The year is 1987. Beverly Hills Cop and Good Morning Vietnam were among the biggest movies that year and The Simpsons just began airing shorts on the Tracy Ullman Show. Alternative was just coming into fruition from what was once referred to as New Wave Music. Some of the acts that were big in mainstream were Crowded House, Pet Shop Boys, The Cure, Tears for Fears, and Depeche Mode. Artists such as Stryper and Amy Grant dominated Christian Music. A different label, Frontline Records, emerged to provide exposure to bands that were not picked up by big labels such as Word and Sparrow. Christian Alternative Music had very little to offer back then other than the Seventy Sevens (77's), Vector, and The Choir. The self-titled project from Mad at the World was probably the very first Christian Group to provide a techno-alternative-rock album. Mad at the World consisted of Roger Rose on Vocals and Guitar, Randy Rose on Drums and backup vocals, who was only 15 years old at the time, and Mike Pendleton on guitar, keyboards, and percussion.
Throughout the album, the listener will notice mixing with different effects and editing that created an atmosphere unheard of at the time. "Living Dead" begins with a beat that might remind one of a different variation of the beat found in Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone." It's an easy song to get into illustrating a life of those who think they have it all, but having certain things in life do not always equate to a life that truly makes one happy. Roger Rose, the lead vocalist from California, was obviously not born with an English Accent; however, he emulates it quite well on some of the tracks. The accent is a little over-the-top on the next track, "All the Lonely Sheep," although the chorus is very nicely done with an almost sci-fi feel in the composition.
"No Room Left" shows a Depeche Mode influence. The song deals with those who don't have time for God in their life: "Now you're filled with information / Excessive educated mind / You live a demonstration / of how the human can be blind / There's no room for God left in your mind." "Easy Way Out" and "It Can't Rain Forever" recall the sound of Tears For Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World." "No More Innocence" is easily the best track on the album. It carries a message that innocence is no longer present as people progress in life. The title track is another great: "Mad at the world / you're seeing something besides what the Creator purposed / I know that it's wrong / because the hatred is so strong / I can't help but see / that's vanity and it's not for me." The album closes with "Chance of Luck," musically bearing a Pet Shop Boys feel.
Mad at the World will bring wonderful memories from a time period that no one thought would be repeated, but history has ways of repeating itself in other forms. Anberlin, Acceptance, and Mae have a style all their own, but they bring back some of sounds first found in the 80's. Like Mad at the World, Anberlin has cited Depeche Mode as an influence. This is an album that deals with the pros and cons in life and it represents it with much creativity. Lyrics are not needed for this album if you're is concerned about the content of Christianity because Roger provides an easy-to-understand approach to all of his writing. The album was released 20 years ago, yet it doesn't seem that old if you can overlook the "skipping record" audio effect that's implemented in some of the songs. Fans of Depeche Mode or Techno-Alternative should easily fall in love with this album.- Review date: 4/16/07, written by Wayne Myatt for Jesusfreakhideout.com
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