Since we’re on a 1986 kick…
Last week I mentioned how great a year 1986 was for Christian music, and how that year, Petra and Whiteheart reinvented themselves with new lead singers and a whole new sound to boot. So how about taking a look at that ol’ Whiteheart album?
Like other artists, Whiteheart was a group whose albums I would eagerly anticipate to arrive on the Christian bookstore shelves. When Don’t Wait for the Movie finally arrived, I remember how the bright green, purple and blue colors, the big satellite dish dwarfing the mobile home, and of course, the family dog running to his master’s call seemed to practically jump off the shelves yelling “pick me!”
Popping that demo cassette into the store’s car stereo (that’s what our Christian bookstore had as demo players) and putting on those headphones, a whole new sound emerged. A growl, which you weren’t sure was a guitar or a real motorcycle engine, the beat of electronic drums, and the introduction of the former bus driver and roadie -turned-lead-singer Rick Florian taking the reins with a new vocal sound (you can see how God was already at work, there).
The whole album felt new and different, above and beyond what the band had done before. They had seemed to completely reinvent themselves. And it was wonderful.
As the album played, I waited with great anticipation what the next song would bring. Would the next song be better than the last? Would it be more energetic? More melodic? Heavier? Hey, listen to what they did there! Did you hear that keyboard sound? Listen to that bass. What would they do next? Hey, wow, listen to those harmonies! This is a great ballad. Are they really singing “God made convertibles?” Wait, they have an instrumental? Wow, which song is the best–I can’t decide.
This was part of what made 1986 and the next several years that followed such a great time for Christian music–constant creativity and artists seemingly challenging themselves to produce a better album each time. But I’ll try to not get off on a tangent. Needless to say, this–their fourth studio album–is where Whiteheart became a true creative force, which launched them from an already great band to even greater.