Idol Chatter
Burn or Burn Archives

The spirit of Bob Dylan, Johnny Carson and political cartoonists everywhere is alive and well in the newest (and best) political satire entertainment on the web. The folks at Jib Jab have again risen to the challenge of creating political […]

On their new release, “When Angels and Serpents Dance,” P.O.D. is in a tight spot: they’ve got a lot of people to please, and whatever they do is gonna piss somebody off. Having achieved a huge degree of success in […]

We at Burn or Burn are always working hard to come up with good fire-related puns to attach to our recommendations (or disses) of today’s faith-minded albums, and we’d like to thank the Mountain Goats for making this one easy: […]

Erykah Badu has always been a mystery. From the 1997 release of “Baduizm,” she blazed the trail for neo-soul as a genre, but she also brought with her a raw spirituality that made her god no particular god. It was […]

Anybody who follows Christian music has probably heard the old saw from Christian bands: “if we cross over, we’re going to carry the cross over.” Really, though, when was the last time you heard a Christian pop band sing about […]

Most obvious is the overwhelming sense of awe that comes from Sigur Ros’ music. “The world is charged with the grandeur of God,” Gerard Manley Hopkins once wrote, and compositions like “I Gaer,” are charged with that same grandeur. Starting with a modest glockenspiel melody, the song suddenly cracks open like a raging electrical storm, a billowing frenzy of guitars and drums. The band is joined on many tracks by the Icelandic string quartet Amiina, and together, the musicians build songs that can only be described with breathless hyperbole and metaphor: angels dancing, birds soaring above clouds, flyover shots of glaciers. There’s such a hugeness to this music–the melodies are clearly in service of something more than entertainment or selling CDs.
Also, Sigur Ros understands how to create space for listeners to experience songs. This is true both because of the long moments of profound stillness in their music, and the openness with which their lyrics can be interpreted. While many of Birgisson’s lyrics are in Icelandic, some are also in a wordless vocal style he once called “Volenska” (usually translated as “Hopelandish”). There’s been a lot of unnecessary media hype about this “language,” but perhaps it’s close to what the Apostle Paul had in mind when he wrote of “groans too deep for words.” The lyrics to “Vaka” sound like this:

ee-so ee-saw-ee-slow,
ee-so …

What does that mean, exactly? Nothing, or maybe everything. “You saw the light?” “He saw you low?” “You shine on us?” Or something entirely different? Combine these vocals with the band’s aptitude for epic, reverent, hymn-like songs, and it seems Sigur Ros has given us a language for worship, a kind of less-spooky speaking in tongues.
“Hvarf/Heim,” along with the band’s last two albums, “( )” and “Takk,” are utterly burn-worthy. Listen, and before long, you’ll be singing along in your own language.

Click Here to Listen to “Radio Nowhere” from “Magic” Doug Howe has already spread the good news of the new Bruce Springsteen album in this space, joining a chorus of hand-clapping reviewers since “Magic” debuted this fall. (A.O. Scott at […]

Here at Burn or Burn, we’ve been careful not to encourage dishonesty: you’ll notice that when we advise you to digitally burn a record, it’s as an extra copy, say for your car. We’re good citizens, and it is still […]

Have you noticed? There’s an intake of fresh oxygen being sucked into the collective lungs of Christians who love music. It’s finally time, it seems, for genuine Christian engagement with pop music – any pop music, made by anybody, sold […]

There are some things we just expect from certain musicians. We know Radiohead will give us postmodern technological alienation. We know Kanye West will give us pious braggadocio. And after five LP and EP releases, we’ve come to know that […]