It’s easy to see why many secular types consider Christian music a joke. Badly produced, pre-programmed Casio backbeats and plastic saxophones providing the soundtrack to a holier-than-thou message inspires snickers and winces from even those least jaded. OKC’s Soul Williams aims to and succeeds in knocking some sense into that rightfully stereotyped scene.
Three volumes in and A Blackwatch Christmasyet again nabs a spot on the nice list, showcasing a smattering of Oklahoma artists with charming new holiday standards. This year shakes up the status quo with two themed halves — serving up dusty, countrified Christmas ditties on the Holly-Tonk side and soulful hip-hop carols with Jingle Beats, both with joyful returns.
It has been a relatively rocky road for Weatherford alt-country outfit Green Corn Revival, which has seen its share of highs (acting as backing band for rockabilly icon Wanda Jackson) and lows before an (amicable) split in the road led half of the original lineup to forming Honeylark.
Oklahoma is quickly becoming the indie Christmas music capital of the world, it seems, with yearly compilation albums featuring everyone from Stardeath and White Dwarfs to Graham Colton. So it makes sense that Colourmusic — freak-poppers hailing from Stillwater — would craft a full album of original, offbeat holiday tunes themselves.
The Oklahoma City metro has a thriving garage rock scene. With seasoned acts like Broncho and Copperheads carrying the modern-day torch, the way has been paved for a flock of gritty, young, guitar-centric acts. But nascent Norman trio Poolboy has a knack for riotous hooks that few of its contemporaries can boast.
The first single from Bruce Springsteen’s upcoming “Wrecking Ball” is out, and it’s got a lot of The Boss’s signature touches on it. Including, but not limited to: big-rock drums, rich strings and protest lyrics that’ll undoubtedly get adopted as a mantra by simpler-minded mainstream fans across America like “We take care of our own / Wherever this flag is flown.” With an evangelistic twist, he might as well have titled it “Born Again in the USA.”
Give “We Take Care of Our Own” a listen, and read along with the lyrics yourself. All this SOPA/PIPA, Occupy movement and corporate-bailout business has undoubtedly fueled the Jon Stewart-watching Springsteen into recording what an early press release described as his “angriest” album ever.
While it isn’t wholly predictable, I’m going to try my hand at forecasting the subject matter on “Wrecking Ball”’s tracklist:
1. “We Take Care of Our Own” — A pointed criticism leveled at the federal government’s lack of empathy toward the lower-middle class. (I had the benefit of, you know, actually listening to the song on this one.) 2. “Easy Money” — A biting rocker mocking the 1 percent. 3. “Shackled and Down” — An emotive, first-person drama about torture by waterboarding? 4. “Jack of All Trades” — A ballad about Joe the Plumber’s bid for office? 5. “Death to My Hometown” — A gray-hued love letter to a down-on-its-luck Asbury Park. 6. “The Depression” — The recession. 7. “Wrecking Ball” — Something about the subprime mortgage crisis? 8. “You’ve Got It” — A winsome love song set amid a recessing economy? 9. “Rocky Ground” — Your guess is as good as mine here. 10. “Land of Hope and Dreams” — Throwback to the pioneers, y’all! 11. “We Are Live” — A swelling piano anthem reminding the listener to embrace his or her democratic responsibilities?
“Wrecking Ball” is available for pre-order and set for release on March 6, on Columbia Records.