Top 10 Greatest Power Ballads of All Time

I’ll admit it, I’m an unashamed and unabashed fan of that most majestic of musical genres – the power ballad.  This may not be a particularly cutting-edge passion of mine, but I urge you, nay I dare you, to listen to some of the tunes listed below and not feel at least a smidgen of the awesomeness contained therein.

For the uninitiated, Wikipedia defines a power ballad simply as “a ballad performed in a rock music style,” while elsewhere noting that “power ballads came into existence in the early 1970s, when rock stars attempted to convey profound messages to audiences.”  These definitions are clearly only scratching the surface of the emotional power of these titanic songs.  Urbandictionary.com is only slightly more helpful, stating that it is “a form of heavy metal music in which the listener is tempted to pump their fist into the air repeatedly synchronized with the emotional impact said song inflicts upon the listener.” (I also refer you to the 3rd definition on that page, which I’m too prudish to quote here.)  While I find the heavy metal description inaccurate, this does at least get more to the way in which these totems of tunecraft can stir the emotions and move you to increasingly unfashionable dance moves.

Power Tweeting

For me, a power ballad is a song, most commonly from the 80s, that combines the standard elements of a rock song (electric guitars, drums, charismatic lead vocalist) with lyrics that tell a story that stirs the emotions, often accompanied by a soaring chorus, epic guitar solos and key changes that take your breath away, evoking images of gravity-defying mullets and fashion-defying shoulder pads.  Other than that, it’s hard to pin it down further than to say that when know a power ballad when you hear one (which doesn’t make it highly contestable at all!).  My own love of power ballads blossomed at university, dancing along to some Bon Jovi in the Union, brooding angstfully in my room in halls and, in an unforgettable moment, duetting to ‘(Everything I Do), I Do It For You‘ with Mr Steve Causley in a karaoke bar in Beijing. ‘Epic’ doesn’t even come close.
You can listen to my painstakingly-crafted Power Ballads playlist on Spotify here. (It’s not exhaustive, but nonetheless hits most of my personal favourite specimens of songsmithery.)

But enough of all this faff! Let’s get down to this ridiculously tricky and highly contentious business of my top 10 Power Ballads of all time.  Happy to field outraged disagreements in the comments, but let’s keep this civil shall we?

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Persecution: A Biblical Perspective (Talk)

A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to give a talk at the New Life Conference 2009 giving an broad overview of what the Bible says about persecution and offered some thoughts as to how we as Christians should think about the idea of being persecuted for our faith.

The talk is in 4 parts, I hope you find it helpful – as I mention at the start, this was the first time I’d done a talk on that scale, so any feedback or thoughts in the comments would be greatly appreciated! 🙂

Part 1 (9:34)

Download Part 1 here.

Part 2 (9:41)

Download Part 2 here.

Part 3 (10:14)

Download Part 3 here.

Part 4 (5:46)

Download Part 4 here.

You can find out more about the persecution faced by Christians around the world today through Open Doors: www.opendoorsuk.org

Jon Stewart mocks Parliamentary rules on satirical use of Commons footage

You may not have picked up on this story last week, but it appears that Jon Stewart did…

A bit of background first…
As might be expected, the appearance of Rupert and James Murdoch before the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee on July 19th generated a great deal of media interest both here and abroad (now there’s an understatement for you!).  It was no surprise either, therefore, that US comedian Jon Stewart (he of the Daily Show fame) took the opportunity to lampoon the Murdochs in much the same way as he so often lampoons the News Corp-owned Fox News.  Further to this, he also then did a segment on David Cameron’s appearance before the Commons on the Wednesday, in which he faced some particularly tough questioning from the Labour benches (and they didn’t even include the pointed question from the ‘Beast of Bolsover’ Dennis Skinner on his meetings with News International executives).  Stewart is in rapt admiration of the combative nature of our legislative assembly, crying out ‘That’s awesome! That’s your C-SPAN? That’s f***ing awesome!’ (C-SPAN is the US equivalent of BBC Parliament, broadly)  You can watch the segment below (apologies that I can’t get the embed code to work properly!):

Watch the video here.

So far, all seems normal.   I love watching the Daily Show and was annoyed when Channel 4 decided to drop it from it’s weekday programming on More4, only leaving a solitary ‘Global Edition’ episode late on Monday nights.  Now, I don’t usually remember to watch this, but on the following Monday (25th July), I happened to be by the TV at just gone 11pm and saw that it was due to start, so I tuned in.  Or so I had hoped.  Unfortunately, to my disappointment, the announcer said that the Daily Show Global Edition wouldn’t be airing this week, replaced by some random documentary about Michael Jackson. ‘Well that’s just great,’ I thought. ‘Typical’ and went to bed instead, not thinking any more about it.  However, saw that I wasn’t the only who had noticed this – Blogger Chris Spyrou asked on Twitter why it wasn’t shown, to which the ‘Channel 4 Insider‘ responded ‘Sorry compliance probs so we couldn’t show’.  TV writer Graham Linehan followed up asking what these problems were and received the response ‘We are prevented by parliamentary rules from broadcasting parliamentary proceedings in a comedic or satrical context.’

This was apparently news to many people, although was presumably well known by producers of shows like Have I Got News For You and Mock the Week, as they would no doubt have used such footage otherwise.  The story was also picked up by Helen Lewis Hasteley in the New Statesman, who blogged about it first here. (H/T to her for filling in some more of the details on the story that I hadn’t seen previously.) Continue reading