When I saw a free CD on Noisetrade entitled The Weight of Glory, I knew exactly what that referenced. I’d never even heard of Heath McNease, but no questions asked, ten minutes later, I had his CD. Why? Each song is based on a different C.S. Lewis book.
C.S. Lewis is probably the most influential Christian scholar of the 20th Century. He’s widely embraced, even among Mormons, due to the fact that he tried to stay neutral on what Paul called “disputable matters.” Another reason for his popularity is his form of writing, which is very clear and concise. Lewis was an expert at explaining theology to laymen. He was the number two most-recognized-voice on the radio during the Blitz, right after Winston Churchill.
Besides being a great way to catch Christians’ attention, basing an album on Lewis is also a wonderful idea. In the way of sound, this album is all over the place, swinging from pop to folk rock to rap to a sort of smooth spacey sound. The Great Divorce is a master of catchiness—I still love it. A Grief Observed, after months of listening, still makes me cry. The Screwtape Letters is convicting and dark.
My brother, who never endorses a song, has actually admitted he likes the Problem of Pain, and I sometimes hear him whistling the chorus in the shower (for my brother, that’s a big deal). If you enjoy rap, there’s Mere Christianity. The Four Loves, examines the different phases of life—boyhood, college, adulthood—and connects them to the different loves in the book. Edmund examines the connection between the second Pevensie brother and Judas.
While the songs are at their best when the source material is familiar, it’s by no means necessary—they can stand on their own, and they do. It does, however, suffer from repetitiveness. Surprised by Joy is not very surprising. Still, overall, a very fun album—entirely worth the download.