Arts & Letters Saturday: mewithoutYou
November 17, 2012
As many have discussed, culture is deeper and more important than politics. Certainly government policy can, to some extent, change a culture, but to a much greater extent, (democratic) governments are whatever kind of government the underlying culture produces. As Rush Limbaugh remarked before the election, America could survive four more years of President Obama’s policies; the worst wouldn’t be the policies—the worst would be that we would have become the kind of country that would re-elect such a president.
From now on, I’ll try to post something about arts and culture—about a movie, a book, any art form—every Saturday. It may be self-consciously Christian or conservative art, or it may not. It will be something that I liked at least one aspect of; it may or may not be something you would like as well. Let me know what you think.
Feel free to submit suggestions for artists to be featured in Arts & Letters Saturdays in the comment section below or contact, above.
This week’s artist is mewithoutYou, a Christian band* from Philadelphia (official band Web site here). The band has been around since 2001 and has released (as of this year) five full-length albums. According to Wikipedia (link in original), “The band consists of vocalist Aaron Weiss, guitarist Michael Weiss, bassist Greg Jehanian and drummer Rickie Mazzotta. The band’s music is generally dominated by spoken-word vocals and free-ranging drums, bass, and guitar.”
Stylistically, their previous (2009) album, It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All a Dream! It’s Alright (see Wikipedia for the origin of the title), in Wikipedia’s words, represents
a departure from Weiss’ trademark shouting and the band’s raucous grooves. The mile-a-minute rants, thick with lyrical angst, are traded for simpler melodies with lyrics about anthropomorphic food and animals.
Or, as the band themselves put it, “Aaron Weiss’ manic, unorthodox hollering was nowhere to be found, deliberately giving way to a more conventional melodic vocal approach.”
Fortunately—or unfortunately, according to taste—for their latest album, Ten Stories (2012), mewithoutYou “have let go of the steering wheel, and are back to writing music, well, ‘naturally.’”
See their Web site’s official bio for more on the band and their styles.
The name, I can only assume, alludes to the mess we (“me”) are in, apart from God (“You”). Sometimes their songs are explicitly Christian; here’s “A Stick, A Carrot and String” (no video):
(Both songs are from the It’s All Crazy album; personally I prefer the non-“shouting” style!)
* Some would prefer not to call mewithoutYou a Christian band. E.g., read this interesting Busted Halo interview with Aaron Weiss. (For better or for worse, one possible alternative would be to call it a hipster band.)