Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Monk & Neagle: A Review

Their album was released in stores yesterday (Sept. 18th, 2007). Yes, I know…I meant to have this up yesterday for the album release, but time somehow got away from me.

I was one of the lucky few who received a free copy of the CD about a while ago. WooHoo for me! A free CD - before everyone else gets to hear it!!! I had been reading BooMama's reviews of the album and I had high expectations based on what she wrote. I can honestly say I am not disappointed.

I am one of those people who truly believes that everyone has a soundtrack to their lives. Music fills our lives; it is everywhere. When we hear an old familiar song, it brings back feelings of where we were when we first heard it, or last heard it, or where we were when the song had the most meaning in our lives. We could hear a song a hundred times and it could have no impact. But, the 101st time could affect you in a profound way. It is all about where you are in your life at the moment you hear the song. The soundtrack to my life is very diverse and eclectic (perhaps a bit like I am). There are times in my life when I long to hear songs of worship and praise; when I surround myself with rich, uplifting tunes that fill my soul with hope and the Holy Spirit. Then, there are other times of my life when that is the last kind of music I want to listen to. There are times when I want nothing more than to listen to mindless Pop-y tunes, or heavy bass-y tunes, or something a little more like “angry” music. I listen to everything (well, most everything).

To be truthful, lately I have not been much in the mood for listening to Christian music. Not because I don’t enjoy it. Not because there isn’t a great variety of it available. I just haven’t felt like it. In fact, lately I haven’t been all that interested in listening to lots of music like I used to. My soundtrack has been a bit void lately. I think part of it is just that songs have been doing to me what they are supposed to. They are making me think; they are bringing up emotions. But, if you’ve been around me lately you know that the last thing I need is MORE emotion! So, I’ve sort of purposely avoided music that I know will well up an emotional response.

When I got the new Monk & Neagle CD in the mail, I popped it into the CD player in my laptop and listened while I worked. Yup – it brought upon an emotional response – especially when I got to the song “What Soldiers Do”. So, I didn’t listen to it for a couple more weeks. But I went back to it, and I’m loving it. I’m skipping a song or two here and there (see below), but I love it. I’m finding that the songs are sung with heart – real heart. There’s passion in their voices and its REAL. The lyrics are real and at times they are raw. The sound is reminiscent of John Mayer (for those of you who are familiar with the ever-present John Mayer tunes on pop stations). Sounds similar to those of John Mayer...with more substance.

After listening a time or two, I feel like this new Monk & Neagle CD is re-charging my soul just a bit. And that is priceless. Who couldn’t use a bit of a re-charge once in a while (or every day)? After several spins in my CD player, I am finding myself drawn to 4 songs in particular. The followings songs are getting a lot of play "Beautiful You", "The Twenty-First Time", "Wonderful Angel", and "Yours Forever".

I have listed the songs below, and for some of them I’ve added just a little description.

The CD is in stores NOW. Check them out. Their voices are so new to me still, but from the very first listen they sounded like old familiar friends. Click on the name of their album to go to their webpage to check them out and take a listen or two.

Monk & Neagle
The Twenty-First Time

Beautiful You
A song very reminiscent of John Mayer; it’s a true love song…to the Lord.

The Twenty-First Time
I think this is my favorite song on the album. It is a song for the “forgotten souls” in our communities.

Halleluja, Jesus
A true worship song, in every sense. It is sung with passion and intense feeling.

Stars Would Fall

What Soldiers Do
This song is beautiful…and heartfelt…but I could only listen to it once. I skipped over it every other time it started. The pain of missing Z during war and thinking he might have to head off again to war is way too raw in this particular soul. This song was so painful for me to listen to. But, to be honest, anything that explores the emotional aspect of this subject is painful for me still. For those of you who have been through the pain of saying goodbye to a loved one who is heading off to war, you will relate to this song, and it will give you a rush of emotions (which you may or may not need). For those of you who have not experienced this, then perhaps it will help you relate a little bit to your fellow country-men who have to deal with war in a real and tangible way. It is a magnificent song – I just can’t bring myself to listen to it.

Yours Forever
A song with a great beat! I could listen to it all day.

More Than That
Another song that reminds me a bit of the sound of John Mayer. With some great symphony back-up.

Wonderful Angel
Another song with a good beat. Uplifting, encouraging, and beautiful; with
some mandolin accompaniment. Gotta love a song with a mandolin!

More John Mayer-y sounds. Another beautiful love song.

Into Orbit
A song with a heavier, Pop-ier sound.

What Soldiers Do (Remix)
See “What Soldiers Do” above; but with mandolin…and maybe a bit faster. I
kind of like this version better….

To check out a fantastic interview with the boys of Monk & Neagle on BooMama's blog, click here and here.


Leslie said...

Very cool--I'm going to have to check that out!

Amy said...

Hey Bingaling- Reading your blog, especially this entry, reminds me of our college days listening to music together. I especially remember the Chris and Johnny concerts. Since I feel very similarly about music, I am definitely going to check these guys out. I'm really enjoying your blog, by the way. I wish I knew how to make your journey easier, but you hang in there. Parenting brings some of the toughest times, but also more joys than you ever could imagine!