Friday, August 22, 2008

The Joe Show 84 - FIRE by STRIVE

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The Joe Show
Average Joe American

Episode Eighty-Four: FIRE by STRIVE

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STRIVE's newest album, FIRE, hits the streets on August 26, 2008. The record label has asked me to review the album, and given me permission to use the music on the show. I've featured tunes from STRIVE in past episodes of The Joe Show, and for the last week my iPod has been playing nothing but FIRE over and over. In episode 84, I share with you my favorite tunes from the album, and some thoughts on those tunes and the album as a whole.

Sit back and relax. You're about to enjoy a half hour of some awesome music!


by — ringtones. [used with permission]

STRIVE's latest album, FIRE, opens with an uptempo ditty about sharing the simplest, most beautiful things in life with others, rather than falling into the temptation to take such beauties for granted. With an infectious rhythm and memorable lyrics, SMALLEST THINGS -- receiving radio airplay in 55 countires -- will quickly get you up and moving to the beat.

We're on our way
we can help each other all the way

A catchy tune inspired by Africa's struggle with the effects of Imperialism. An enjoyable listen.

Just a little more time now
and all of heavens stars will align. ...
So many work their whole lives
for this one moment in time. ...

"Nothing is impossible if I hold onto hope, faith, love & patience." That's the theme behind STRIVE's tune, JUST A LITTLE MORE TIME NOW. We spend our lives waiting for our ship to come in, hoping for our big break. It's become, for some, what life is all about. And it can be so hard sometimes to wait that we see people every day turning to some kind of get rich quick scheme, whether it's the lottery, crime, or such silliness as American Idol. But with just a little hard work, determination, and patience, we can achieve our goals and see our dreams fulfilled. STRIVE has learned that personally as the band has toured extensively, both in the Midwest around their Chicago home base and internationally with extended tours in Brazil and Russia, long before recently being signed to their first record deal with GoDigital records. With music like that on the album FIRE, the band is sure to continue riding their hard won success.

Listen as the bells toll on.
Can you hear them sing their songs.
This dirge of sadness.
All the ones who passed before,
Gave it all to hear no more,
This dirge of sadness.

One of the most heated topics in the Presidential campaign this year is the involvement of American troops in Iraq. War happens. Throughout American history, war has reared it's ugly head from time to time, as if the very process of engaging in the act of trying to kill one another is inevitable. Whatever your view on war -- and more specifically the war in Iraq -- it is not a happy occasion worthy of celebration. People fight. People die. And they do it in hopes that more people will live -- and live a better life -- for their sacrifice. No matter what you think of war, "no argument erases the horror which leaves mothers, fathers, wives, husbands and children mourning for all that they have lost. Peace can only come if everyone lays their burdens of fear down to embrace love and forgiveness." BELLS TOLL is STRIVE's attempt to "ring out with this truth in an effort to hasten the day when it is our reality."

With a little time away from here
Can we find a way through the tears
To come back with some more love
Than we left with?
Life's too short to waste on love
that keeps a record of wrongs.

STRIVE's mission of putting out upbeat, positive, inspiring music is played out beautifully in this tune about a couple that, after some heated arguing and a time of unwanted separation, chose to look for a way to grow their love into something greater rather than to give up on it. The band describes the song as "a plea for everyone to guard their tongues and liberate their love for one another."

STRIVE bills themselves as a piano-driven rock pop band aimed at inspiring people across all walks of life. Much of the album FIRE was inspired by front man Derick Thompson's relationship with his wife. Thompson began playing piano and writing songs at the age of eleven, and played in a number of bands both in the US and during his five years living in Russia. Thompson formed the band STRIVE after moving to Chicago to attend Wheaton College.

With band members Will Puth on Guitars and Rick Kluckow on Bass, Thompson and STRIVE create a sound and a message that is much greater than the sum of it's parts. This album is a must-own for every independent music fan as well as anyone with a passion for music you can feel. The more I listen, the more I want to hear.

We've been waiting.
Turn the lights down low
It's time to let yourself go
I promise we'll take it nice and slow now
Let yourself be known
Share the secrets of your soul with me
Fire blazing from your skin
How overwhelming it is to love you.

Lead singer / songwriter Derick Thompson describes the title track as the most controversial song he's ever written, while at the same time the purest and most romantic love song he's ever written. "It's a celebration of the love, pleasure and intimacy a man and wife were created to share. Our culture paints great sex as happening with strangers, boyfriends & girlfriends. ... [C]ulture needs the opposite message which says great sex takes place in the context of a committed marriage. ... FIRE is meant to inspire young people to wait and first taste sex in marriage. FIRE is meant to remind married couples that sex keeps a marriage alive and strong. FIRE is meant to glorify the Creator who lovingly gave the human race such an intimate language of love."

I could not be more enthusiastic in my recommendation of this album. Music like this comes along only once in a very great while. Miss out on this one, and who knows when your next chance will come!

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