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Day 226: My Exquisite Corpse

I’m still doing way too much multitasking. I’ve interrupted the rerecording and mixing of Let’s Build An Airport to contribute my portion of an exquisite corpse that we’ve got going on the 50/90 site. “What’s an exquisite corpse?” I hear you google. In musical terms we have 11 people co-writing a song. One person writes about 50 seconds of music and then sends the last 10 seconds to the next person who does likewise. Finally someone puts it all together and we all get to hear the song. It’s the musical equivalent of this…

I’m about 7th in line, and I’ll post a link when it’s done.  


Here’s the finished song – You’re Sure To Find Yourself.

The part I contributed was the 6/4 and 7/4 prog metal instrumental bit. It’s after the folky 6/8 bit with the “we can do what we want” sample. Unfortunately during the edit my part comes in too early but to be fair I was asking for it superimposing 4/4 over 6/8 (If you’re interested, here’s how it should have fitted together).

Guest post

The second part of my series for Krown Media is up now. One of the reasons Christian’s make poor artists is they spend way too much time obsessing over their motives. Here’s a sample –

So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31) applies to all of us, no matter what profession. But have you ever noticed that Christian plumbers, Christian school teachers and Christian I.T. specialists don’t seem to suffer the same kind of paralysing bouts of self analysis that artists do? Maybe because they instinctively realise that in context and practice that verse is about outward actions, not inner motivation.

Read the rest here

Great writing on writing

There are quite a few songwriting blogs out there that dispense really helpful advice. There are others that are so beautifully put together that reading them is a pleasure to be savoured. There’s only one that I can think of that ticks both boxes and that’s Nicholas Tozier‘s The Halted Clock. Check out his post Life Cycle of a Summer Song, Part 4: An Attempt at Self-Criticism for example.

Tozier wakes up in the morning, stretches, scratches at his unseemly body hair, and sits on the edge of the bed…He walks to the sink, where he definitely does not waste half a can of Barbasol by using the foam to make a giant Santa beard…Having accomplished a smooth jawline with only a reasonable amount of bleeding and crying, Tozier embarks upon the day’s errands.He …buys two beverages: Lady Grey tea, because he is a sensitive poet; and coffee, without cream or sugar, because he is a total badass.
…At exactly 8:30pm he hits the stage. The audience is hushed, perhaps intimidated by his awesome punctuality.

Visit Tozier’s site to see what this has to do with songwriting.

Lastly, and still on the Tozier tip, I got to round out the series of posts (44 and rising) which I’ve done about the Abbey Road album with a light hearted chat with Nicholas over at Beatles Songwriting Academy.

Free download: Never Be Silent
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What Is A Christian Song?






So did you try to sort the Christian music wheat from the secular chaff in my previous post? No? Head over there first and have a try! Or just cheat and read the ‘answers’ now!


 Ready to find out which songs are Christian? Well I can’t tell you that. But I’ll name the songs and artists. Which may make things clearer. Or may not. I’d love to hear your comments and reactions.


1) You gotta let go and let God,
Sometimes from the get go you go hard
It’s like, the darker it gets, the brighter my light will shine
So regardless I’m loving this life of mine


DMX – Jesus Loves Me doesn’t reveal a strong grasp on theology but it’s perfectly serviceable gospel rap from Gangster rapper DMX, who was recently released from the Mental Health Unit of the Arizona State Prison where he served a year for parole violation.




 2) When He rolls up His sleeves, He ain’t just putting on the ritz
There’s thunder in His footsteps and lightning in His fists
And the Lord wasn’t joking when He kicked ’em out of Eden
It wasn’t for no reason that He shed His blood


 Rich Mullins – Our God Is An Awesome God.Did you ever wonder why that song has no chorus? Well it does and now you know why you’ve never sung it in church. Strangely enough the estate of the late Rich Mullins has refused all offers of writing a new verse that wasn’t, you know, barking mad.




 3) Then came a man before His feet he fell
Unclean said the leper and rang his bell
Felt the palm of a hand touch his head
Go now, go now you’re a new man instead


 Queen – Jesus. Yes Queen. I know. Long before the parties filled with midgets carrying tray of cocaine on their heads, Freddie Mercury was telling the old, old story prog rock style.




 4) I saw a man with tat on his big fat belly
It wiggled around like marmalade jelly
It took me a while to catch what it said 
Cause I had to match the rhythm of his belly with my head
‘Jesus Saves’ is what it raved in a typical tattoo green
He stood on a box in the middle of the city
And claimed he had a dream


 DC Talk – Jesus Freak. In an otherwise perfectly fine song Toby McKeehan gives us and an image that could scars you for life. Does anyone really have a ‘wiggley belly’?




 5) I’m not f***ing around,
I’m not f***ing around,
I’m not f***ing around,
I’m not f***ing around…


 Sufjan Stevens – I Want To Be Well. Maybe it’s because he seems a few states short of a Union or maybe because it wasn’t a diatribe aimed at the church, but where Derek Webb crashed and burned Sufjan succeed. 16 F bombs in a row and Christendom didn’t even blink.




 6) Help me carry on,
Assure me it’s OK
To use my heart and not my eyes
To navigate the darkness.


 Hoobastank – Crawling In The Dark. If a Christian tried to write a song about what it’s like to be lost they couldn’t do better than this.


 7) I ain’t here to argue about his facial features,
But here to convert atheists into believers
I’m just trying to say the way school need teachers
The way Kathie Lee needed Regis that’s the way I need Jesus
So here go my single, dog, radio needs this
They say you can rap about anything except for Jesus
That means guns, sex, lies, video tapes
But if I talk about God my record won’t get played?


Kanye West – Jesus Walks. Imma let y’all finish but Jesus is the best saviour of all time…




 8) At the temple of the Incas
There’s fountain flowing cheese dip
Then they smuggled it to Texas
Then they tricked us with the free chips
It’s mind control in a salsa bowl
I’m not even sure I remember how I got here


 Andrew Peterson – Alien Conspiracy (The Cheese Song). Sometimes all the Tolkien, Lewis and Wendell Berry in the world can’t fill that natcho shaped hole in our hearts. Has also written a great song about a penny.




 9) Oh, satan is an evil charmer 
(shut de dó, keep out the debil) 

He’s hungry for a soul to hurt 
(shut de dó, keep the debil in de ni-eet)
And without your holy armor 
(shut de dó, keep out the debil) 

He will eat you for dessert 
(shut de dó, keep the debil in de ni-eet)


 Randy Stonehill – Shut De Do. I used to love Randy Stonehill’s singer/songwriter/stand up shtick back in the day, but don’t know how I feel about the white guy does negro-spirituals gig now.




 10) Now let my people go, land of Goshen
Go I will be with thee, bush of fire
Blood running red and strong down the Nile
Plague, darkness three days long, hail to fire


 Metallica – Creeping Death. Growing up in the Christian Science cult gave James Hetfield an acquaintance with the book of Exodus if nothing else.




 11) Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!


 William Blake – Jerusalem.Move over Lord Of The Dance. This is the most non-christian christian song of all time. Lively up Church services by shouting “No he/they/it didn’t” at the appropriate times. Who says Christian education can’t be fun?




 12) Rod’s in the closet, a six shooter in hand
A caged up gorilla and three local bands
Fluently the parrot speaks six languages not known to men
A sixpence and a quarter as the audience he scans


 King’s X – Six Broken Soldiers. King’s X started out as your average ‘Not Christian Christian band’ before singer Doug Pinnick came out of the closet and they stopped singing three part harmonies. Not even they knows what this song is about. But it may have something to do with a toyshop in Austin, Texas.




 13) So warm inside You open up so wide
You let me walk right into You
No dark, just light Your love is undisguised
I know where I belong when I’m with You


 Brenton Brown – With You. We all have skeletons in our music closets. Brenton’s from the Vineyard UK album Surrender, makes every other ‘divine bromance’ songs seem like a summer fling. The Barry White of worship music?




 14) Now that I know what I feel must be right
I’m here to show everybody the light
Give the word a chance to say
That the word is just the way
It’s the word I’m thinking of
And the only word is love


 The Beatles – The Word, proving that anyone can sound spiritual so long as you keep it vague enough.




 15) You can put all of my possessions here in Jesus’ name
Nail a sign on the door
Bright and early Sunday morning with my walking cane
I’m going up to see my Lord


 Tom Waits – Take Care Of All My Children. Written for a documentary about homeless children by the man who likes to write “beautiful melodies telling you terrible things”




 16) I used to lie awake at night
And see your face on the ceilin’
What a great feelin’ I have
When I think of how you’re gonna get yours
At the end of the world


 Keith Green – Dear John Letter (To The Devil). 70’s radical troubadour Keith Green could weep tears of compassion in one song and then make you crack a smile the next. Oh and people got healed when he sang ‘Easter Song’. I’m just saying.




 So what have we learned? Sometimes Christians write songs that are clearly not about anything uniquely Christian. Sometimes people who are clearly not Christians write songs that are biblically true. And there’s a whole lot of music somewhere in the middle.


 That’s exactly the kind of issues I’m tackling in a four part series over at Krown Media’s website. I hope you join me over there and join the debate. Leave me a comment here first though. Can a non-Christian write a Christian song?

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Never Be Silent



You didn’t save me 
 You didn’t save me so that I could keep my mouth shut

12 voices, piano, cello and cymbala with just a smidgeon of programmed percussion. Influenced by Bulgarian choir music, Never Be Silent is probably my most experimental and searingly honest spiritual song yet. Let me know your thoughts.

A big thanks to Rachel McClean for playing Cello.


Download the mp3 
Download the lyrics (PDF)

Youdidn’t save me,
Youdidn’t save me so that I could keep my mouth shut.
Youdidn’t rescue me,
Youdidn’t rescue me so I could play dumb.
Whileevery brick in this building longs to shout out
OhJesus loosen my ungrateful tongue

Sothat my heart may sing
Sothat my heart may sing to you
Sothat my heart may sing to you
Andnever be silent
Neverbe silent
Neverbe silent

Youdidn’t heal me,
Youdidn’t heal me so that I could take more poison.
Youdidn’t ransom me,
Youdidn’t ransom me to leave me a slave.
Whileall around me the songs of those you brought home
Theybreak the silence like you broke their chains

Godcan a dead heart sing?
Godcan a dead heart sing to you?

Fatheryou cut me,
Fatheryou cut into the branch to make it fruitful
Fatheryou punish me,
Fatheryou punish me to make me grow true
Helpme believe that the knife
Precedesthe harvest

Godmake my dead heart sing…

Godcan a dead heart sing?…

©Matt Blick 2011



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Day 221: Let’s Build A Helipad

Feeling a little vulnerable at Shabby Road tonight. I was trying to record the vocals for the ‘proper’ demo of Let’s Build An Airport while somewhat ironically a police helicopter kept watch overhead. As the evening wore on there was a constant stream of traffic down the sleepy street where the studio is situated, a sure sign that the nearby main road was closed and traffic was being diverted. When I got in I found that the Police station at the top of the road had been firebombed.

While it’s good news for glaziers and the Kaiser Chiefs the civil unrest has been bad news for anyone who doesn’t want a cheap pair of trainers or a new phone. I know I have a good percentage of readers from overseas so if you want to know what is happening, here’s my view.

A few days ago the police in London shot dead a suspect. He appears to have been armed, but appears not to have fired upon police, the bullet found lodged in a police radio appears to have been from a police weapon.

Local people included the man’s family took a peaceful protest to the local police station where the police appear to have handled badly and a riot kicked off.

The police appear to have handled the riot badly and appeared to give the impression that looting would go unchallenged.

Mass looting occurred.

So while the initial event in Tottenham was a PROTEST which ignited into a RIOT, everything since that point in London and beyond is merely opportunistic LOOTING and an outbreak of LAWLESSNESS. Don’t dignify it with the term ‘riot’ because it is not a protest about anything.

In hindsight the Police should have dealt with the initial protest more strongly. The reason they didn’t is that they are scared of the understandable public backlash after they shot an innocent man on the London underground on suspicion of being a terrorist and caused the death of an innocent bystander in London who was suspected of being a violent protester. Amongst others. They also failed to have quick and transparent inquiries and punish wrongdoers in the Police force. This fear of public ill will seems to have caused a paralysis when we needed the strong arm of the law.

With respect to my American friends the ‘arm everyone’ philosophy is attractive at a time like this but our reluctance to go down that route means thankfully at the moment our streets are full of broken glass not dead bodies.

Nottinghamshire Police did a great job last night and seemed to have the upper hand.

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Can You Spot The Christian Song?

I’ve just started a series of posts over at Krown Media’s website looking at the issue of Christian music. Yeah, I know I’ve touched on this before but this is the deepest I’ve ever gone into that whole debate. The posts cover

  • Should Christians be the most creative people on the planet?
  • What is the main hinderance to good christian art?
  • How do we define what is Christian art?
  • How do we judge what good art is?

You can check out the first post here

As an appetiser here’s little fun exercise. Below are lyrical excerpts from 16 songs. Can you decide which are Christian songs? Sure you could just cheat and google them, but even if you do, how are you defining Christian music? An artist who is a Christian? Is everything a Christian makes, Christian art? Does it have to be Biblical? Explicitly Christian? Evangelistic?

Leave me your thoughts! And I’ll post the answers (or at least the song titles and artists) in a couple of days.

Let the fun begin!

1) You gotta let go and let God,
Sometimes from the get go you go hard
It’s like, the darker it gets, the brighter my light will shine
So regardless I’m loving this life of mine


2) When He rolls up His sleeves, He ain’t just putting on the ritz
There’s thunder in His footsteps and lightning in His fists
And the Lord wasn’t joking when He kicked ’em out of Eden
It wasn’t for no reason that He shed His blood


3) Then came a man before His feet he fell
Unclean said the leper and rang his bell
Felt the palm of a hand touch his head
Go now go now you’re a new man instead


4) I saw a man with tat on his big fat belly
It wiggled around like marmalade jelly
It took me a while to catch what it said
Cause I had to match the rhythm of his belly with my head
‘Jesus Saves’ is what it raved in a typical tattoo green
He stood on a box in the middle of the city
And claimed he had a dream


5) I’m not f***ing around,
I’m not f***ing around,
I’m not f***ing around,
I’m not f***ing around…


6) Help me carry on,
Assure me it’s OK
To use my heart and not my eyes
To navigate the darkness.


7) I ain’t here to argue about his facial features,
But here to convert atheists into believers
I’m just trying to say the way school need teachers
The way Kathie Lee needed Regis that’s the way I need Jesus
So here go my single, dog, radio needs this
They say you can rap about anything except for Jesus
That means guns, sex, lies, video tapes
But if I talk about God my record won’t get played?


8) At the temple of the Incas
There’s fountain flowing cheese dip
Then they smuggled it to Texas
Then they tricked us with the free chips
It’s mind control in a salsa bowl
I’m not even sure I remember how I got here


9) Oh, satan is an evil charmer 
(shut de dó, keep out the debil) 

He’s hungry for a soul to hurt 
(shut de dó, keep the debil in de ni-eet) 
And without your holy armor 
(shut de dó, keep out the debil) 

He will eat you for dessert 
(shut de dó, keep the debil in de ni-eet)


10) Now let my people go, land of Goshen
Go I will be with thee, bush of fire
Blood running red and strong down the Nile
Plague, darkness three days long, hail to fire


11) Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!


12) Rod’s in the closet
A six shooter in hand
A caged up gorilla and three local bands
Fluently the parrot speaks
Six languages not known to men
A sixpence and a quarter
As the audience he scans


13) So warm inside
You open up so wide
You let me walk right into You
No dark, just light
Your love is undisguised
I know where I belong when I’m with You


14) Now that I know what I feel must be right
I’m here to show everybody the light
Give the word a chance to say
That the word is just the way
It’s the word I’m thinking of
And the only word is love


15) You can put all of my possessions here in Jesus’ name
Nail a sign on the door
Bright and early Sunday morning with my walking cane
I’m going up to see my Lord


16) I used to lie awake at night
And see your face on the ceilin’
What a great feelin’ I have
When I think of how you’re gonna get yours
At the end of the world

Related Posts: Gruesome Christian Album Covers
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