We all have things that inspire us. Some may marvel at a glorious sunset; others may find inspiration in a painting or in (gulp) reading a good book.
Those things are fine, but one of the main things that inspires me is music. When I am down and feeling “blah,” many times I will find what I need in a song. I often have church in my car during a commute . . . I sometimes wonder what the people who pass me think . . . and writing ideas flow. I love to sing along in my vehicle, but I will refrain from doing that in public (unless you need me to clear a room).
I love Christmas music, though my flea-sized attention span is challenged when I hear artists singing the same songs with the same arrangements. Imagine my delight when I recently downloaded the new release Decade the Halls by Christian music group Tenth Avenue North. It is the most creative, off-the-wall, funny, clever Christmas album (or regular album) I have ever heard.
Yes, hyperbole is one of my spiritual gifts. But it really is THAT good.
The guys in the group took ten Christmas songs—mostly traditional with a few originals thrown in—and performed each one in the musical style of a different decade. Starting with 1920s-era Good King Wenceslas and running through a poppy 2010s version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman, it is a delight, full of surprises and treats for your ears.
I laughed out loud several times on first listen and marveled at the creativity that brought this project to fruition. For me, favorites are an ‘80s-tinged rendition of Go Tell it on the Mountain, which sounds like a forgotten track from Huey Lewis and the News; The First Christmas, a ‘50s rockabilly throwdown with Zach Williams (of Chain Breaker fame); and Mistletoe (The Christmas Sweater Song), a hilarious riff on 2000s-era alt-rock.
I watched an interview with the lead singer Mike Donehey, who said the group wanted to create an experience that wouldn’t bore listeners. Boy, did they deliver. Do yourself a favor and pick it up now.
By now, you probably feel like you’re reading the music review section of CCM Magazine, but there is a point for writers. This album has inspired me in my creative work. If Tenth Avenue North can take the time to craft such a unique piece, I should be able to do the same. I am not going to produce anything musical anytime soon (you’re welcome), but I am going to work on my blog posts, devotions, and other projects with that same spirit of creativity.
Now, I am going to give Decade the Halls a spin for the 100th time (apologies to my family, who would probably like to listen to something else by now).