Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Morning Has Broken

About six years ago I came across a band called The Normals. My sister at the time was editor of a Christian college newspaper, and bands used to send her free copies of their cds. She, in turn, passed the cd on to me. I was immediately drawn to The Normals. The music was a folk-rock mix, mostly acoustic guitar with a little electric dabbling on the side. But it was the lyrics that really got me. Andrew Osenga, the lead singer and lyricist for the band, crafted lyrics that quickly became the soundtrack for my lonely and pensive late high school / early college years. Osenga always stayed close to two all-important topics: the depravity of man and the unconditional acceptance of God's children. I needed both of those messages; it was easy for me to get either preoccupied with myself and become apathetic with my own sinfulness or get so engulfed by the guilt that comes with self-knowledge that I forgot about the most important part: God has accepted me and forgiven me despite my sin.

Six years later, I still consider Osenga as my favorite artist and one of the best lyricists in Christian music. Though The Normals (sadly) are no more, Osenga is still making great music both as a member of Caedmon's Call and as a solo artist. Two weeks ago, I purchased his newest solo effort, The Morning.

The album is a definite shift from his earlier solo releases. The music is much more accessible with some catchy riffs and upbeat tunes. Lyrically, it is apparent that Osenga too has changed. While still concerned with sanctification and God's grace, Osenga has incorporated those themes (and others) into story-telling songs. Osenga in the last few years got married and became a father; those experiences seem to have opened him up to new topics about which to sing. At the worst parts of the cd, the lyrics are a little confusing and vague; at the brightest points, the lyrics subtly leads the listener to deep insights - a lesser songwriter would have preached the insights at the listener.

Here are some snippets:

From "Santa Barbara"

cause I left for Steinbeck country
when things started to fall apart,
see, I've been running since the day I found my legs,
now I'm back here in my city
I hear a trumpet on Canyon Perdido
singing all my sorrow and my shame

but tonight the moon is preaching his revival
and I'm breaking like the tide to make a change
so I'm going to the ocean
I'm swimming past the pier
praying, Lord, to wash my sins away

From "New Beginning"

and I can feel a prayer rising
and I don't even know the words
still the groaning is the postage
and it will not be returned.
though we're living in this rubble
of our reckless plans and games
we are reaching for the promise
that we will not stay the same

The general theme is renewal - starting over and renewing a healthy relationship with God and others. I highly recommend this cd. Give it a listen. To my knowledge, you can only purchase the cd from Osenga's website. If you do, you won't be disappointed.


Blogger Kyky said...

I love Andrew Osenga. He's done some great things for Caedmon's Call. Glad to hear that the new CD is so good.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

i'm going to have to give this guy a listen. You keep recommending him, and I love his stuff on "Share the Well." Thanks for the review!

3:42 PM  

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