Arimathea
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In Greek mythology, the muses were the daughters of Zeus the king of the gods and Mnemosyne the goddess of memory. The muses inspired men to create what we commonly call the fine arts. In this digital realm, you will find music of both high and low culture, from literature to the visual arts to what we narrowly call music in English. Enjoy and be grateful for being human; for the muses have richly blessed our race.
Monday, August 31, A.D. 2009
I Can’t Stand Losing You

Here is the last song from The Police that I’ll post, at least for a while. It is “I Can’t Stand Losing You” from Outlandos d’Amour.

Nothing captures the essence of popular music more than adolescent whining about suicide—though later incarnations of the theme are more disturbing, like Metallica’s “Fade to Black” and, more recently, Blink 182’s “Adam’s Song.” Though, is anything as creepy as “The End” by The Doors?

Posted by Joseph on Monday, August 31, Anno Domini 2009
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Sunday, August 30, A.D. 2009
Every Breath You Take

Here is the biggest hit from The Police, “Every Breath You Take,” from Synchronicity.

On Wikipedia, the song’s article states that Sting was disturbed that many people found the song to be a simple love song. Such is surprising, but it reconfirms my experience in talking to people about song lyrics. Most people, it appears, do not really reflect upon song lyrics, even if they can sing such songs by heart. It is astounding.

Anyway, the song is a melancholy rock classic.

Posted by Joseph on Sunday, August 30, Anno Domini 2009
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Saturday, August 29, A.D. 2009
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic

Here is another popular song from The Police, “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,” from Ghost in the Machine.

I am not sure whether the video comes across as exploitative, S.W.P.L. multiculti avant la lettre, or perhaps both simultaneously.

Posted by Joseph on Saturday, August 29, Anno Domini 2009
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Friday, August 28, A.D. 2009
Message in a Bottle

White guys, reggae, and New Wave—The Police was an interesting band. Here is one of their hits, “Message in a Bottle,” from Reggatta de Blanc.

A goofy video, but Stewart Copeland is fun to watch. Chair drumming? You know that you’ve done it in private!

Posted by Joseph on Friday, August 28, Anno Domini 2009
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Sunday, August 23, A.D. 2009
How Great Thou Art

My favorite Protestant hymn is probably “How Great Thou Art.” According to the Wikipedia article, the song is pretty recent (even for Protestant tunes), having been written by a Swede, Carl Gustav Boberg, in A.D. 1885. Wiki states that Billy Graham’s crusades popularized the song, though I wonder how well it was known in American Protestant circles before the late 1940’s.

Here is the hymn performed at the Royal Albert Hall:

I particularly like the doxastic and cosmological elements in the song.

Posted by Joseph on Sunday, August 23, Anno Domini 2009
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Saturday, August 22, A.D. 2009
Luckenbach, Texas

I do not like contemporary country music much, but I like a bit of the old stuff. I suppose that I heard so much of it growing up that I had to develop a taste for it.

Here is “Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)” by Waylon Jennings.

Jennings had a wonderfully masculine, country voice with its quintessential honky richness.

Posted by Joseph on Saturday, August 22, Anno Domini 2009
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Thursday, August 20, A.D. 2009
Mercury, the Winged Messenger

I have already mentioned my admiration for Gustav Holst’s Planets suite in “Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity.” Below is “Mercury, the Winged Messenger” by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Richard Hickox.

I am not sure whether “Mercury” is my second favorite movement from The Planets, but it is a contender.

Posted by Joseph on Thursday, August 20, Anno Domini 2009
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Sunday, August 2, A.D. 2009
Fecioara Curata

Knowing my love for “O Pure Virgin,” my friend Andrew sent me several links to the hymn in various languages. It is lovely to hear the inspired song by Saint Nectarius in so many tongues.

My favorite version that he sent is the Romanian—“Fecioară Curată”; the choir is magnificent.

These Romanian men do justice to the hymn. I imagine that eternity sounds a little bit like their music. I often think such about works that elevate the soul.

As a related tangent, I wish to encourage you to read Tolkien’s Ainulindalë from The Silmarillion. For it is about eternity expressed in music. In Tolkien’s myth, the world’s creation happens through musical composition. As the cosmos is the expression of that which is beyond being, it seems as though Tolkien understood how fitting an image harmony is as a reflection—or echo—of the eternal and divine.

What a beautiful man; his mind’s eye beheld the world well. May his memory be eternal!

Getting back to our hymn, Andrew was particularly impressed by the Korean version. I do not know much about East Asian music, but I can tell that traditional Oriental music, as in language, differs considerably from that west of the rising sun. Even so, setting the hymn to Korean seems to work well. The video features pictures of a Korean liturgy, which is itself rather interesting.

Below are the other versions that Andrew sent:

English:

It is funny how unfamiliar translations often bother me. The choir sings “bride unwedded,” while I am used to “unwedded bride.” It just sounds wrong.

Greek:

Arabic:

Slavonic:

Serbian:

Hungarian:

Which do you find the most beautiful?

Posted by Joseph on Sunday, August 2, Anno Domini 2009
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Saturday, August 1, A.D. 2009
Video Killed the Radio Star

Pop culture is fascinating. Of course, all human things are so; man is endlessly interesting. We should expect no less from a creature made in the image and likeness of God. From his most transcendent pursuits like philosophy to his glorious deeds throughout history to the quirky and mundane aspects of his life such as his tastes in footwear and his ways of eating, man is an object worth examining. So, I am not ashamed to admit curiosity about such lowbrow topics as popular culture. Besides, it is all around us.

Watching movies, television shows, commercials, and music videos from the last century of moving images provides an entertaining outlet for amateur anthropology. Popular music especially makes me wonder how it was that Victorian society could transform into the Age of the Beatles, Elvis, and Madonna. Plus, I get to indulge my partisan tendencies in wondering what on earth “those folks” were thinking back in 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. The bewilderment continues, but I do not consider current freak shows to represent the present moment. I suppose that it is wrong to interpret the 80’s through the examples of Duran Duran videos, too, but it is just too tempting. A culture that produces Boy George and Prince deserves some belittlement. But, hey, I like “Karma Chameleon” and “Raspberry Beret” just like everyone else.

One interesting example of weird but catchy pop cult is the Buggle’s one hit wonder, “Video Killed the Radio Star.” The late 70’s video is a bit odd (that woman), but it pioneered the new art. Plus, you get to see film score composer Hans Zimmer as a young fellow in the video (he’s the black suited one on the keyboards in front of the big equipment). Sehr toll.

It is geeky but charming in its own way . . .

Posted by Joseph on Saturday, August 1, Anno Domini 2009
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