Award-winning youth group rock band Stellar Kart inspires listeners to strive for greatness, taking comfort in God's enduring faithfulness, on its third studio album, 2008's Expect The Impossible.
Produced by Ian Eskelin (Krystal Meyers, All Star United), who additionally co-wrote alongside lead singer Adam Agee on eight of the album's 11 tracks, Expect The Impossible is more sonically diverse than the band's previous projects, intended to connect with a wider audience.
"Sonically, we wanted to shoot for a broader sound," says Eskelin. "Stellar Kart has never been afraid to challenge the current trend, so we decided to incorporate some new elements. This album will please the band's die-hard punk fans while offering something to straight-up pop and rock lovers as well. The goal is to meet listeners where they are, driving an emotional connection to the music."
Among the project's recurring themes is that of striving to achieve one's best self in Christ. For instance, "Shine Like The Stars" calls believers to emanate God's light in all circumstances, while "I Give Up" reflects the need for complete submission to Him. Also prevalent is the message of God's faithfulness to those who love Him. "Sunshine" likens God to sunshine on a rainy day, and "Pray" urges listeners to "hold on to the promise that help is on the way."
"We talk with kids after concerts and are always hearing from youth leaders about the issues facing teens today," says frontman Agee. "We wanted to write songs that would address such topics and encourage kids to expect God to work in their daily lives."
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Best Album by Stellar Kart| Posted October 20, 2008 Stellar Kart is an interesting Rock-Punk band. The mid 2000's has seen fellow rockers Hawk Nelson, Eleventyseven and The Rocket Summer emerge in an attempt to appeal to the wide success of influencer Relient K. Clearly Stellar Kart and Hawk Nelson are still striving to improve and although the songs are ear candy, they don't really challenge you like their great influencer. However, if you liked Relient K's first three albums before their breakout success MmHmm, then you should enjoy Expect The Impossible.
Innocent, The Right One and I Give Up are prime examples of nice melodic songs with not too much substance. Dove Award Winning Producer Ian Eskelin has produced an accessible album and his influence appears more on a couple of the stand-out songs Pray and Sunshine, both uplifting tracks sounding somewhat like early All Star United, which is promising. The first single Jesus Loves You is in essence another re-write of the big hit Me and Jesus. The song I keep coming back to is Shine Like The Stars based on Philippians 2:14-16. The song actually starts and ends with a 1980's style synthesizer intro like Van Halen along with the next song Eyes. A bit more substance than the first two albums and the best overall album by Stellar Kart in my opinion.
MILDLY MORE MATURE, BUT STILL MISSES THE MARK| Posted September 29, 2008
Though Stellar Kart’s brand of mall punk might not possess enough punches to keep the genre’s purists coming back for more, the band consistently connects with the youth group crowd. On its third effort, Expect the Impossible (again featuring Ian Eskelin as producer), the players incorporate additional angles of pop, modern rock and upbeat punk. The result is a palatable, though in many cases, still too simple sonic and spiritual outpourings. Opening cut “Innocent” and “Eyes,” are examples of noticeable growth, anchored by synth-slapped dance grooves reminiscent of ASU, Fountains of Wayne and Motion City Soundtrack.
Yet there are still several examples of generics, most glaringly the power ballad “Jesus Loves You,” which may intend to spread an evangelistic message, but gets lost in cheesy delivery (not to mention recycling a similar formula as 2007’s Dove Award-winning single “Me and Jesus”). The power pop streaked “Sunshine” abounds with palatable harmonies, but it’s a little too perky for its own good. Luckily the escalating “Letters” brings up the rear with a more memorable flare (addressing the topic of loneliness over emotional drum rolls and orchestration), but still can’t provide enough steam to make Stellar Kart’s latest a full step forward. - Andy Argyrakis
This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from CCMMagazine.com. Click here to visit CCMMagazine.com today!
Stellar Kart [Expect The Impossible]| Posted September 24, 2008
Before listening through to Stellar Kart’s most recent release, Expect the Impossible, I wasn’t as familiar with them other then the song “Me & Jesus” that I heard on the radio a lot, and that I really liked I might add. I guess the style of music is what I never really got into. Stellar Kart fits snug into the ‘punk rock’ scene, but this group stuck out compared to the likes of their punk-counterparts. With groups out there such as Hawk Nelson & Family Force 5, the punk scene really seemed to be missing a vital and essential part that makes it “Christian” punk and not mainstream. That would be the message. I didn’t have to look too far to find it either.
Just a little member info on the group for you, Stellar Kart who hails from Phoenix, Arizona consists of lead singer and guitarist, Adam Agee; Cody Pellerin on guitar; Jordan Messer on drums and Brian Calcara on the bass.
The album starts out with a song that I believe could speak directly to the teens of today’s world. Peer pressure has run amuck in today’s society and I think teens face it more then any other age group. Always feeling like they need to conform to fit in. An important thing to remember is brought out in the second verse. “Boys and girls / The real world / Is one that’s filled with / Consequence / And all the lies that glamorize / It’s a life that’s broken”. It continues into a pre-chorus with words of encouragement to those having trouble trying to lead a godly life. “… What’s wrong with being different?” Good question. Don’t let someone make you feel bad for living your life for Christ. You’ll be rewarded for your obedience. Remember that.
“Automatic” is another song that contains a good message. Wouldn’t be cool if we could just ‘automatically’ do things the way God intended for us? As intriguing and as much headache as it would save sometimes the point is, we’re not robots. God created us to make our own choices, walk our own paths and even whether or not to believe in His existence. One of the songs verses points out an aspiration of what our lives should be about. “I wanna love You like its automatic / Make You into my good habit / You’re the only One who really matters”. I also like the line about Yanks always in the playoffs. I’m a Rays fan, so the Yanks being in the AL East always irks me too!
As cliché as it sounds to some, the phrase “Jesus loves you” is always a phrase I welcome to hear. The group kind of spins off of We Can’t Stand Sitting Down’s big single, “Me & Jesus” into another song reminding us of our Savior’s love for us. Need I say anything else? Remember, Jesus loves you. He died for you so that we may have that eternal life (John 3:16) for all that believe. Someone must love me a lot to lay down His life for a sinner like me!
“Sunshine” is another one of those ‘feel good’ tracks that just gets you up even in those times where a drop of rain ruins your day. And yet another reminder that Jesus loves us! The music on the track is catchy too.
The one thing I have had hard times coming to grip with problems is, sometimes the only thing I can do is pray. “Pray” is a reminder that the only thing sometimes that we can do is pray and allow the Lord to work. He may not always answer in the way or timing that you would want, but take advice from the chorus of the song, “Pray / Sit back and watch the scenery change / Hold on to the promise that help is on the way / Pray”. It’s amazing what a prayer can do, amen?
I could go on and on about this CD, but if you made it this far through my book… I mean album review; you can pretty much gather from the review that I think ‘Expect the Impossible’ is a good album. I think the main message of the album is to put God first, allow Him to work in your life and just sit back and see what He can do in your lives. The album title is appropriate for the context of the album’s message. We have a God who can and will. Mark 10:27 is a constant reminder of this. “…With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.”
Musically I was surprised I could find a ‘punk’ album so enjoyable to listen to. I didn’t know what I was in store for, but after having spent 40 minutes listening, I was quite impressed with what I heard. A lot of the music was catchy but most importantly it rocked. I am a sucker for some catchy rock guitars and some cool sound effects. I’m easily pacified I guess! I even thought for a split second when I heard the beginning of “Eyes” I was listening to a Van Halen cover. No, sorry to disappointment. No Van Halen covers, but if you like those, Stellar Kart does a decent punk-style cover of Bon Jovi’s “Livin on a Prayer” on their debut album, All Gas. No Brakes.
I was really impressed with Expect the Impossible. I have to admit, the Christian punk scene has really lacked in the ‘message department’. I guess Christian music doesn’t have to be about Christ anymore. The point is Stellar Kart delivers a great album balanced with great music and an equally great message. I would suggest this one to any who are looking for something cool to listen to and wants to be ministered to while be entertained. The lyrics are simple but yet effective in making the listener know what the band wants to say.
Rating: 9.3 out of 10 (93%, A-)
Review written by: Jay Heilman
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Expect the Predictable| Posted August 01, 2008
It took a week plus, one to, record Stellar Karts sophomore album (which is conveniently named We can’t Stand Sitting Down) and it was barely a year after their debut. But now Stellar Kart has taken their time to make an album that was of better quality. As a result of that more than a few songs were cut because of Stellar Karts knack for making a few tracks that are a wee to repetitive. What left is a ten track album called Expect the Impossible.
Frontman Adam Agee cut down the amount of punk in their latest to allow for a more ‘80s pop rock style to attract more fans while keeping their old fans as well. It sounds like Stellar Kart has been taking lessons from Hawk Nelson on a couple songs, most prominently on the first and last tracks. The first single, “Jesus loves you” sounds like a cheesy remake of their previous hit “me and Jesus” in an attempt to recreated the success. And while the song did make it into the top five songs it didn’t have the same musical spark or lasting effect that “me and Jesus” had. The album overall, with a few exceptions, struggles with keeping the tune smooth as former albums, the result from making the pop rock a main piece of their music as opposed to the punk. “Innocent” is a fun up beat pop rock beat but it doesn’t sound cutting edge.
Unfortunately most of the songs follow a similar pattern of music which allows a individual song to stand on its own but “sunshine” and “automatic” sound very similar and neither are very compelling. The single “shine like the stars” starts like softly as if preparing for an explosion (funny that “I give up” starts that same way) and it does into the hardest song, but still edgy, on the album, and really the only one that can be called rock. the intro to “eyes” in snappy, and it’s just a prelude to a catchy song that flows very nicely. While the final song “letters” might have been preformed y someone more professional at doing ballads, the song is nice and Stellar Kart showed a lot of passion on it.
The lyrics have never been a source or real complexity for Stellar Kart, as their basic messages more often than not are too cliché. And while Agee says the lyrics are still ‘simple’ and ‘direct’ they do seem to have a little more on their stuff than ‘life is good/ eternal life is better’. While “Innocent” brings up an interesting point (‘I know why the good old days are gone/Cause everyone just tolerates what's wrong’), “Jesus Loves you” isn’t nearly as weak or repetitive as the title suggests. One of the few songs in Christian music that considers prayer, “pray” encourages prayer, plus “i give up” is all about sacrifice for God. Stellar Kart may not be Relient K when it comes to witty writing but there are a few amusing lines like ‘I surrender/ I’m raising my white flag’ (“I give up”) and ‘sure as a Phoenix sun rise/ and the Yanks in the playoffs every year’ (“automatic). Not so many clichés this time around but still there are some weak points like “the right one” and “sunshine” (‘hey you are my sunshine/on a rainy day it will be okay’). “letters” is also a nice addition.
Agee wanted something for everyone including sounds from Linkin Park and Simple Plan. But that really didn’t bleed through as their quality wasn’t even close to them or their Christian peers like Hawk Nelson, Eleventyseven, or Everyday Sunday. After three albums Stellar Kart should be passed the stage that they have been in for a while now, and while the lyrics are more advanced the music and themes are a little subpar on Expect the Impossible.
Even better| Posted August 09, 2013
Stellar Kart brings it back big time with Expect the Impossible. It takes evrything that made the first two albums good and blends them to perfection with this album. The second half of this album is awesome and is some of thier best stuff to date!
Like musical fudge...| Posted February 12, 2010
...rich, tasty, and nearly perfect!
This third album by SK is, in my opinion, easily better than their previous works! They have a spectacular lineup of songs with track after track a unique masterpiece of music. They keep the energy cranking through each and every tune up until a bit of a "cool-down" song at the end, which has a sort of quiet intensity at times that matches the feel of the album. The only possible fault in the album is the slight cheesiness of some of the lyrics, which i find easily forgivable. They keep the words fun, but they deliver a message with each song. Lots of band like the whole "open for interpritation" style, (or as i call it: nearly meaningless) Stellar Kart gets their points across crystal-clearly! Which was a step up from We Can't Stand Sitting Down, if you ask me...
"Innocent" kicks it off as one of the best on the cd, followed by the deja vu experience of "Automatic", which should've been a few tracks away from "Innocent", but whatever... it's still cool! "Pray", "Me and Jesus", and "Letters" are the least rocky on the cd and are definitely not worse because of it! "Shine Like the Stars" is a sweet song with a rock/techno feel to it thanks to the synths fused with the guitars. "The Right One", "Eyes", and "Sunshine" are more upbeat with a touch of the feel you got from "Innocent" thrown in, but without making them sound the same.
I could go on, but i have no idea if you're still even reading this or not. So i'll just end by saying this album rocks, is amazing, and you need to get it. Like, now. Right now. Immediately. As in, fire up iTunes or open a new tab and buy it off Amazon...
Not their best....| Posted February 11, 2010
Being Stellar Kart's 3rd album they breakout into the Christian music world with their success of "Me and Jesus" from their comically named album "We Can't Stand Sitting Down".
A lot of the songs on this CD sound the same but some standout tracks include "Innocent", "Jesus Loves You" and also the Van-Halen synth opener song "Eyes". This is not an excellent album but it is not horrible. They are actually quite good live and I am sure that "Shine Like The Stars" will send chills through your spine when your hear it live.
SK's best album by far!| Posted July 13, 2009
I can always come back to this album and enjoy it just as much as I did the first time. This album is by far their best. I feel that they took a huge step with Expect The Impossible. When I first heard the intro to "Eyes", I didn't know quite what to think, but I instantly fell in love. You don't hear songs like that everyday. The lyrics are meaningful and the songs are crazy fun to dance to, makes for a great album!
My Favorite CD!| Posted June 23, 2009
This was the first Stellar Kart CD I bought, and I also think it is the best! "Expect The Impossible" has a great, clear message in the songs as well as an upbeat and catchy sound. I would recommend this album to anybody who enjoys rock or pop. Songs like "Automatic" and "The Right One" have a pop sound to them, while other songs like "Shine Like The Stars" and "I Give Up" have a rock sound to them. There are also some slower songs, such as "Pray" and "Letters" that are great along with the rest of the album. It is a great CD to listen to over and over again!
All of the songs also have a clear, understandable, Christian message in them, which makes "Expect The Impossible" truly worthwhile to listen to.
If you enjoy "Expect The Impossible", then I recommend that you take a look at Stellar Kart's other CD's, "All Gas. No Brake.", and "We Can't Stand Sitting Down".