Let's talk for a moment about this year's album release that I am most excited about: The Alchemy Index, by Thrice. I mentioned earlier that it will be a four disc album (eventually) that deals with four over-arching themes: earth, water, air, and fire (one per disc). They found inspiration for what they did musically and lyrically from these themes (for example, the earth disc is predominantly acoustic guitar and shies away from electric guitars while the air disc uses a lot of ambiance to create moods). How cool is this idea? I'm not sure what spirituality they are planning on exploring in this disc (alchemy often carries certain connotations with spiritualism and darker themes, but isn't necessarily a "religious science").
In past discs, singer Dustin Kensrue has explored Christian themes as well as social issues as he observes them. I am impressed with the way he goes about it; he contemplates and then he shares his contemplations. I get really turned off by agendas. Whether it be in Christian Rock (which I generally don't enjoy--despite being a Christian--for this very reason) or left-winged political revolutionary anti-Bush stuff, if I feel like you are shoving your ideas down my throat, then I'm going to recoil and shut-off from wanting to listen. Many bands over the years have turned me off like this. Here are some examples: Creed, Rage Against the Machine, and Green Day. It's not always that they lyrically are "telling me what to do", but it is a feeling that their agenda becomes more important than their music.
So anyway, three cheers for the songwriter who can show trust in their listeners. Three cheers for a songwriter who has the strength to control themselves and say more by saying less.
Here are the first two installments of The Alchemy Index's promotional videos: