Mad At The World Brings Us Some Very Good Hope

Synthpop, it was said during its heyday, was progressive rock for keyboardists who couldn’t play. A tad harsh, but during synthpop’s nascent years, the endless stream of electric blips, beeps, and beats was anything but electric for those wishing to have something more than mindless dance rhythms in their music. You know, things like melody and hooks and all that other icky stuff.

Born during the late ‘70s new wave craze, synthpop eventually outgrew its simplistic beginning when artists like Howard Jones started bringing more traditional pop elements — reference earlier comment regarding melody and hooks — into the mix, this arguably de-evolving into today’s autotuned cookie cutter pop poo. However, for a brief flourish during the ‘80s, synthpop was a pleasant mix of pop and still-fresh instrumentation.

Enter Mad At The World. Mad At The World was the brainchild of one Roger Rose, who when not working his day job as a postman in Southern California was working on his music, and his younger brother Randy. Roger and Randy loved synthpop (and still do). Roger and Randy loved Jesus (and still do). Roger and Randy decided the two would work well together. Hence, Mad At The World was born.

Although synthpop was not an entirely unknown quantity in Christian music, at its inception Mad At The World hewed far closer to the more gritty purveyors of same than, say, Crumbächer who were far more pop vocal inclined. During its career Mad At The World made two major music shifts, first going toward heavy guitar rock and then mining a more mainstream rock/pop vein. In the beginning, though, the band was muscular synthpop.

Fast forward to the present day. While Randy has remained musically active — review of his most recent solo effort here — Roger has been out of the spotlight for many years, leaving Mad At The World naught but a fond memory for its fans. Then last year, Randy had an idea. C’mon big brother, let’s record three new albums, each reflecting one of Mad At The World’s musical phases! Roger was game, so after a Kickstarter campaign to raise the necessary funds, recording commenced. The end result is Hope.

Hope makes no pretense of being anything other than what it is, namely a faithful and affectionate ode to synthpop. The instrumentation is relatively sparse; the melodies simple but thoroughly effective. Roger Rose affects a bit of an accent when singing (hey, so does Billie Joe Armstrong), but it works within the artistic context of this album. Lyrically things are mostly straightforward roots evangelical. It’s not deep theological musings, but it is both comforting and encouraging.

When viewed through quality and not nostalgia’s lens, Hope makes a strong case for being Mad At The World’s best synthpop album and easily one of its best period. The brothers Rose have always made very even albums, but this time through the songwriting is kicked up a notch. Hope might appear to be little more than dusting off a bygone era in contemporary music, but it’s not. Rather, it is a solid, brand new testimony to the truism that if it was good yesterday, it’s good today as well. Very, very good.

The record is available here.

Welcome!

This is the revised and hopefully reenergized site for Cephas Hour on BlackLight Radio!

Each week since May of 2012, Cephas Hour brings you sixty minutes of the finest Christian rock and pop from the 1980, with an occasional nod toward the 1970s and the 1990s (sometimes even more recent than that) as well. Curated, culled, and sometimes cuddled by yours truly Jerry Wilson, veteran CCM journalist and author of God’s Not Dead (And Neither Are We): The story of Christian alternative rock’s pioneers then and now, as told by the artists themselves, Cephas Hour showcases both the artistic excellence of a regrettably overlooked time period in Christian music and reminds us that while musical styles and artists may come and go, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

The site is still very much a work in progress; with over one hundred and thirty shows plus nearly three dozen Cephas Hour of Praise (sixty minutes of uninterrupted praise, worship, and contemplation music) shows needing uploading and cataloging, it’ll be a spell before everything is caught up. In the meanwhile, enjoy what’s here!

Cephas Hour on BlackLight Radio
Volume CXXXIX
(Air Date: February 18, 2018)

This show (air date February 18, 2018) features the wonderful progressive rock talents of local heroes, local in this case being Livermore, California, during my teen years Tykus. Plus, some tasty aural delights from Kerry Livgren. Prog lives!

Celebration Day Tykus
Come To Break You Tykus
Hide In Your Love Tykus
Lonely Fool Tykus
With Just Words Tykus
My Ways Are Not Your Ways Tykus
Mask Of The Great Deceiver Kerry Livgren
Slow Motion Suicide Kerry Livgren AD
Lead Me To Reason AD
The Fury AD
And I Saw, As It Were … Konelrad Kerry Livgren

Cephas Hour on BlackLight Radio
Volume CXXXVIII
(Air Date: February 7, 2018)

This was the first (if I remember correctly) all-Whiteheart edition of the show. It was recorded in November of 2017, but didn’t make it on the air until February of 2018.

Inside White Heart
Let The Kingdom Come White Heart
Man Overboard White Heart
Independence Day White Heart
Raging Of The Moon White Heart
Read The Book (Don’t Wait For The Movie) White Heart
His Heart Was Always In It White Heart
Desert Rose White Heart
Bye Bye Babylon White Heart
Sing Your Freedom White Heart
Heaven Of My Heart White Heart
Once And For All White Heart

Cephas Hour of Praise
Volume Thirty-Five
(Air Date: March 12, 2017)

Let The Whole World Sing DeGarmo & Key
How Can They Live Without Jesus Keith Green
Nothing But The Blood Kemper Crabb
Ramah Lamb
Preacher Man Lenny LeBlanc
Beautiful Scandalous Night Lost Dogs
Little Pilgrim Love Song
God Of Wonders Mac Powell and Cliff & Danielle Young
Eye Of The Storm Mark Heard
El Shaddai Michael Card
I Need Thee Every Hour Michael Roe
Precious Lord, Take My Hand Mike Farris
Happy In Jesus Mustard Seed Faith
Suite Of Reflections (excerpt) Phil Keaggy

Cephas Hour on BlackLight Radio
Volume CV
(Air Date: August 17, 2014 )

This show was recorded immediately after Robin Williams’ suicide. It was not an easy show to assemble. Sometimes things aren’t easy.

James Lipton asks Robin Williams: “If heaven exists …”
Into The Woods The Call
G.L.M. (Gut Level Music) Altar Boys
Jenny Steve Taylor
Say A Prayer For Me Tonight Kenny Marks
Heart Lost In Nowhere Altar Boys
Teenage Suicide DeGarmo & Key
Shadows Resurrection Band
Don’t, This Way 77s
Come Away With Me Undercover
Last Day Of My Life 2nd Chapter of Acts
To Bid Farewell The Choir
Now Be Thankful Fairport Convention
Creole The Prayer Chain
God Rules Undercover

Cephas Hour on BlackLight Radio
Volume XCVIII
(Air Date: June 22, 2014)

Off the top of my head, I’d say I wasn’t in the best of moods when I assembled this show. There is one of “those” words in the KXM song, so be forewarned.

Gun Fight KXM
Who Owns You Whiteheart
Gimme Shelter Holy Soldier
Bad Place Novella
In My Time Of Dying 77s and Michael Roe
Get Ready Darrell Mansfield
All You Lucky People Adam Again
Dig Here Said The Angel Daniel Amos
Never Be An Angel Margaret Becker
We Draw The Line AD
Great Little Dancer Crumbächer
I’m Not Talking About Religion Altar Boys
Is Anyone Thirsty Undercover
God Rules Undercover

Cephas Hour on BlackLight Radio
Volume X
(Air Date: July 29, 2012)

They don’t make album covers like this anymore. Sadly, they don’t make albums like this anymore either.

Isabel Sweet Comfort Band
Dig Adam Again
Love Song For A Savior Jars of Clay
Jimmy Lost Dogs
First Snow Nutshell
She Begins To Sing Oden Fong
Thief In The Night Cliff Richard
Love Peace Joy 2nd Chapter of Acts
Red Moon The Call
Town To Town Phil Keaggy
Love Is Not The Only Thing Mark Heard
Jesus Drove A Cadillac Sean Doty and The 77s
God’s Gonna Cut You Down Johnny Cash
Advent Suite John Michael and Terry Talbot
Jesus 77s

Cephas Hour on BlackLight Radio
Volume IX
(Air Date: July 22, 2012)

You know the story with me and the opening song, right? No? It’s in the book.

Thunder Beach Crumbächer
My Mind Played A Trick On Me Charlie Peacock
Render Love The Choir
These Are The Questions Vince Ebo
Meltdown (At Madame Tussaud’s) Steve Taylor
Justice Steve Camp
The Wall Phil Keaggy
Preacher Man Lenny LeBlanc
Scars Farrell and Farrell
I Am A Servant Larry Norman
A Song About Baseball Bob Bennett
In The Garden Bob Dylan
Nobody’s Fault But Mine 77s