Bradley Hathaway, is most known for his honest and heartfelt poetry. I've been a fan of his writing ever since I heard "The Hug Poem" from his first project "All The Hits So Far But Don't Expect Too Much". Lately, Bradley has been taking his gift for words and putting it to music. His latest project is a 4 song Ep entitled, "A Thousand Angry Panthers", which is filled with honest lyrics that tell a story set to an acoustic/folk sound.
The Ep opens with the song, "She Was Raised By A Man With A Sickness". A heartbreaking tale of a girl who was raised by a troubled father and couldn't accept love from anyone, including God. "For his love was too dangerous and how could he dare to love her, the unlovable, it just didn't seem fair." I was taken in right away with the revealing lyrics and the vulnerability in Bradley's voice. The soft acoustic guitar and cello make you feel the emotion in the song. I know so many girls, and people in general, who could probably relate to the girl in this song. It actually inspired a really good and honest conversation between my sister and I. I guess the most honest songs inspire the most honest conversation.
"Carolina", almost seems like a peaceful lullaby of truth on a lonely night. Bradley's voice sounds smooth and soothing as he sings the line, "And the wind brings you closer, and the wind brings you closer to me". The sound of the electric guitar brings a beautiful ending to this song. The almost moody sounding, "Would You Think Less Of Me", follows. The jazzy sound of the piano in the background brings a richer musical depth to this sparse song. The lyrics speak of loss and having to let go of someone you love, "So let me hold you in my arms again once more then I'm going to leave and forever close the door". It's at this point that you wonder if maybe all of these songs are about the lose of the same person. I don't want to read too much into the songs, but a lost love seems to be the common thread in this Ep.
The powerful, "The World Is Screaming", really ties it all together and is the perfect closer. This is probably the most up-tempo, as well as honest and bold song on the Ep. The lyrics in the first verse have Bradley lamenting the problems and heartaches of humanity, "A mother buries her new born son, and a father in his office holding a gun. A little girl touched in places she should never be. A little boy left to live alone in the streets...And the world is screaming." But the second verse speaks of the hope of a Savior that came to redeem this world. The song ends with loud, pounding drums and the powerful statement, "The world is screaming but you can't tell me nobody's listening". I must say I really appreciate Bradley's willingness to speak about issues that many people, especially Christians, tend to shy away from. And this song, as well as the Ep, touches on it all. Going to the very heart of our pain and brokenness and the only hope we have of being whole.
"A Thousand Angry Panthers" is an Ep full of so much brutal honesty and openness. These songs really showcase Bradley's amazing ability to tell a story and paint pictures with words that make you think, feel, and consider. It's as if he's opening a window into his world and inviting you to take a peak inside. What you find is stories so revealing and intriguing that you can't help but want to know how much is real and how much is fictional. But I suppose that's the mark of a good story teller and wordsmith. Be sure to head over to iTunes and purchase your copy!
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