Yesterday I took a long drive to an appointment and enjoyed an entire hour of listening to music in the car. I listened to a mix CD Bryan made, and it was the first opportunity I’d had to really listen to the words. I found myself gravitating toward four specific songs, and skipped through the CD to each of those songs over and over again. What can I say? It was a vibe.
What follows is not a review, but rather a collection of thoughts about how this music drew me in. I hope you will take the opportunity to listen by following the links, because I love to share music!
Braided Hair – Speech (from The Vagabond)
I like this song because it acknowledges that life is not a straight line between A and B, but rather our paths are twisting and intertwining – like braids of hair. It’s an allusion to embracing the pile I’m standing in, whether I created that pile in my own stupidity or whether it was dumped on me, because in the end it’s how we deal with life that dictates how we get through the piles. (The following lyrics may be a little sketchy – I couldn’t find them anywhere on the internet so these are from listening with my naked ear!)
We all got things that hang on our back
Things that make us cool
Things that make us wack
Things that make us bad
Things we wish we never had
But the jist of things that make us real
Are the maps to God where we go from here
The road twists and braids like hair
Until we all get there
Outrageous – Paul Simon (from Surprise)
This song starts out so cranky and cantankerous – very Ecclesiastical. I’m tired. I work hard. Does anyone care what I say? My hair is going gray. And the realization of, Who’s gonna love you when your looks are gone? Then:
like he waters the flowers on your window sill
I’m an ordinary player in the key of C
And my will
Was broken by my pride and vanity
Crazy – Gnarls Barkley (from St. Elswhere)
The tone of this song is like that of an older man reflecting on what he’s learned. He first says he remembers when he lost his mind, that there was something pleasant about that place. Then, in the second verse it’s like he’s schooling some punk kid who thinks he’s all that, only he does it was grace. Here’s the second verse:
C’mon now who do
Who do you
Who do you
Who do you think you are?
Ha! Ha! Ha!
Bless your soul!
You really think you’re in control?
Well, I think you’re crazy!
Just like me.
I love the chuckle. I love the straightforwardness of it. I love the confidence of knowing who you are now because of where you’ve been.
Pass Me Over – Anthony Hamilton (from Ain’t Nobody Worryin’)
This song has significant lyrics for me, but I’ll admit that it’s an emotional song. I literally play it over and over and over again in the car because its soulfulness leads me into a place of reflection. Plus I love love love music with choral elements to it, and there is a choir repeating the phrase ‘pass me over’ toward the end. In its repetition I have found myself reflecting on THE Passover in the Bible when the Angel of Death stole the breath of all first born sons except those whose doors were covered by the sign of the blood. I know this will sound cheesy to some, but when I listen to this song I feel immersed in the protection of God, and that is very comforting.
Don’t be afraid
He who knows will make a way
His word alone is what has kept me
Born a son, King of eternal peace
Lay your burdens down