Posts Tagged ‘music’

I’m wide awake and I can see

Not exactly a Sunday Sermon today, but since I’m watching the team I grew up rooting for (Packers) playing against the team I rooted for in the ’90s when I was living in Maryland (‘Skins), this meditation on “Torn” seems somehow appropriate:

Thanks to Reddit (yes, I know, they’re my source for lots of stuff), I now realize that a song I always sort of liked, Natalie Imbruglia’s (cover version of) “Torn,” is actually an atheist anthem. Well, maybe not “anthem,” more like “confessional” or something more personal. Still pretty cool. And sure, there’s some wiggle-room on interpretation, but lines like “I’m all out of faith” and “I should have seen just what was there and not some holy light” are pretty blatant, not to mention the opening line.  Here are the lyrics:

I thought I saw a man brought to life
He was warm
He came around
And he was dignified
He showed me what it was to cry

Well you couldn’t be that man I adored
You don’t seem to know
Or seem to care
What your heart is for
I don’t know him anymore

There’s nothin’ where he used to lie
My conversation has run dry
That’s what’s going on
Nothings right
I’m torn

I’m all out of faith
This is how I feel
I’m cold and I am shamed
Lying naked on the floor
Illusion never changed
Into something real
I’m wide awake and I can see the perfect sky is torn
You’re a little late
I’m already torn

So I guess the fortune tellers right
I should have seen just what was there and not some holy light
But you crawled beneath my veins
And now, I don’t care
I have no luck
I don’t miss it all that much
There’s just so many things
That I can’t touch
I’m torn

There’s nothin’ where he used to lie
My inspiration has run dry
That’s what’s going on
Nothing’s right
I’m torn

Choral riff

The MeFi thread on this fascinating Brian Eno interview seems to keep coming back to an offhand remark Eno makes about singing in a gospel choir even though he’s an atheist.

There’s a lot of interesting back-and-forth between those who can’t quite wrap their minds around the concept, or who think it’s hypocritical, and those (usually those actually involved in music) who point out that they sing words they don’t mean all the time.

I have to say, I don’t see the problem. If you’re a grownup without kids (and thus nobody who needs to be lied to), is there something wrong with singing a song about Santa Claus during the holiday season? Is it immoral or hypocritical for Jonathan Coulton to cover Leonard Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat,” including the end line “Sincerely, L. Cohen”?

Music’s about a lot more than just lyrics, but lyrics make it so people can make music without learning an instrument and without just singing “la la la” on every song. Not every song’s lyrics are as brilliant as JoCo’s or TMBG’s, but just because “the lyrics are dodgy” doesn’t mean you should shut yourself away from the majesty of Bach’s B Minor Mass or the passion of Mozart’s Requiem or the joy of a really good choir singing about Jesus.

P.S. The video at the top of the post has a pretty good joke right around 2:45. It’s worth waiting for.