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The Advocate



Fire by Strive

Reviewed by Caleb Newell

"Strive intertwines raising, momentous bands like U2 and Switchfoot with the piano-pop twist of Billy Joel and Bruce Hornsby."

Both MSN and AOL have recognized how fast Strive’s fans are growing, have you? Derick Thompson, Strive’s lead singer and keys, said, “We have an international heart . . . and want to reach the whole world with our music. For us, it's not a win to be successful only in the U.S. We'd like to see ourselves successful in places like Brazil and New Zealand and Uganda.”

Strive’s international heart can be traced back to Thompson’s childhood. He moved to Russia in 1992, originally from Iowa. He lived there for five years, and his time there has greatly impacted his life. Strive intertwines raising, momentous bands like U2 and Switchfoot with the piano-pop twist of Billy Joel and Bruce Hornsby. For their success, they have been compared to Coldplay and Josh Groban. Fire is there second release; Strive EP was their first.

Strive sets up their CD with the reverberating subject of love, and even the title keeps to the main point. This CD opens with their first radio single (released in fifty-five countries) “Smallest Things”. This single challenges us to share the beauty of the simple things of our lives with others, rather then taking them for granted. It takes us clear to the album’s title track, “Fire", the band's most controversial song. The hit focuses on the intimacy and pleasure shared within marriage. With modern and popular groups filling our generation with the message that intimacy and love is equated to one time affairs as a way of happiness, this song should be a breathe of fresh air. Derick stated this to the controversy, “It's a celebration of the love, pleasure and intimacy a man and wife were created to share. Our culture paints great sex as happening with strangers, boyfriends and girlfriends. I believe culture needs the opposite message, which says great sex takes place in the context of a committed marriage. It's not a soap box, just honesty. FIRE is meant to inspire young people to wait and first taste sex in marriage. FIRE is meant to remind married couples that sex keeps a marriage alive and strong. FIRE is meant to glorify the Creator who lovingly gave the human race such an intimate language of love." At first, I was skeptical about what the song was about. Now, I’m sure it’s one of the strongest themes on the CD.

In “Away from Here”, Derick shares the mic with his Brazilian wife, Tiffany Thompson, whom he met on a tour to Brazil. Strive has given us a great love CD filled with different types of love... whether we are loved by God or by people around us, we have a responsibility. “Bells Toll” was my personal favorite. The song spoke to me with this verse, “when dreams turn to fears/and fears turn to tears/it digs a little deeper/digs a little deeper/when tears last for years/only love still wipes us clear”. It reminded me how too often in the land of opportunity people set out to do great things only to have them turn south, and they dwell on that for years without even giving it another shot. But there is hope in the love that wipes us clear; obviously this would speak about Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. Let’s try to let our love be a “Fire” that passes from one person to another until everyone is consumed by it.

With memorable lyrics and upbeat tunes, this release will not easily be forgotten, and with Strive's pre-record touring, the band is sure to become a “Fire”.

Caleb Newell BIO:  My name is Caleb Newell. I am from south-central Pennsylvania, where I’ve lived my whole life. Surprisingly, I have never attended a Creation Festival, even though I’m about forty-five minuteS to an hour away. I also go by two pennames: Rauhl Ang (Secular), and Cylos Eli (Christian), if I ever strap myself down long enough to get a novel finished.  I’m just a mundane guy, trying to find his place in the world, Asking the one important question all the time “Where do I go from here?”, and trying to see light in the darkness of this world. While attempting to budget my time better, I like to augment just some of my God-given abilities and love criticism for them: writing (mostly fiction), reviewing, singing, drawing/painting, and counseling. My regular blogging site is: http://reviewsplus.blogspot.com, where I review various materials. On that same profile, you will find the online church I started for a while: http://theshatteredchurch.blogspot.com . My writing can be read on: http://cyloseli.blogspot.com . Until next time, God’s Grace to You.