Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Something New Under the Son

By Larry Norman

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This album is simply the best underappreciated Christian album ever. Why is it so good?

Because the story is so true to life. This isn’t just about some teenage angst or existential malaise. Rather, it is about a young man who has been rejected by his family, and through misunderstanding and depression finds himself separated from all humanity. But in attempting to commit suicide, he finds God is his true father and he goes through a true conversion. This album is less evangelistic than just telling the story of one individual, helping us see both his wrong thinking and his true hope.

Because it is a truly classic rock album. The best of classic rock—Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton, for example—is simply electrified blues. Something New is in that tradition of classic rock: raw versions of some classic blues tunes and the invention of new blues songs. Every time I listen to the album I get pumped up and excited. It’s a garage-band sound that is full of energy and power.

Because humor strikes home when you least expect it. Just as the album begins to really get serious, that’s when Norman throws in his funniest lines, just like in the best blues traditions. “Papa broke his glasses when he fell down drunk—tried to drown a kitty-cat, turned out to be a skunk.” It’s not just the humor itself, but the way it’s expressed, to let us in on the joke in a sly way. It is the darkest album with a truly funny side that makes this the most rare of Christian albums.

If you are tired of your Christian albums being full of clichés you’ve heard a million times, with over-produced packaging for the broadest possible audience, and you like rock/blues, please check this album out. You’ll thank me.

Oh, and check out Rez Band too. They rock.

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