I’ve been listening to the new P.O.D. album, When Angels & Serpents Dance, a lot these last few weeks. It was the first Christian music I’d bought in awhile. I must say the record has surprised me and exceeded my expectations. I’d say it’s their most consistently good album since 2001’s Satellite. For their newest album, I was sort of sad to see Jason Truby, their guitarist for the last two albums, leave the band, but now that P.O.D. has their old guitarist back I have a feeling that many P.O.D.’s fans will return.

I’ve always respected P.O.D. for their commitment to keeping their faith out in the open even after they hit the big time. They’ve never shied away from the faith, and also never jammed it in their listeners’ ears, just sort of let it speak for itself and let their music reflect who they were. It’s very nice to see this kind of transparency in an age where so many Christian bands are attempting to distance themselves from Christian markets, record labels, radio stations, etc. I don’t disagree with that entirely, since that stuff can put Christian bands in a box so only other Christians buy their music. But in that process I’ve seen too many bands cover up the Christian side of their music or downplay it until it’s unrecognizable or say that their faith and music are two separate things, which is just ridiculous. And then there’s the other kind of bands, the mainstream ones that entertain the slight notion that they may be Christian. Remember when everyone thought Coldplay, Creed and Linkin Park were Christian? I can’t help but laugh. Thankfully, P.O.D. has succumbed to neither of these options.

For some reason, everyone abandoned P.O.D. after Payable on Death came out in 2003. I’m not sure why. I know that it wasn’t their strongest album, but it had quite a few good songs on it and with the new guitarist they tried out some new sounds which, for the most part, worked. It seems to me that some music fans can be so fickle with things like member changes. I like to see bands stick together as much as the next guy, but bands changing members is almost inevitable. Of course, there comes a certain point in any band’s life where, if a member left the band, the sound would never recover (e.g. The Tragically Hip). But this wasn’t P.O.D.’s case. I think both Payable on Death, and Testify especially, were two solid albums that P.O.D fans either didn’t buy or didn’t give a fair chance. On one side, their fans would say that P.O.D.’s sound was getting outdated, since other bands with the rap/rock hybrid sound were selling less and less albums. On the other side, P.O.D.’s fans were saying they didn’t like the new guitarist (who was extremely talented I might add) and the slightly different sound their albums had. What is the band supposed to do? I mean, heaven forbid a band write and record the songs that came naturally to them and were a tad different that past stuff.

Honestly, I have no patience for people who can’t accept when a band’s sound changes slightly or evolves. Is a band supposed to write the same music when its members are all 18 years old, as well as when they’re 30? This is to say nothing of the tremendous pressure a band is under to write another huge record after big commercial success, which was the situation P.O.D. was in after Satellite. What do fans want, Satellite 2? Why?

Obviously, when a band strays completely from their roots they may have sold out or something, but I have no problem with bands trying new sounds and new instruments. Music fans nowadays are too quick to give up on a band when it tries something new, or when the radio single doesn’t sound “like their old stuff.” I really like listening to a band’s music over their whole career. It’s like a book, with characters developing over the course of the chapters. Bands shouldn’t fear trying new things or else the music industry and the rock n’ roll genre will never go anywhere. Punk would have never developed in the late 70s, for instance.

Anyways, I didn’t want to turn this into a rant post (you can read 100,000 other blogs if you want rant posts all the time). So here’s the lyrics to one of P.O.D.’s songs, Revolution, off of Payable on Death. Ever since I first heard this song I thought it was some of Sonny’s best lyrical work, especially the first verse. I watched the movie Amazing Grace yesterday and that movie’s portrayal of the uphill fight against the slave trade reminded me of this song. Particularly, watching the characters in Amazing Grace struggle between quiet political change and a full-out revolution made for a very good movie.

More calm than a heartbeat that flatlines
Quiet like a dark street under the moonlight
A phrase of action that’s been screamed by the guts of men
Ever since they first experienced injustice, prejudice, discrimination
A word louder than a gunshot
And softer than a baby’s laugh
It will pass, just like it always has
Until it spits off the lips of the next man who’s had it up to here

Did somebody say a revolution?
Or is it all in my head?
Is that what it takes to make a solution?

Your revolution

I’m not the first or the last to imagine it
Acknowlege the concepts, question and grasp it
Rebel against the I, bring down the self
Mutiny me! Overthrow you!
Rebellion starts within, the time is now!

Purple skies, devil eyes, hypnotize
Little lies, compromise, fireflies
Samurais, parasite, fly by night, materialize
Look alike, stereotype, do or die, lullaby, black and white

Did somebody say a revolution?
Or at least it’s been said
Is that what it takes to make a solution?
Your revolution, what’s your solution?
Your revolution, no resolution
Your revolution, no substitution
Your revolution, not your solution

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