ALBUM REVIEW: THE STRUGGLE – TENTH AVENUE NORTH

This week another interesting album was also released this time by the two-time dove award winners TENTH AVENUE NORTH. The band released their third studio album called The Struggle. The album has been in the making since 2011 after their 2010 album “Light Meets the Dark” which charted at #1 on Billboard US Christian albums. So living up to this successful album was something I considered when I heard they band was kind of having this thing that fans got a chance to come and sing and become part of the album creation. Fast forward to the present day THE STRUGGLE is released and during the listening party on their site I was impressed and blown away at the artistic growth of this band and how so much has changed from their lyrical content, to vocal game and production at the same time staying true to their style.

The Struggle has 12 tracks that really fits the title “The Struggle”. I mean all the songs fit to the theme of the album as explained by Mike Donehey the lead vocalist “ In a world that’s still trembling in the wake of the fall, our hearts are desperate for hope. They’re hungry for freedom, they’re longing for redemption. And here’s the good news In Christ, we have all three….”.

The album kicks off with Shadow a nice rock song, followed by the album title track The Struggle which basically lets you in on what the album theme is about; imperfect us struggling about so many things but we know that we have hope of freedom and redemption in the Lord. Worn is one of the most beautiful songs on the album, it is heartfelt and sang with great passion. It is a cry to the Lord to restore and fix the broken and worn out, the piano chords of this song is really special. Losing the track that follows and the first single of the album is about forgiveness of people who offend us and step on our toes. This songs the band got fans to take part in and the bridge and the chorus which follows it is what makes it really outstanding. “They all chorus in singing “Father give me grace t forgive them cos i feel like the one losing”  Another song to look out on the album is Grace another nicely rendered song. The formula of getting fans to sing on the album worked perfectly i say and for sure their fan base will increase with this album.

All in all the band didn’t disappoint in this album, they have proved that they are here to stay and help spread the word of God. It is a good christian pop/rock album and I cant wait to see who wins it to the top of the chart this week.

BEST SONGS

LOSING

GRACE

WORN

LAMB OF GOD

ALL THE SAME

THE STRUGGLE

HOSTAGE OF PEACE

Sorry can I just add up all the songs on the album here?

Happy Listening.

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A STORY OF SURVIVAL AND INNOVATION

Every day we see and hear stories about survivals, about normal people living extraordinary lives, showing extraordinary faith, striving, surviving even in the mist of adversities and today we will meet another of such people. Meet Sun Jifa a man who accidentally lost both of his hands. Sun Jifa, a Chinese farmer who lost both his arms after a homemade bomb exploded prematurely, built his own functional prosthetic limbs after he couldn’t afford to buy the one offerd by the hospital.

A few years back, 51-year-old Sun Jifa, from Guanmashan, Jilin province, northern China, was working on explosives designed for blast fishing when a bomb blew up prematurely leaving him without both his arms. He was taken to the hospital and treated, but when doctors proposed he wear a pair of prosthetics designed to make his everyday life easier, Sun realized he just couldn’t afford them. At the same time he knew he needed both his arms in order to work on the farm and provide for  his family. That’s when he decided to build his own artificial arms out of scrap metal. After eight years of planning and several prototypes, He finally has a pair of functional arms.


Now talk about Iron Man!!!

ALBUM REVIEW: CHRIS AUGUST – THE UPSIDE OF DOWN

Chris August is back with another album after the successful 2010 “No Far Away” which really placed him out there in the genre of Christian music earning him 3 Dove awards. Usually especially after such an a brilliant debut album artists usually tend to slow down or disappoint with the follow-up album but not for certain folks and Chris August has just fallen into that category because The Upside of Down sure does live up to his debut and to me even surpasses No Far Away.

I remember hearing the album title track Upside of Down during rush hour which I always kick against but just could not wait to hear Chris’ new song and I remember the disappointment I felt after hearing it, it sounded like a nursery rhythm when I first heard it and then I listened again when I got home and relaxed and the feeling didn’t change. See what I failed to experience or get into was the depth of the lyrics, however my interest in the project reduced because I felt it wouldn’t live up to the old record. And then I heard the Chris and Group 1 Crew song and it rekindled my interest in the project. So I went on and when Chris started previewing the songs on the album I became a full-blown fan once again and all of a sudden I fell in love with the first single after repeatedly listening to it, it grew on me and now its a song I actually vibe to and really like it. It tells the story way too common about most of us; the story of us being fair weather Christians.

The album starts with Center of It which is my least favourite song on the album, jump to track 3 a song called Amen and can I just say that is has become my all time favorite Chris August song and I hope he makes it the next single so yes it is that beautiful. Guitar chords similar to John Mayer’s are present in this song and then there is black gospel music elements all over the song, he did justice to the song. And from here on to the end of the album is a progression of one beautiful song to another laced with powerful messages focused on faith, restoration, change and hope. This Side of Heaven  is another song that shows great lyrical depth from Chris August. Restore is a song about restoration and hope for broken relationships, troubled marriages another subject very common today, and he croons “God is God who knows how t heal, just give it to him and he will restore”. Unashamed of You celebrates one’s love for Jesus and not being ashamed of the gospel and Jesus. The album is just the perfect album for christian with shaky faith, growing faith and new converts.

It is one of those nice to have album , I have been listening to it non stop since I got it. Do I think it is better than the first album? Yes I do, because most of the songs are very likable and easy to relate to. The singing however is average I felt he didn’t really push himself on the album. He played it safe but the song writing and production has really matured a lot from the last album, the arrangements  is just amazing. And he has the most interesting titles when it comes to album titles.

So yes you should get this album, I think it is one of the most amazing christian albums out this year.

BEST TRACKS

Amen

I Believe

Water Into Wine

A little More Of Jesus

Restore

Truth Is Still True

The Upside of Down

 

Enjoying The Simple Things

One of the life lessons I have learned and I keep getting reminded is that whatever you are going through could have been worse. One has to just be thankful and love life the way it is. You don’t have to be the richest man on the planet to smile, you don’t have to drive a Range Rover to laugh, you don’t have to be famous and stinking rich to live a fulfilled life and whoever told you that the rich and famous don’t have problems of their own that could shock you?.  Take life as it comes and enjoy it, 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 tells us to be joyful always and pray continually and at the same time give thanks in ALL circumstances. It didn’t say some circumstances or in favorable circumstances but in ALL circumstances.

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I recently did a lot of running around to meet up a deadline and I found myself sitting in a BRT BUS and I just sat there looking at the different faces and people around me and then I smiled.  And as if the man sitting next to me could read my mind he said to me “Happiness is a choice you know” and I looked at him and was amazed at how random what he said was and through out the entire traffic filled ride I made a new friend. Boarding that BRT bus at that time and that day made me learn a few valuable life lesson/s (we had an in dept conversation) and I thought to myself what if I had my car or used a bike would I have known about some of the things this gentleman shared with me? If yes, how long from that particular date would I have gotten this inspiring information? I may never know but my point is that I did learn something because of the situation I found myself and because I smiled and appeared friendly enough for the man to chat me up. There is always a blessing and lesson in every situation you find yourself,  there are a number of good scenarios to the flip side of what you are going through but apparently it is just in human nature to always dwell on the negativity of things.

We really have to learn/re-learn how to appreciate the simple things in life and appreciate the life and things God has blessed us with, always thanking God while remembering your situation could have been worse. I for one have come to love all the simple things in my life and I don’t joke with them, the may not be much to another person but to me it keeps me going. Sometimes I just bask in the beauty if certain things, a lot of people mostly Nigerians deny themselves those beautiful moments in life or maybe take it for granted but I don’t. Some debate that no one has time to watch the water waves, sun set, a butterfly etc while some think it is not “manly”. Well I used to somewhat belong to that school of thought but God is amazing at how much he has changed in me, the extent to which my mind has been renewed.  For example I saw about 100 Muslims praying, their foreheads on the floor, nice mats, barefooted and I actually saw the beauty in it and in that moment, something  that on a normal day I would have just worked passed without thinking or looking twice. I actually eat food and take time and enjoy the taste of food. I see God’s greatness in everything around me nowadays and I love it. I may not feel it ALL THE TIME but at least I am blessed and glad that I feel and enjoy the beauty of God all around and i pray that God opens you up and gives you all grace to enjoy the simple things and see the beauty of his creations all around you.

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THE MAN WHO SAT ON A TOILET FOR TWO STRAIGHT DAYS GIVING A CRAP

 

Meet Simon Griffiths the guy who sat on a toilet for two straight days.

More than often we wrap ourselves in the bubble of our life and forget about every other thing going on around us, we sit on our comfortable high horses and go about our business not caring about those suffering or other things that have no direct impact on us or our loved ones. We don’t do ANYTHING to help others or change the world. I bet when you read the title of this post you probably giggled and laughed, truth is I did laugh myself when I read the headlines about this man who sat on the toilet for two whole days but then I read why he did it, and I saw the bigger picture that no matter the means he was doing it he was helping change the world. He got out of his comfortable life (with his university degrees in engineering and economics)  and did something to help others. Moral of the story no matter the way you do it, drop your pride, ego, selfishness or whatever that may get in the way and go out of your way to help someone.

Here is the rest of the story

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MOST STUNNING CATHEDRALS

I am no Architect but ever since I was a child I have always been fascinated by cathedrals and up to this day cathedrals still gives me that feeling. I really can’t explain the way I feel when I see or enter a massive and beautiful cathedral, the one that you look up the ceiling and feel like you are already in heaven, the kind that you step it and believe it or not automatically feel God’s presence rush through you. Now those are a few feelings I get when it comes to cathedrals so today I will be sharing with you images of the most beautiful cathedrals from around the globe (mostly across Europe i mean). I hope I am not the only one out there who adores cathedral buildings.

Notre Dame Cathedral is arguably the most stunning gothic cathedral in the world– and is undoubtedly the most famous. Conceived in the 12th century and completed in the 14th, Notre Dame Cathedral was the very heartbeat of medieval Paris. After a period of neglect, it recaptured the popular imagination when 19th-century writer Victor Hugo immortalized it in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”.

Dramatically crowning the heights of the Montmartre quarter, the Sacre Coeur Basilica is a relative newcomer to Paris. Built on the site of a Benedictine Abbey destroyed during the French Revolution of 1789, Sacre Coeur was completed in 1919, shortly after the close of the first world war. In contrast with the gothic style of Notre Dame or Sainte-Chapelle, the Sacre Coeur was built in a gawdy Romano-Byzantine style, and its interior is awash with gold leaf and other flamboyant decorative elements. Come here for breathtaking views of the city and for a glimpse of a very particular architectural model.

Built between 1532 and 1642, the Saint-Eustache church sits in the heart of the city, between Les Halles and the Rue Montorgueil district. On first glance, the church’s facade closely resembles Notre Dame Cathedral as it shares its large transept. The eclectic design features both Renaissance-era decorative elements and a classic gothic design. Its unfinished appearance is oddly charming.

The church’s immense organ counts at least 8000 pipes and was used by musical luminaries including Franz Listz and Berlioz to compose many of their key works. Concerts continue to be held regularly at the church to this day.

Las Lajas Sanctuary is a basilica church located in the southern Colombian Department of Nariño, municipality of Ipiales and built inside the canyon of the Guaitara River.

The cathedral is of gothic revival architecture and was built from January 1, 1916 to August 20, 1949, with donations from local churchgoers, replacing an old nineteenth-century chapel. The name Laja comes from the name of a type of flat sedimentary rock similar to floor tiles found in the Andes Mountains. There was a claim that in one such stone, an apparition of the Virgin Mary was seen.

One of the most beautiful cathedrals I have seen lies in the heart of Milan….The Duomo. Its vast, eerie-aired open spaces create a very mysterious and ominous atmosphere.

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Perfectly Imperfect – Elle Varner

I have been a fan of Elle Varner for a long time, I have been following her project and I am happy to see her dreams come true finally. I remember when I first listened to a song by her called Welcome Home and then So Fly I liked her instantly her vocals were/are as raw and natural as the come and no studio gimmicks and stuff like that. She released a couple of new materials including a mixtape (Conversational Lush) and got verified on twitter and premiered videos on BET I was watching it all unfold. Anyway I have been waiting for her album for as long as I remember and finally Perfectly Imperfect her debut album is here. The album has 11 good R&B songs, she brought the real R&B game back in this album. Though I had technically heard almost half of this album due to the fact that I am a fan but for other people it will be very fresh sound heck it is fresh to me.

So if you love some good R&B music this one here won’t disappoint you.

Favorites

  • Not Tonight
  • Welcome Home
  • Oh What a Night
  • Stop the Clock
  • Only Give It To You
  • Sound Proof Room

I can’t stop listening to Not Tonight! Enjoy the album.

Woman Literally Tries To Sell Her Soul Online

Well well isn’t this the funniest story I have seen all week? We always hear about people selling their souls in exchange for fame and wealth and we have never seen anyone actually put it up online and in the “open market”.

I guess it’s true what they say, you can find anything on eBay, even a slightly used human soul. And while some of us wouldn’t sell our soul for all the money in the world, a woman from Albuquerque tried to give hers away for just $2,000.

It might sound like a stupid joke, or an-attention grabbing scheme, but the woman selling her soul, identified as Lori N., said her eBay ad is a cry for help. ”I guess you could say that. I’m at the point now, I’m tired. I don’t feel good. I’m near the end of my rope. I really am,” she told WOAI. Up until five years ago, Lori was living a normal life and made a living as a freelance writer, but a serious car accident completely changed her life. She was a passenger in a car hit by a drunk driver, and the repercussions were dire. The poor woman was in a coma for three weeks, and woke up suffering from a stroke, a broken hip, broken pelvis, leg, collarbone, sternum, ribs, a collapsed lung. And if that wasn’t bad enough, she lost one of her breasts.

soul for sale1 550x306 Woman Tries to Sell Her Slightly Used Soul on eBay Continue reading

Though It Tarries, Smile And Wait For It…..

The best teachings one can give is one that has been experienced and the best lessons comes from experience. So today I want to talk to you about something I am going through personally. It’s about not giving up, waiting for a brighter day, looking and feeling positive regardless of the present situation of things.

For one my life isn’t perfect and I am still waiting and hoping for better days and for a whole lot of things to fall into place, people look at me and say hey Michael what’s up? What’s new? And expect to hear about the new things, accomplishments, achievements etc in your life and when you tell them “same old” two things always happen

1. Their faces lights up as if they are secretly happy that you are stagnant.

2. They look into your eyes and show concern, support and understanding.

Anyway I am not here to talk about what other people think about your condition but what you think about it and how you carry on.  To be really honest staying positive, smiling and keeping your head up is one of the most difficult things to do when life and things are going tough, at that point every single thing you said about not giving up seems to fly out the window but knowing God and remembering all his promises to those who love him makes it a lot easier to look at the brighter side even in the darkest of times. So when you feel as if things are not working out remember his promises of never forsaking his children, remember that he will see you through and your situation will pass.

It is also important to remember to smile while waiting and while facing our storms/battles. Try not to take it out on others because everyone is going through a storm, heading into a storm or just coming out from a storm one way or the other. As difficult as it may get remember to smile for God is in control.  Learn how to let go and let God.

Mat 6:25  Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Mat 6:26  Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

Mat 6:27  Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

I love NIV and in NIV verse 27 says

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

All what I am saying and sharing with you is more like words I am telling myself to strengthen my faith but I choose to type it out and I hope it reaches to someone else out there too. You guys know I am crazy about good stories so let me share two… Continue reading