Everyone has an opinion
Last modified: 08 Dec 2005
Sorry for the month-long gap in blog posts. I thought I'd give the new album some time to settle into everyone's CD racks before blogging about it. The Mission Bell has now been released for a whole month and in those four weeks, as expected, everyone has formed their own opinions about it. There has been the usual lively d:bate in the d:scussion forum, and I think it's fair to say that the consensus of opinion is favourable. One interesting quirk has been the 'getting-used-to-it' factor. Time and time again people have said their opinion of the album has changed over the first few days of listening to it. Like a fine wine, The Mission Bell improves with age. Some would say that an album needs to grab the listener from the very first listen - but personally I've always liked the fact that the more you listen to a d: song, the more you notice things about it. It took me years to really appreciate See The Star for example. It was only when I noticed the beauty of the strings in the background that I realised what a superb song it was. Similarly with The Mission Bell, some people seem to need a few listens to really appreciate the new songs.
In addition to numerous fans being eager to analyse and review the album on the forum, there has also been some interesting reviews coming from the 'outside world'. Q Magazine, for example, this week gave their two pence worth with comments like "...musically, their isolation is shifting them towards polished earnest-period U2, fueled by the unbridled passion of singer Martin Smith"
. Add to that the 3/5 star rating they gave the album and you have yourself a fairly impressive review of an overtly Christian album by an overtly secular music magazine with a reputation for not mincing its words. The 'religious' factor that these secular magazines often struggle with when reviewing Delirious? albums can never be avoided, and indeed Q made the comment that "...without God they could be massive"
. This throws up all kinds of points.
The band themselves would almost certainly declare that 'without God' they'd be nothing, but from a secular music industry's perspective - the comment has a valid point. Delirious? have often found their faith to be a virtual brick wall in trying to invade the mainstream music world, particularly in the UK, and if their Christianity wasn't a factor then it's conceivable that additional doors may have magically opened in that otherwise obstructive brick wall. But the band have consistently been true to what they believe, and whatever criticism you throw at them, they can never be accused of hiding their belief. Their uncompromising stance may have cost them a Top10 chart position or a slot on a certain TV show, but that is outweighed by not being at a cost to their faith.
Within a few days of The Mission Bell being released, I started a new poll to give people a chance to declare their initial opinion on which was the best song on the album. Over a month 548 people took part, and the runaway winner was Miracle Maker with 160 votes. Now Is The Time came second, but was a long way back with just 64 votes - showing just how far ahead of the crowd Miracle Maker is. Sometime next year I will run the poll again and it will be interesting to see if opinions have changed over time.
Tomorrow night Delirious? embark on their Paint The Town Tour which will be the band's chance to set out The Mission Bell in a live context. It's always exciting to hear a new set of songs live, and I'm very much looking forward to hearing the likes of Solid Rock and Here I Am Send Me screaming out of Stu's guitar and Take Off My Shoes and I'll See You being gently eased out of Martin's vocal chords. Whilst the tour won't have the 'big production' style of previous tours in terms of video screens and the like, it should be one of the most exciting tours in recent years when it comes to the music. These songs are just demanding to be played live in front of a few thousand ecstatic d: fans. The London gig has already sold out, so if you're planning to see Delirious? on this tour and haven't bought tickets yet - hurry up before the rest of the venues sell out too.