In my best music of 2006 I included one album which I was convinced would be on my list if I had it. Well, now I have it. It is mewithoutYou‘s Brother, Sister. (See also their myspace page for a video.)
Every once in a while a band comes along that defies two aspects of “CCM” (Crappy Christian Music): 1. It’s crappy; 2. It’s derivative and unoriginal. mewithoutYou are not only not crappy, they are unique. They are Christians making music that the world should envy, and, for once, not the other way around. Their lyrics are not only full of strong and vibrant imagery, but they are both Biblically literate and theologically deep.
You caught me making eyes at the other boatmen’s wives/and heard me laughing louder at the jokes told by their daughters/I’d set my course for land/but you well understand/it takes a steady hand to navigate adulterous waters/the propeller’s spinning blades held acquaintance with the waves/as there’s mistakes I’ve made no rowing could outrun (“Messes of Men”)
What new mystery is this?/What blessed backwardness??/The Immeasurable One is held and does not resist!/Struck by wicked words and foolish fists of senseless men/the Almighty One does not defend! …
What new mystery is this?/In overflowing emptiness the Invisible is seen among the shadows and the mist,/before my doubting eyes the Infinite appears in time-/the Unquestionable is questioned but makes no reply!/What new mystery is this?!/”My Rabbi!”/my lips betray with a kiss/What new mystery is this? (“A Glass Can Only Spill What it Contains”)
I’m a donkey’s jaw on a desert dune/beside the bush that Moses saw/that burned and yet was not consumed/she’s the silver coin I lost,/I’m the sheep who slipped away/we pray with fingers crossed/but you listen anyway …
I had a rusty spade but I’m not the fighting sort/if I was Samson I’d have found that harlot’s blade/and cut my own hair short!/then in a market dimly lit I come casually to pay/you see my coins are counterfeit/but accept them anyway (“In a Market Dimly Lit”)
This album is one you should not miss, and if they come to your town, go see them. I had the chance to see them this last Monday, and it was one of the best shows I’ve been to. The venue was in East St. Louis, and if you know anything about East St. Louis, I need say no more.
After two or three songs, the singer, Aaron, says, “I’m having a little trouble getting into it tonight. This area is so dreary and depressed. There are only power plants and strip clubs.” Someone in the crowd says “I like strip clubs!” Aaron says, “Well, that’s your prerogative. Me, I think they do more harm than good.” [Understatement!] Then, during “Wolf Am I! (And Shadow),” where the refrain is “One day the water’s gonna wash it away,” he gestures around and says, “One day the water’s gonna wash it all away/On day the water’s gonna wash that place away” (gesturing in the direction of a strip club). Great, great show. Too bad they weren’t the headliners.
“Open wide my door, my Lord, my Lord/To whatever makes me love You more.” (“C-Minor”)