Sunday, April 12, 2015

#75 EMBRACE THIS PLACE - Among Thorns

Whoa. It's been quite a while since I've posted a song. This is the worst time of year for me, what with the multiple fantasy baseball drafts and it's tax season, so I have to prepare the taxes for our business. I assure you, I'll start to get back on track here soon, posting a new song every 5-7 days. But right now, as promised, is my 1/4 of the way done 'State of the Blog' address, in video form:

So, there you have it, there's the 100 Best Modern Worship Songs blog update at the 25% finished mark. Hopefully, I will do one of these when we get to song #50 and song #25 as well. For now, it's time to move on with the countdown and the 75th best worship song of all time, Embrace This Place by Among Thorns.

As you might expect, song #75 is not without controversy. The controversy stems from last week's worship classic, Jesus is a Friend of Mine, which was originally listed as song #75 on the countdown. Since I posted that song, I received literally thousands of cards, letters, texts, emails, Facebook pokes, tweets, and bricks through my living room window(1) demanding that I remove Jesus is a Friend of Mine from the list.

(1) There isn't the least bit of truth in anything in that sentence, as with most content herein. 

Well, no one can say that I'm not a man of the masses, and I have decided that for the good of mankind and for the good of this blog, as well as women, minorities, the handicapped, etc; that I will take Jesus is a Friend of Mine off the list and replace it with this week's song at #75. To understand this massive controversy more, see last week's post, No-Longer-Song-#75 Jesus is a Friend of Mine.

Sorry, Justin Fakename, you've been zapped out of the 75th spot. 

And now it's time to move on and get to the real song #75 on the countdown, Embrace This Place, by Among Thorns. This particular song is illustrative of some of the problems I face while compiling this list. Back in the early 2000s, I was pretty sure that Among Thorns was one of the great worship artists around, and that Embrace This Place was a worship classic of all time.

However, as time has passed, it's occurred to me that my love of Among Thorns may have just been a product of my environment. At the time I pretty much thought that everyone in the worship music subculture knew who they were, and knew all their songs, like I did. But, it's quite possible that many of you reading this have never even heard of Among Thorns, and it would probably be helpful if I posted the song right now so that you can hear it. Great, GREAT song - breathtakingly beautiful, take a listen.

As I mentioned in this post, Hear My Worship, by the wonderful, luminous Jaime Jamgochian, there's just something awesome about a really pretty worship song that doesn't have to rely on massive production or bombastic presentation. Don't get me wrong, I love a good wild, pounding, orchestral Hillsong song, but songs like Embrace This Place are a nice change up once in a while. I'm pretty sure the variety on my top 100 list reflects this.

Speaking of that, Among Thorns has another really good song that sounds sort of the same. The song Start A Fire will not be on the 100 best worship songs of all time list, but I can tell you it came pretty close, just missing the cut at the end. As a matter of fact, I went to iTunes and Start A Fire just edges out Embrace This Place as the most popular Among Thorns song.
Interestingly, while Embrace This Place is acoustic guitar driven, Start A Fire is piano driven. If you like the former, you'll probably like the latter as well. Just another very pretty, simple worship song. You know what, I'm not going to force you to search youtube for Start A Fire. If you want to hear this one as well, just click on Andy's Extras.


If you're like me, and I'm pretty sure you're not, you associate some interesting and treasured memories with particular songs. When it comes to worship music, I have a lot of specific memories that are linked to specific worship songs. When I did the review for this song, #80 Draw Me Close, I told one such story.

After I posted that, my friend Scottie(2) suggested that I inject more real, personal stories into my blog. My first thought was, "Hey, what does this idiot know? Does he have a 100 Best Worship Songs of All Time Blog? I think not." But then, after time, I realized that Scottie was right.

(2) Due to anonymity concerns, "Scottie" of course isn't his real name. It's Scotty. 

I didn't want to force it, but I do remember a very specific and quite possibly really weird incident from my past that is related to the song Embrace This Place. I tried to write it, but I can't; and since I've already done the video thingy here, I thought I'd just do a little video to explain:


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