With all the heavy metal and emo-punk bands topping Christian Hits Charts lately, I was pleasantly surprised to hear a contemporary mainstream pop sound. The debut CD, Fool’s Paradise, from the Christian Rock band Monday Morning will be released on April 4. Most of the songs are upbeat and fun melodies delivered by a youthful voice with a positive energy. All of the songs have a Christian theme, and most deliver an uplifting message.
Two tracks are heavier then the majority of the CD, “Blind” and “Sunshine”. The latter was the first single from Fools Paradise and the video ended up in high rotation on both MTV and MTV Latin America. The song leads off the CD and opens with a synthesized effect before giving way to heavy guitar riffs. You might expect a song called “Sunshine” to be warm and happy; you would be wrong. It’s heavy and dark, speaking of a deep-seated fear or even addiction. “Blind” comes from the same place, a desperate emotional plea to someone who is in a bad place, but too blind to see what that is doing to those who care.
The second Single, “Wonder of It All (Next Year)” has spent more than nine weeks on the CHR charts, three of them at number one. The song has a completely different sound than “Sunshine” and falls into that mainstream pop category I mentioned before. The message is more positive, and it is a warm optimistic song. In some of the other songs the Christian aspect is merged or weaved metaphorically, but this song lays it on the line. The young voice that delivers the lyrics is a perfect blend with the music and the message.
It’s not just the lead singer who is young. The oldest member of the band, Kevin Lee Stipe, is 28. Kevin is the bassist and claims to be the reserved one in the band while Derek and Kent do the comedic thing. Derek Stipe is just 25 and the lead vocalist. He and Kevin both include the Stryper reunion tour among their favorite touring experiences. Kent Rector, 23, is the drummer and says he suffers from MHCAD (Must Have Constant Attention Disorder.) Justin Blythe, the fourth member, is the youngest at 22. A self-proclaimed perfectionist, he also listed the Stryper reunion tour as his favorite on the road experience.
It would appear Monday Morning has admiration for the band that led the way for combining hard rock and Christian lyrics, but their sound is remarkably different from Stryper. Monday Morning has carved a new road bringing the sound to something softer — and it works. The more I listened to Fool’s Paradise the more I enjoyed it and it wasn’t long before I found myself mindlessly singing along as I went about my tasks at hand. It may be different from everything else that is topping the Christian Rock Charts right now, but in the case of Monday Morning, different is good.
- “Dear You”
- “Can’t Go On”
- “These Eyes”
- “Wonder of It All”
- “Until The End”
- “Break Away”