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.
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!
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!
|Come To Break You||Tykus|
|Hide In Your Love||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|
|And I Saw, As It Were … Konelrad||Kerry Livgren|
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.
|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|
|Let The Whole World Sing||DeGarmo & Key|
|How Can They Live Without Jesus||Keith Green|
|Nothing But The Blood||Kemper Crabb|
|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|
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|
|Say A Prayer For Me Tonight||Kenny Marks|
|Heart Lost In Nowhere||Altar Boys|
|Teenage Suicide||DeGarmo & Key|
|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|
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.
|Who Owns You||Whiteheart|
|Gimme Shelter||Holy Soldier|
|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|
They don’t make album covers like this anymore. Sadly, they don’t make albums like this anymore either.
|Isabel||Sweet Comfort Band|
|Love Song For A Savior||Jars of Clay|
|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|
You know the story with me and the opening song, right? No? It’s in the book.
|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|
|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|