I didn't read much this year - the standout was Prophetic Lament by Soong-Chan Rah.As I mentioned here the book is about the place of lament in the life of the church. The book focuses on the United States, but I feel pretty confident in saying that lament doesn't have much of a role in the Australian church. My goal was to read 43 books, I've currently read seven, so next year's goal will be a little less ambitious.
It has been a different story with music. I've listened to quite a bit of music and I'd say it's been a good year.
The memorable releases during the year for me:
- U2 - Songs of Experience
- Julien Baker - Turn on the Lights
- December - 33
- Pearl Jam - Let's Play Two
- Amanda Held Opelt - Embers
- Nichole Nordeman - Every Mile Mattered
- The Likes of Us - Roots and Wings
- Taylor Leonhardt - River House
- Lara Landon - The Never Again
As always, I exclude cover albums and live albums from my best of list. Although during the year I've enjoyed listening to Pearl Jam's 'Let's Play Two' which features songs recorded during the two concerts the band played at Wrigley Field (home ground of the Chicago Cubs), and December's album 33, featuring covers of U2 songs.
So onto the rest of the albums, the three that stand out are Nichole Nordeman's Every Mile Mattered; U2's Songs of Experience and Juilen Baker's Turn on the Lights; an honorable mention goes to Amanda Held Opelt's Embers. These albums are tied together by the personal nature and authenticity of the lyrics. The albums resonated with where I am at he moment in my life but particularly Nichole Nordeman and U2. Songs of Experience and Every Mile Mattered are probably my joint album of the year. I've found it really hard to separate them given their emotional impact on me.
Both albums are really deep lyrically, and with Songs of Experience, I certainly notice different lyrics or notes each time.
In terms of live music, I saw three shows this year - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band; Fleet Foxes and Lisa Hannigan. Of these, I think my favourite was Bruce Springsteen - He's just an amazing performer, with some really powerful and moving songs. Lisa Hannigan was brilliant too, she has a beautiful voice and it was lovely seeing how delighted she was to be playing in the Sydney Opera House.
Next year is looking great too. I'm looking forward to the new albums by Glen Hansard, Katie Herzig, Christa Wells and Sarah Blasko, and we'll see what else comes along.
On the touring front, on my wish list are tour announcements from U2, Radiohead, Pearl Jam and Bon Jovi, but who knows :).