With this mission in mind, the album starts out on an extremely pointed note in "The Abortion Song." Poe calls out the evils of this sinful practice and doesn't hold back. He sings, "Kill the conscience, drown it out for the sake of human rights. Loss of rights leads to riots, lots of riots lead to violence, but the rights of children die in policies meant to silence." It's a heavy start and Poe pulls no punches. Following this is the very simple, but earworm of a track that is "Alligator Melody." From here, Poe just keeps at it with another hot-button issue with "The SBC Took My Baby Away" -- a play on the Ramones' "The KKK Took My Baby Away." In this track, the lyrics legitimately go after seminaries and the Biblical qualification of pastors. This album released in 2020, but this song may be even more relevant today given the current shake-up over this topic and the SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) today. The sarcasm and biting political commentary found on "The Black Gates of Canada" keeps things rolling and undoubtedly was inspired by pastors being arrested in the country in recent years. If you think Poe is done here, you'd be wrong. "Coronafication" keeps up a high level of sharp commentary on the track that is most likely to polarize listeners. The song was written during the pandemic and Poe shares his opinions very openly on the state of the nation at that time. He goes a step further and addresses rioting and looting that also occurred during this same time. This song is likely to make those that agree smile, those that disagree angry, and could just turn off those in the middle.
Taking a break from the commentary comes "Heartache at 3 Ante Meridiem" which is a nice piano instrumental track. While there has been a lot of "calling sinners to repent" already, "Singleness" brings some encouragement to the saints. The lyrics focus on lonely people longing for a relationship. Poe sings, "Singleness is not a disease, but a trial for the heart," and later goes on to encourage people that their hope should be in Christ first and they will not be forgotten in Him. "I Ain't a Settler" goes on to compare our modern culture to the wadering Israelites who complained about their journey and wanted to go back to their old ways (as slavery in Egypt). Towards the end of the album, things start getting real on the other end of the spectrum. In "Autism, Cancer, and Sleepless Nights," Poe glorifies God in the hardest of times and situations. He sings, "Do you still love God when things aren't alright? Do you still love Him, the author of salvation? Do you still want Jesus to come back and save us?" After a brief interlude, this same track goes into the classic hymn "When I Survey the Wonderous Cross." Out of this hymn comes the cover of "I Stand Amazed." It's another definitive hymn that talks about the things that Jesus has done for us and then praises and thanks Him for each of them. "One More Song" closes the album with some final hope in Christ. The song talks about Christ's sacrifice, His love, His saving grace, and the hope we have in His return.
A View of the World is a wild album. Everything from divisive commentary (on both the world and the church) that's sure to make people uncomfortable, to classic hymns, praises of our Savior, and the hope of salvation in Christ are all covered in this sprawling hour-plus long opus. Musically, things are fairly simplistic, but serves the songs well. Some songs go off meandering a bit and eclipse the eight-minute mark leaving you certain that the next song started. "Quirky" is a great way to describe the sound. Jeremy Poe's vocals are also perfect for this type of music. Whether it's in a pseudo-rap, like in "The Abortion Song," or the singing of a beloved hymn, like "I Stand Amazed." Outside of one song, the album remains mostly apolitical and focuses on addressing certain topics from a Biblical perspective. I will also point out that there is a word found in the song "Luv Urself" -- which focuses on vanity and pridefulness -- that may be offensive to some. Poe sings, "Can't waive off the feeling that pride is still ugly, whether you're skinny, obese, or a tranny, your skin and your body will cease like the seasons."
This is an album full of interesting sounds, but manages to lock in pretty solid on the overall alternative indie vibe. It's cohesive, but also random and unexpected at times. It's a fun listen (though certainly not for everyone), with an often challenging message found throughout the large majority of the tracks. Whether you agree with Poe's commentary, or disagree with his takes, I'd recommend a listen to this one. I'm still deciding where I come down on all of it myself. I plan to dig in a little bit more to gain some more discernment. Either way, I can almost guarantee that you haven't heard an album like A View of the World before.- Review date: 7/18/23, written by Michael Weaver of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: None
Jeremy Poe: I've always loved birds! In college, I attempted to form a band called For the Birds that didn't go anywhere - haha. Years later, when coming up with the name, I tried Birds on a Wire but found the name was taken, and then it dawned on me to call it Birds of Accord. It's based on the phrase, "Birds of a feather flock together," and references all the verses about being of one accord and unified in mind (Acts 4:32, Romans 15:6, 1 Corinthians 1:10; 12:12, Philippians 2:1-2, 1 Peter 3:8-9 are examples). It's also kind of a whimsical, fun, unique, eye/ear-catching name to me. Funny enough, I didn't realize the name was also a pun until later down the road, so I have to spell "Accord" when people ask about it, so people don't spell it as "chord."
Jeremy: I LOVE music. So much so that I did a studio no-no and put a whole bunch of genres of music together in a blender and voilŕ - A View of the World! I also think there isn't enough creativity and experimentation with current Christian music, and often find myself wishing for something better, different, or more thoughtful and genuine with what's been put out there in the industry whether Christian or not, so I decided to really lean on doing the kind of music I enjoy listening to then put it all together as one big album. I also want to hopefully inspire others to try their hands at doing something different, too, like, if someone heard, "Coronafication," and said, "I wanna try that," my job is complete - haha!
I drew a lot of musical inspiration from artists and bands like Gorillaz, Beck, the old prog-rock band Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, Nirvana, David Crowder*Band (particularly how they structured A Collision and Give Us Rest), Andrew Peterson, Hans Zimmer, Joe Hisaishi, Mutemath, Gesu No Kiwami Otome (a Japanese band) The Wedding, Relient K, and among a plethora of old classic rock, 80s, and 90's music. My favorite song on the entire album, "The SBC Took My Baby Away" (a reference to the Ramones "The KKK Took My Baby Away") is musically inspired by "Goonies 'r' Good Enough" by Cyndi Lauper for the intro, and a more rock'n'roll "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." I often joke that if people hated most of the songs on the album, there would at least be one they liked - haha. But I definitely didn't care if no one like "SBC," because I love it.
Jeremy: YES. 2020 provided a lot of material for songwriting. I joked about that with my pastor and a few friends about 2020 quite a bit when I worked on the album. It all started in late summer of 2019 when I didn't even plan to work on any music for a while, because I wanted to work on writing a novel (still working on it). I was just so appalled about all the things going on in the culture, in our country, and in the American Church. After reading a few of pastor Douglas Wilson's articles on the then (still current) issues in the church and in the world, I felt the need to do something about it and out came a sixteen-track album! The entire album is thematically about worldviews and how ultimately, Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. There is no other way.
Jeremy: The Church needs solid, biblical teaching and preaching. It needs the Gospel - the Good News preached again and again. The Church and the world need to hear and understand the prophetic, inerrant Word of God. To call people to believe on Christ, to repent of their sin, and be free in Him. Forgiveness, joy, and peace only come through faith in Jesus Christ. People do not need a watered-down Gospel - they need a white-hot Gospel that says uncomfortable things about sin, death, and life after death. All things trickle down from Christ - including the truth about abortion, feminism, women pastors, social media use, pornography, singleness, marriage, walking down the street, buying groceries, voting, Black Lives Matter, "Who shot first," etc. And of course, people are free to disagree, but not without mindlessly ignoring or placating those things. Stand your ground in Christ, because even when you're accused of imposing your morality (which is not true, since it's God's morality), the world is already imposing its morals on everyone - but are they based on truth? That is at the heart of the album.
Jeremy: "Alligator Melody" musically took inspiration from the songs "Tomorrow Comes Today," the long outro from "Clint Eastwood," and "Sound Check (Gravity)" by Gorillaz. The thematic tension of the song is about the narrow way we have to walk while avoiding being too liberal with the Bible (Sadducee) or too legalistic (Pharisee). I took audio from a sermon my pastor preached to add that pastoral punch needed since the lyrics are so simple. The melodica is also the instrument you hear in the second half of the song that becomes a staple instrument for the album as it appears on several other songs, too. It's one of my favorite instruments to play and its usage is clearly inspired by Gorillaz's first album.
The song "Autism, Cancer, and Sleepless Nights" was based on some personal things shared by a dear brother in the men's group messages for our church, and from some of my own personal experiences. There was also inspiration from other struggles and hardships that had hit particular families in our church years ago that still haunt and linger in their minds and over their hearts, and I wanted to comfort and exhort them with the biblical reality of God's love in the midst of intense trials, hence the lines, "Do you still love Him - the Author of salvation? Do you still want Jesus to come back and save us?"
Jeremy: I think there is a severe lack of boldness and shooting people straight in music, and the people who should be the most bold and prophetic (I am using the term to mean calling people to repentance) in art and music are Christians, and quite frankly, there's not a whole lotta of that going on. My pastor, my church, pastor Douglas Wilson, Martin Luther, Voddie Baucham, John MacArthur, and Paul Washer are among those who influenced me in this area - plus I am not of fan of cryptic, overly poetic language that no one can understand, but that's perhaps more a personal preference. I also wanted right out the gate to get all my "hot topic" views out of the way and to let people who hear my music know I mean business and I love Christ. My songs for this album needed that bark and bite. It's a lot less troublesome when your views are already out there preemptively before you get cancelled - haha.
Jeremy: Because after hearing all the different worldviews touched on in the album, Christ is the only thing that matters. And as much biting commentary there is in the songs, the love of God wins out. The truth hurts and offends, but also leads to a life full of compassion, power and strength, joy, peace, unity, fellowship, hope, freedom, and most of all love. There really is a Savior who died so that the sins of many who have, who are, and who will be forgiven when they repent and believe on Christ. The hymns are narrowing down to that worldview.
My mom loves "I Stand Amazed," particularly how I do it, so in honor of her, the song was dedicated to her and mainly for her. :)
Jeremy: I hope people repent and come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ as Lord, that they come to know His love, His peace, His grace, and His power. This world is not our home, and the world hates us, because it hates Christ. We are all but beggars waiting to be satisfied in Christ forever. I love that tense but tender moment in the The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis when Jill is dying of thirst but is scared of Aslan. She knows she needs the water, but she also knows Aslan is dangerous and powerful - to paraphrase he has swallowed up little girls, boys, men, women, and kingdoms…but He is good. When she drinks the water and begins to trust Aslan and have the right kind of fear toward Aslan, she begins her journey of seeing the truth about herself, the world, and Aslan.
Thank you for reviewing my album and interviewing me! I loved these questions and found them to be thoughtful and engaging! And to anyone reading this, if you enjoyed my album, be sure to check out my other records, including my single, "A Song of Solomon" released last year! And be on the lookout for the release of my new album, In the (V)Alley by the end of the year (hopefully)!
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