Wednesday, July 6, 2011

3 Song 1st Person: Bringing it Back

So, basically I'm trying to keep writing. Not so much for anyone else, but basically just to keep myself in the habit. After I come back from traveling there's usually about a one week lag before I completely forget about writing. I don't want to lose it. So in between more "serious" posts, I'm going to bring back 3S1P. It's a writing exercise I gave myself a little while back. Simple rules: I hit shuffle, listen to the first 3 songs that play, write on the 3rd. So here goes...

1) "Table for Glasses" Jimmy Eat World
2) "" Eddie Vedder
3) "Handcuffs" Brand New

This was a really weird buildup to the 3rd track. You get this sort of angsty/lovesick track from Jimmy Eat World, this nostalgic little ditty from Vedder, and then BAM! Brand New hits you in the chest like a mack truck. The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me is easily my favorite Brand New album. It's also the hardest to listen to. This is usually the case when someone actually deals with what's going on inside their head with a very real honesty. Most of us are only fractionally honest when dealing with what's going on inside our heads. Jesse Lacey does not appear to be one of those people. A product of the NY private christian school system, Lacey's whole lyrical output for this album is filled with a sort of angry/confused/distraught/regretful look at the life that he came from. This isn't so much an album about being angry with the church. It's more an album about wondering whether or not you ever belonged in the church in the first place.

"Handcuffs" is one of those songs that deals directly with the demons within. It's an incredibly raw song where Lacey confronts the darker parts of his own personality. The parts of him that make him wonder what he would do if there were no consequences, no societal reason not to. It just might be the best look at what life looks like if there truly is no God I've ever seen. There's a despair that lurks underneath the song that's a common thread in the whole album. Lacey hates who he is, but doesn't know if he can be anyone else.

The whole song speaks to something that really bothers me about the church... yes I'm going there. Ok, maybe not "the church" but some churches that I've gone to. We have this very real tendency to act like we're sinful, but none of us are really all that messed up. This might be one of the most destructive philosophies going, because for those who are honest enough to realize their actually messed up (like we all are) it creates a feeling of isolation... a feeling that you have no business being in the church in the first place. I used to see it when I was in prayer ministry all the time. There were certain sermons where the pastor would say, "hey if anyone is struggling with _________ we'd love to pray for you" and no one would show. It was ridiculously frustrating, because you know that everyone is struggling with a lot more than they let on, but no one wants to lose face in front of the church. It's what leads people to create public "faces" that they think are more acceptable to their Christian friends. It's also one of those things that Jesus specifically condemns. See Luke 18.

So... yeah, the song is incredible musically, it's incredibly honest lyrically... which makes it really hard to listen to. But we probably should more often so that we chip away at those carefully crafted facades that we're trying so hard to maintain.

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