2014 In Review: Music

In trying to be more reasonable with my spending this year, I really made an effort to only buy the songs I had to have this year. So that meant previewing everything on YouTube several times before actually committing to the purchase. Turns out that was only 379 new songs this year added to iTunes. Only, ha! Still, it’s far less than last years 517 so I guess I can pat myself on the back a little.


For the most part I was left to my own devices in finding *new music again this year (boy do I miss the days when other people corrupted me) but I actually did look this year and didn’t just rely on all the bands I already loved releasing new things (though they did that, too!). Of the *new bands I discovered, I had two favorites, both Christian artists in two very different genres than I typically gravitate toward (which is heavy rock, in case you didn’t know).


*new to me


Andy Mineo


andy mineo


I found myself listening to this Christian radio station NGEN a lot this past summer, for the upbeat, God-centric lyrics, to get me through those 13 hour workdays with a positive attitude. And in doing so, I discovered all kinds of Christian artists I’d never heard of before, Andy Mineo being one of them. What struck me the most about him, though, wasn’t necessarily that he was a Christian artist (I mean, that’s an awesome bonus, don’t get me wrong), but that he was such a skilled rapper on killer beats. It’s been a really long time since I’ve gotten super into rap. I grew up in the 90’s when rappers actually had talent and outside of the stuff with catchy beats that get trapped in my head, I just can’t get into the crap that qualifies as rap these days. But Andy, ooh, he’s actually got talent. And lyrics with a real message. This combination makes him addicting to me. If you haven’t heard of Andy Mineo, he’s definitely worth the listen. Click HERE!


Citizens & Saints


citizens and saints


This is another band I discovered thanks to NGEN and my first taste of them was this 80’s-esque track that was impossible not to bounce along to. Upon further research, I found myself buying everything they had online and loving so much of it equally that there are 5 Citizen & Saints tracks in my top 20 most played tracks this year. Even their Christmas album is a perfect collection of songs. They’re the kind of indie band you can’t help but sing along to. The kind of praise band I wish my church had. Whenever I’m jamming to Citizens & Saints I always find my hands in the air reaching for God. I just can’t help it. It’s something about how the instruments get inside of me and how Zach Bolen has a perfect voice for this style of music. If you’re in need of feel good, happy making music, you must check out Citizens & Saints. Click HERE!



And now, the part you’ve all been waiting for (you have been waiting for it, right? haha)…. The Top 10 Most Played Tracks of 2014! I’ve had to modify this list just slightly to feature a different artist for each because if I was completely honest, Andy Mineo and Citizens & Saints actually hold the top 4 ;). Some of these are predictable, Artifex is a favorite band and they had a new album out this year, Underoath is heavy on my Dreamsters playlist, etc… but if you haven’t been following Music Friday all year and this list is unfamiliar, you should definitely click all of these links! (Fun Fact: The Most Played Track was played 478 times!)


10. Karnivool – “The Refusal”

9. Underoath – “Desperate Times Desperate Measures”

8. Tides of Man – “Drift”

7. Family Force 5 – “Chainsaw”

6. Artifex Pereo – “No Stranger to Worry”

5. Finch – “Two Guns to the Temple”

4. Phantogram – “Black Out Days”

3. Bring Me the Horizon – “Don’t Look Down”

2. Citizens & Saints – “In Tenderness”

1. Andy Mineo – “AYO!”


If anyone would like to corrupt me in 2015, I’m taking any/all music recs! 😉



– A View from the Pew on Easter Sunday –

I am one of those people who gets more out of spending my own time with God rather than attending church on a regular basis. I go on holidays though for my parents benefit because they enjoy my presence on the pew with them and I think it helps reassure them that my belief is still strong. Church is only for some people though, in my opinion, and my parents are those kinds of people (my dad in particular).

I am not. It’s not to say I despise church or anything because it’s actually quite the opposite. I am southern Baptist and my church, the early service at least, has a live band – a band that I find moving first thing in the morning. All of those instruments vibrating throughout the tiny church walls, it gets inside of you – whether you want it to or not and next thing you know you’re dancing and singing to a song you’ve never even heard before. Just that alone makes me feel like God’s smiling on us for rejoicing in his name this way.

Anyway, today’s sermon was lead by our temporary Pastor Ron. I say temporary because about 6 months ago my church underwent a chaotic mess of un-Christ like behavior and long story short – we’ve been without an official pastor since. Ron has always stepped up to the plate to preach when needed though ever since I was a little girl and while some may not be very fond of his ministering techniques, I always have.

Ron is a deep man and frequently loses control of his emotions at the pulpit. Caddy judgmental people find this characteristic in him a sign of weakness, but I don’t. I see Ron as a man so deeply filled with the Spirit of the Lord that sometimes he just weeps out of joy to be so lucky to know the Lord like he does. And something about the fact that he’s not scared to shed those tears in front of us, to me, gives him a more respectable human trait. Unlike some preachers who walk with an arrogance of self righteousness like they are better than those in the pews just because they stand at the pulpit. This is definitely NOT the kind of Pastor Ron is.

Today’s service was pretty standard for an Easter service, retelling the tale of Christ rising from his tomb after his death and it was accompanied by great live music in between the messages. And Ron didn’t cry. His eyes may have pricked a bit during the invitation, but I think most people’s do as they watch others rush forward to find salvation in Christ. It makes you feel good inside remembering how you felt when you were that non-believer changing sides. The sense of relief it brings to know you can walk in His light regardless of your previous walk with the dark. I get excited for the newcomers.

Ron’s message today was loud and physically large. His hands sprouting out with the Bible clutched between his fingers as he paced across the front of the church delivering God’s words. He wanted to get the point across and he wanted to do it without his normal emotional ups and downs. But some people watched him as if they couldn’t understand what he was saying. He is so deep, it all means so much to him and his intelligence in the matter is too much for some to comprehend. They see his mouth moving, hear his voice, but can’t grasp what he’s trying to tell them.

There wasn’t much point to this post except to mention that I think Ron does a fabulous job preaching and appears to have really tightened up his emotions so that people don’t get lost focusing on the wrong part of what he represents. Someone like Ron inspires me to be closer to God and I think he could have the same effect on our church if he was full time Pastor. I surely hope they give it some thought, instead of continuing to wait for God’s answer about a new Pastor when the answer might already be sitting in their pews ready.

Happy Easter everyone – Peace & God Bless – Sarah

Lifehouse – Everything Skit – I know this video is old now, but it still makes my skin prickle because it tells the story of so many. I love the intensity of her grappling through the devil’s pawns to get back into God’s protective embrace and then how he just throws them off of her, because God can overcome all. It brings tears to my eye every time I watch it because I was once that girl.