Tag Archives: fun.

How to: Build a giant air cannon

This is a how-to every youth leader needs!

GRAMMY 2013 wrap-up


So the big question on this day after might be: was it worth all the hype? Did you catch all/part/some of the Grammys last night? I caught a bit of the show, but did some more watching this morning online. If you missed it, here’s a rundown of the big winners last night (and a few random thoughts, ideas and even some freebies thrown in for fun).

ALBUM OF THE YEAR: “Babel” from Mumford & Sons (watch their Grammy performance above)
I’m a fan. So are most youth leaders I’ve talked to this year. Get our re:tuned discussion starter for “I Will Wait”.

RECORD OF THE YEAR: “Somebody That I Used to Know” from Gotye featuring Kimbra
It was one of the hottest songs of the year … the covers and mashups on YouTube were endless. And just in case you still struggle with how to pronounce the Australian singer’s name … here you go. You’re welcome. Download our re:tuned discussion starter for “Somebody That I Used To Know”.

Learn about the “re:tuned” feature in every Youth Leaders Only

SONG OF THE YEAR: “We Are Young” by fun.
This band also won Best New Artist this year. Their song “Some Nights was on my “Coffee Shop Playlist” not long ago.

BEST POP SOLO PERFORMANCE: “Set Fire to the Rain (Live)” by Adele
We’ll have to see if Adele wins the Academy Award (for “Skyfall”) later this month too … that’d be a pretty awesome start to the year for her.

BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM: “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson (watch her Grammy performance above)
In my subjective opinion, this may have been the best vocal performance of the night. Get our re:tuned discussion starter for the song “Stronger.”

BEST ROCK PERFORMANCE: ”Lonely Boy” by The Black Keys (watch their Grammy performance above)
The addition of Dr. John and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band was kind of cool — one of the fun things about the Grammys is the unexpected musical pairings we get to see and hear. Get our re:tuned discussion starter for “Lonely Boy”.

BEST SHORT FORM MUSIC VIDEO: “We Found Love” by Rihanna Featuring Calvin Harris
I honestly can’t say much I haven’t already said … read the blog post about “We Found Love”, and the post “We’ve come a long way from ‘Friday Night Videos‘.”

BEST GOSPEL ALBUM: “Gravity” by Lecrae
My response to this one? WOOHOO!!! We first featured Lecrae in Youth Leaders Only in 2006, and we’re excited to see him honored for his talent … not because he needs the hardware, but because of the platform it provides for his message. Watch the video for “Tell The World” from Gravity and get our exclusive Bible study for the song.

“Eye On It” was another chart topper this year, landing atop the Billboard chart in September (the first time a Christian album did that since 1997).  Watch the video for “Forgiveness” from the album “Eye On It” and get our free Bible study.

TobyMac and Lecrae are both featured on this year’s brand new ConGRADulations! Class of 2013 gift for seniors

You can find a complete list of the 2013 Grammy winners here. How about you … did you have a favorite moment or song from the broadcast? Any big surprises or let-downs from the show? Feel free to share in the comments.

All of these resources have been featured in recent editions of Youth Leaders Only. Learn more about how you can join and get great music, discussion starters and more to use in your student ministry.

My coffee shop playlist (part 1 of 2)

About once a week I pack up my “office” and work at the neighborhood coffee shop. A change of scenery, a little social interaction and a great latte are sometimes just what I need to knock down my to do list. After a few minutes of chat, I usually lock in some music and let my headphones act as a “do not disturb” sign. Last week, instead of picking something from my playlist or the new YLO box, I opened up Spotify and let their “Top Tracks” playlist roll.

An eye (ear) opening experience
If you don’t already, I’d suggest you do this once in a while. It’s a good way to get a 30,000 foot view of what your students are hearing every day — not just the one or two hits-of-the-moment that you can’t avoid. But be warned, many of these songs earned their “explicit” label. This is not a playlist your church secretary is going to be thrilled to hear. You’ll want to have your headphones on, or be in your office with the door closed.

Here are a few songs I heard. I’ve put links to the lyrics on all of these and given you an excerpt for some. And in a few places I’ve offered some commentary … ’cause I just can’t help myself.

Payphone by Maroon 5

Some Nights by Fun.
I really like the sound of Fun. But the lyrics run along the soul-searching-what-am-I-here-for theme of so many other songs. Good news is, we have an answer for the question.

But I still wake up, I still see your ghost
Oh Lord, I’m still not sure what I stand for
What do I stand for? What do I stand for?
Most nights, I don’t know anymore…

Rack City by Tyga
If you make it through the first verse of this one, you can skip the rest … just know the song is that x10.

What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction
Yes, I know, it’s boy-band pop. But what a great way to start a discussion about self-esteem with a group of middle school girls.

Download our re:tuned discussion starter for “What Makes You Beautiful” from the brand new YLO88.

Young, Wild & Free by Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa feat. Bruno Mars
Heads up. It’s another sing-along-party-song. Do all your kids spend their weekends this way? Probably not (but some may). Do all your kids know the words to this song? Probably so (and they’re singing with gusto).

So what we get drunk?
So what we smoke weed?
We’re just having fun
We don’t care who sees
So what we go out?
That’s how its supposed to be
Living young and wild and free

If you want to check out these specific songs, I created a playlist on Spotify. Or do what I did and just check out their “Top Lists” playlist.

Do I even need to say this?
Just to go on the record, I’m not condoning the lyrics of these songs. And I don’t make the choice to listen to songs like “Rack City” lightly. But I know I can’t say “I get it” unless I really understand what “it” is.

There are a few more songs I listened to that I’ll talk about in another post. If you’re like me, you can only handle so much of this at one time.