).

Anyway, enough introduction. The CD starts off with “Breathe Your Name,” which is the CD's light 'n airy track. I understand this has been playing on the radio for some time. At any rate, it's a catchy little tune that partly seems to be referring to human relationships and partly about faith in God. I guess it depends how you look at it.

Tonight isn't as light, but is still somewhat different from the band's normal style, it does however address one of the band's main topics: indecision. The next track, Down and Out of Time, is moody and attention getting, much more like classic Sixpence. I'm too tired right now to recall the official interpretation of its meaning though, so you'll just have to look that up.

The real highlights, however, are much later on the CD. Dizzy is great, just as it was at their concerts (none of which I've been to, but House of Blues had a full recording of one back in 1999). The lyrics look at comparison between the composer and King David, the apostles Thomas and Peter. Its a slow, melancholy tune that I didn't like at first, but now is one I really appreciate.

There is also some other great stuff, like Paralyzed, a much less slow paced song about a Journalist and his best friend who was killed in Kosovo. Apparently the story got picked up by Matt Slocum, the amazing person behind many of Sixpence's lyrics, not to mention the band's co-founder, and Leigh Nash, the other co-founder and vocalist, when they were being interviewed by the said journalist. He told them about his friend, and they felt lead to do a song about it.

Another highlight is “Melody of You,” a song Slocum describes as a modern day Psalm. It flows from one description of God to another in a very eloquent way. Lyrically, it might be the most impressive piece of work on the CD. Then there is “Tension is a Passing Note,” which is nearly as good… a part of it goes “But Tension is to be loved… when it is just a passing note to a beautiful, beautiful cord.” Based on the all too often experience of SPNTR of major tensions with their recording labels (among other things), it notes how tension can improve you. In fact, Nash and Slocum have said as much about their band in recent interviews.

The CD leaves us with “A Million Parachutes,” Matt's reflection during a snow storm (“parachutes”) of his friends that he was no longer in contact with. It's a great way to end a great CD, although we can only hope our “friends” at Sixpence don't stay out of contact for five years before the next CD.

Whatever the case, you really should give this CD a listen. While I think their self-titled 1997 release was probably a better album (I'll review it sometime soon), this one is still very impressive in its depth and blending of issues as wide ranging as record label troubles and God.

Tags: Music
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