Let me begin by saying I love this record. Justin Anderson (think Mainstay) has released the first of what I hope will be many more albums. Musically it is simple. Please hear me on this, I mean that in a positive way. It is honest, genuine, not dressed up. In the words of one of my favourite bands, there are no “glittering prizes and endless compromises” or “illusion(s) of integrity” in this offering. On Paper Candle, Anderson proves himself to be a musician, an artist first. No doubt he wants to sell many records, but I doubt that was the driving force behind producing this one.
I will openly admit that as I listened to album (over and over and over...it is that good) I did feel an uneasiness about Anderson’s faith. I mean I really loved Mainstay. They were from Piper’s church and all that! Now they’re “on a break” and Justin Anderson is baring his soul and his struggles with Christianity...perhaps the “fledgling is falling.” I have seen too many simply walk away.
However there was nothing different coming from Anderson’s lyrics that hadn’t been warring in my own mind. I think the whole point is to examine yourself. I’m pretty sure I’ve read that somewhere before! I remember simply crying - I’ll admit it - after listening to “The Prince and The Idiot” and just remembering the gospel. Incidentally, that is my favourite track on the record.
Personally, I could feel the emotion in this record. This is my life, my wars, my struggles, and ultimately my hope set to music. I had really hoped to send some questions to Justin to speak more about his music. As it turns out, someone beat me to the punch - you can check it out here. One more question, I would’ve loved to ask. Any chance for Mainstay coming back from their “time out”?
I’ll end where I began; I love this record. Like reading a great book, I was drawn into the story. If you know what I mean, that is great feeling. It is not always comfortable, but it’s genuine. That is the mark of a good artist.
If you are looking for simply another “Christian” album you should avoid this one. If you are looking for a sort of pseudo-Mainstay record buy the first track and tell yourself good job. If you are looking for simply a great record; look no further. Paper Candle is just that. Check out Justin's (yeah, we're on a first name basis now...lol) first single...