“No Pier Pressure” by Brian Wilson — Album Review

Brian Wilson‘s newest album, No Pier Pressure, is doing weird things to me. It’s messing me up emotionally–really, I’m serious. Certain moments from this album have been playing over & over in my head since I first spun the record earlier this week. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time music moved me this much. Typically, if I’m moved at all by a song, it’s due to the lyrics. While some beautiful lyrics are paired with beautiful sounds in No Pier Pressure, in general, the lyrics take a backseat to the sounds. This isn’t new, though–Wilson has always had a knack for capturing emotion in sound (even in his earliest days with The Beach Boys).

Below is my track-by-track ranking of No Pier Pressure (Deluxe Edition), with a few thoughts thrown in for each one. I hope you will consider listening to this album, as it is quite possibly the last LP we’ll get from the musical legend that is Brian Wilson–but if not, at least consider giving a few of my top song picks a listen. 🙂

1. Just masterful. The pre-chorus & chorus are breathtaking, both musically & lyrically. The background vocals absolutely floor me–I can’t get enough of them. (I also love the subtle organ pulse in the pre-chorus–very reminiscent of The Beach Boys’ Love You album. Oo, & those synth-horns are super tasty.) The heartbreak in this song is palpable: “But now you’re gone and I gotta get on with my life…”
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Seminary Literature Review: Spring 2014 Edition

Spring Books

I read a couple thousand pages this past spring semester, my first at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. I made a promise to myself before I started school that I would attempt to read all of my assigned reading. Even though I didn’t quite finish by the time exams concluded, I trudged on in my quest to finish, and I finally did a few weeks into summer.

I enjoyed & gained so much from so many books this past spring that I decided to write a brief(ish) literature review of the fourteen books I got to read. I’ve given each book a rating and described a few strengths & weaknesses (and I’ve also provided Amazon links to each book–just click on the book-covers!). Okay, here we go–starting with my favorite book from the semester: Continue reading

Discovering an Old Truth — Chesterton Drops the Mic, Part I

OrthodoxyI have never encountered a mind like that of G.K. Chesterton.  He is often labeled the “Apostle of Common Sense”–but don’t let this label mislead you.  You may assume (as I did) that since you already have common sense that his writings would simply affirm that which you already know.  I thought the same thing–but I was wrong: I needed to be straightened out, to be purged of trite platitudes, to be reacquainted with the cosmos. In other words, I needed to be convinced of common sense.  Could the same be for you? Continue reading

“The Stench of Honolulu”

Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey was a recurring Saturday Night Live bit.  Here’s what’s confusing: Jack Handey (a fictional character) is written by Jack Handey (an actual person).  Even more confusing is nature of this character: he is ignorant, obnoxious, disrespectful, and thinks himself a contemplative–but he’s not quite an outright, unlikeable jerk.  I’ll allow a few of his “deep thoughts” to speak for him: Continue reading