Monday, March 30, 2009

The Anatomy of Music Part 4......

Yesterday was not quite what it could've been
As were most of all the days before
But I swear today, with every breath I'm breathing in
I'll be trying to make it so much more

'Cause it seems I get so hung up on the history of what's gone wrong
And the hope of a new day is sometimes hard to see
But I'm finally catching on to it, yeah, the past is just a conduit
And the light, there at the end is where I'll be

'Cause I'm on the up and up, I'm on the up and up
And I haven't given up, given up on what I know I'm capable of
Yeah, I'm on the up and up and yeah, there's nothing left to prove
'Cause I'm just trying to be a better version of me for you
A better version of me for you

To be prosperous would not require much of me
You see, contentment is the one thing it entails
To be content with where I am and getting where I need to be
And moving past the past where I have failed

Never cease to supply me with what I need for a good life
So when I'm down, I'll hold my head up high
'Cause you're the reason why, yeah, you're why

Up and Up – Relient K

Here’s another secular song that I’d like to “analyze”. First off, I love this song. The sound is great, it’s acoustical guitar with some other instruments and it simply sounds amazing in my opinion. If you care that much you can look it up yourself and, well, decide for yourself.

Yesterday was not quite what it could've been
As were most of all the days before
But I swear today, with every breath I'm breathing in
I'll be trying to make it so much more

So, this guy is yearning to start anew. The first two lines show his disappointment in his life, and what he’s done. The second two lines then show what he’s going to do about it. “I’ll be trying to make it so much more.” He’s going to start over again and get back on track with his life. This is a great feat to begin on, after all, I’ve had to do it for a while now too, and it should be done when someone finally realizes his or her foolishness. The question is, what is he wanting to get back on track with?

'Cause it seems I get so hung up on the history of what's gone wrong
And the hope of a new day is sometimes hard to see
But I'm finally catching on to it, yeah, the past is just a conduit
And the light, there at the end is where I'll be

He obviously knows that it’s not going to be easy, whatever it is that he wants to change into. He says that he’s finally got it; he knows what his mission is. And, he knows that the journey will be long for he uses a different form of the old phrase, “The light at the end of the tunnel”.

'Cause I'm on the up and up, I'm on the up and up
And I haven't given up, given up on what I know I'm capable of
Yeah, I'm on the up and up and yeah, there's nothing left to prove
'Cause I'm just trying to be a better version of me for you
A better version of me for you

Ahhh... now we have it don’t we? The first three lines sound great. He’s on the up and up, he’s going to in the right direction now. He’s not going to give it up either, he’s going to persevere. He also says that there’s nothing left to prove. Meaning, he doesn’t have to show off anymore, he doesn’t have to prove himself. What about the last two lines? “I’m just trying to be a better version of me for you,” So... who is he trying to be better for? His girlfriend. We all knew of course that he wasn’t talking to God in this song, but think about it, doesn’t this fact make this song useless now? He doesn’t want to change so that he can be a better person, or a respectable person, he wants to change so that his girlfriend will like him more.

To be prosperous would not require much of me
You see, contentment is the one thing it entails
To be content with where I am and getting where I need to be
And moving past the past where I have failed

Goodness gracious, wouldn’t this song be great if he were talking to God? The truth is that we must be content; God has called us to be content!
Philippians 4:11 “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”
Hebrews 13:5 “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”
He is totally right with this part of the song. We must be content with where we are, and at the same time work harder to move away from past mistakes where we’ve failed, and set our eyes on the goal. But once again, is he really right when he says this? If his true goal is to make his girlfriend love him more not really change the way God calls us to, he’s wrong isn’t he? Or is he?

Never cease to supply me with what I need for a good life
So when I'm down, I'll hold my head up high
'Cause you're the reason why, yeah, you're why

If he were talking about God I would agree, but he isn’t. He is turning his girlfriend into an idol. Saying that she’s the only reason why he’s living. Not only this but he’s telling her to keep giving him what he needs for a “good” life. Can she give him that? She can give him things that will make him feel good for a while, but only God can bring the true peace, and a true life.

I wanted to talk about this simple song for this reason: I would like to encourage you to look at your life. Do you have idols? God says we mustn’t, but I feel that this generation seems to think that the idols he was talking about were statues. Well, they aren’t my friends. An idol can be something in your life that distracts you from God. No matter what it is, whether it does happen to be a young man or woman, or a video game, another book even. Please, examine your life, and ask yourself, “Do I have any idols in my life that are tearing me away from God?” If you happen to find one, which I’m thinking you might, then talk to your parents, or talk to God. Do both if you must and see what you can do to either get rid of the idol, or but it in the background so that God is at the forefront of your life.

Once again, if you want to answer any questions I posed, or if you want to share anything having to do with this you can e-mail me at justin.knopp@gmail.com or just comment! I would love to hear from you.
God bless, and stay strong!
-JK

P.S.

Psa 25:1 Of David. To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
Psa 25:2 O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me.
Psa 25:3 Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
Psa 25:4 Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.
Psa 25:5 Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.
Psa 25:6 Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old.
Psa 25:7 Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!
Psa 25:8 Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
Psa 25:9 He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.
Psa 25:10 All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
Psa 25:11 For your name's sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great.
Psa 25:12 Who is the man who fears the LORD? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.
Psa 25:13 His soul shall abide in well-being, and his offspring shall inherit the land.
Psa 25:14 The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.
Psa 25:15 My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
Psa 25:16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.
Psa 25:17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses.
Psa 25:18 Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.
Psa 25:19 Consider how many are my foes, and with what violent hatred they hate me.
Psa 25:20 Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
Psa 25:21 May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.
Psa 25:22 Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.

20 comments:

JustinK said...

I was listening to this song and realized that the lyrics weren’t lining up in my mind. So I came back down to the computer, looked at it and sure enough, they weren’t right! I feel incredibly dumb, do forgive me.
On a better note though, the verse that was wrong is much better with the new lyrics, it gives me something to talk about. :-)

Here they are:

Now I have, all that I could ever need,
The confidence of knowing there’s still time
Time to make amends, and try to build a better me
And to take the right steps as this road unwinds

Knowing there’s still time... Let me ask you this, is there still time? Aren’t we supposed to act as if every day is out last? I do like how he says he’s going to take the right steps as this road unwinds, very nice lyrics.

Anyway, I just wanted to clear that up, sorry for any confusion. And please, let’s get some discussion going! :-)
Thank you
-JK

Lo said...

'Cause it seems I get so hung up on the history of what's gone wrong
And the hope of a new day is sometimes hard to see

This is so true for me. I tend to live in the past sometimes and so I don't see the bright future i have ahead of me. All I see are the mistakes i have made and things i have messed up. I forget that once I have talked with God and asked His forgiveness I do not have to worry or even think about those things again.
Thank the Lord that His mercies are new every morning because i contiune to mess up.

Thanks for your thoughts I love reading them!

-ljhs

Anonymous said...

well, i agree with most of your points, but there were a few statements that seemingly (to me) took it too far on your response. those being the ones you say that matt is thinking of something or someone... when i don't think you can be sure... anyways, i love this song, and i think you'll understand it better when you get the girl that changes your life forever... i think God made it that way, God made it so that he can satisfy someone with a "soul mate". ;) lol... yeah, anyways... those are my thoughts for now ;)

Quinton said...

I agree with the previous Anonymous poster.

JustinK said...

These are great points!
Allow me to pose this question to you though:
What is the purpose of a teen? (meaning, ages 13-17) What is our purpose?
I have an answer, I would like to see yours.
-JK

emily said...

Our purpose? Ohkay...

Our #1 purpose in life is to bring God the glory in everything, right?

Secondly, I believe that as teens, we're to respect the authority above us, i.e., our parents.

I also know that younger eyes (siblings, their friends) are looking up to us, and we need to portray ourselves in a way that they would want to be like us--Godly examples.

And also, as teenagers, outside of the home, we do represent our families to an extent. With this said, we should present ourselves in a way that people would see a difference between us sons/daughters of Christ, and "secular" children. I'm not trying to be offensive to those who aren't believers...I'm just saying that people should be able to sense a difference between the two. Does that make any sense? :-/

That's just a few of my thoughts :)...sorry if I veered off subject. :) -em

JustinK said...

Ahhh yes.... you have covered the basics. BUT... you left out the most important part of being a teen! Isn't our main purpose in life right now to learn? That would be why we're doing school 24/7. :-) We are to learn the wordly things, such as math, writing, history. But, this is also the time where we can learn more and more about God! Right now is when we can retain things easiest. My mother has told me many times through the years how she wished she could memorize scripture easier. She wants to so bad, she spends hour, after hour, sitting there, trying to get one little verse. Us teenagers? We could memorize a chapter in a couple of days if we put our minds to it. It this stage in life where school, learning, that kind of thing must be the forefront of our lives. Not love relationships, or computer games. Yes, we can all take a break now and then but those things should not be where our heart sits all week long.

What do you think?
-JK

Allitrya Spelling said...

Uh... Reliant K is a Christian band, Justin.... Just so you know.
Also... It doesn't specifically say he's talking to his girlfriend. He's just talking to someone. And if someone makes you want to be a better person, why is that a bad thing? My best friend makes me want to be a better person. My parents make me want to be a better person.
And he's not saying his girlfriend or this person is more important than God, but just that they make him want to live better.
Yeah, so... those are my two cents.
I have a question for you... Does every song need to talk about God in order to be Christian, or is it the view point expressed in the lyrics that matters more?

emily said...

Ohhhhhhh...I like the point you brought up. Yes, I listen to some music which wouldn't categorize as being "Christian". Yet, some of the lyrics do express things which could be taken as being "Christian". does that make sense?

For example, Fireflight has a song, "Brand New Day..." Mmmkay, from the title, you could turn it into being...once you accept Christ, it is a "brand new day". Clearly, whether or not bands put their music into certain genres, lyrics can express things in strong ways.

@Justin: Ooops. Sorry. =) Education does play a huge role in our teenage years. Sometimes I wish it didn't. =) But, with what I was saying in my previous comment, we are a representation of our families. Meaning, even through online classes, etc., we do portray our family.

My brain's a total fuzz right now, I've gotta lot on my mind. So, forgive me if this post is all over the place... hope it somewhat makes sense.. -em

JustinK said...

Thank you Allitrya! :-)
This was exactly the point I was trying to get at. Yes, I do know they are Christians. But it was this point that I was trying to make. If you cannot tell it's a song directed toward God, or someone in particular it would be a potentially dangerous song. Have any of you heard any songs by Vanessa Carlton? I listen to her stuff and it's like all one big riddle.
The idea I was getting at though was once again that we need to be careful. The reason I didn't say all this out right was because there wasn't any discussion going on. Now there is! :-) This makes me very, very happy. I am not sure who "Up and Up" was directed towards, but if you look at the majority of the songs that Relient K has written that seem like "lover songs" they seem to be directed toward a girlfriend or some such person. Like, "Curl Up and Die", or, "At Least We Made it This Far".
@ Allitrya - I think if you're a Christian it would be smart to bend your lyrics toward God. But at the same time I don't see any problem with writing "secular" songs as long as they don't push to far into the realm of secularism. Does that make sense?

@ Emily - Don't worry about it. Though, I to wish sometimes that education wasn't there! :-) Not really though, cause, where would I be? Anyway, I do like what you said though about our role as teens. It is very true. Also, I like what you said abut Fireflight. It somewhat annoys me when I hear about songs like that. They sound so "Christian" but aren't. I would rather there be a distinct lyrics-based difference between the two categories. What do you folks things?
I love to see how many comments there are! This discussion is so encouraging!
-Justin

Allitrya Spelling said...

Why would it be dangerous? I don't see the connection.
Whether it's for GOd or a girlfriend, the message is still good.
And what would you define as a secular song?
I listen to alot of non-christian artists (like Emily said) that have good messages in their songs. I would argue that it doesn't matter if the song is specifically "Christian" Or "secular" as long as the mindset portrayed is alined with God's word. It doesn't have to talk about God to be a godly song.
What would you consider too far into the realm of secularism (aside from the obvious, songs with wrong morality, which are wrong all the way around.)
~Allie

JustinK said...

Yes... I belive I haven't portrayed my views as strongly as I could have. For this I apologize. I did not mean to say that if it's secular it's bad, or anything such as that.

What I meant was that we must be careful not to truly take to heart those immoral songs, (as you mentioned). I feel that we should embrace the Godly, "God-based" songs more so than the other type of songs. I too feel that it doesn't have to talk to God to be a song worthy of serious consideration. Such as those various song you might find that they to, for lack of a better example, feed the poor and needy. For, even though this song may not be necessarily meant to be a Christian song, it is still displaying Christian principles.

Also, you said and I quote, "Whether it's for GOd or a girlfriend, the message is still good." I don't really believe this to be true. I think that if you are doing something simply to receive worldly praise that you are doing it for the wrong purpose. I don't go to a music competition to receive praises, or awards, I go to them to glorify God, and show others how God has worked in my life. The praises are, say, a plus that God has given to me. Yes, the ideas may not be "bad" but still, we shouldn't be doing things in the world so as to be known by the world, we should do all things for the glory of God. Do you agree?

But, in the end I don't mind these songs. The songs I mind are those that are immoral, or explicitly dispel God. Such as one Metallica song I heard a while back where the lead singer was literally flipping God off through each and every chorus while denying His glory and grace. (And yes, it was a video, that's how I know). Anyway, I do hope I made my position a little clearer.

Bring on the question! :-) I hope to have a new post up soon.
Thank you!
-Justin

emily said...

Okay...::sighs:: wow. There's so much I could say, but I just don't know what I should and shouldn't bring up.

Allitrya, you said that if the song is or isn't Christian, it's the message that matters. With that said, I agree to an extent. Music has a lot to do with the forming of our countenance, etc. I can say I don't listen to hymns 24/7, but, I also don't listen to 3 Doors Down all the time either.

There's something to be said about immersing ourselves in Christ. One way to do so = soaking in praise.

Okay. Regarding "secularism". There are different genres of music, different artists, etc. For instance, certain songs are clearly beyond the point of being Godly---Katy Perry. Certain music is easily defined as being Satanic. Other music, which is labeled as being secular, can have a message defined as Christian. With that said, there's the band, The Fray. Their song, "You Found Me", does have controversial debates of whether or not it should be characterized as being Christian.

"You found me...." Can be taken that God found us, right? I guess, I'm trying to say, that even if two songs are both labeled as being pop/rock, they can portray things which relate to Christ.

There's a difference between Black Eyed Peas and The Fray. They may both be labeled in the same genre, but the message portrayed in black eyed peas is opposing to what the Fray is trying to say. That doesn't mean one's right and the other is wrong, it means we need to use discernment in what we're going to fill our minds with.

This is a longg comment, but I should add the fact that songs can have catchy lyrics--in the lyrics can be things which are clearly against glorifying Christ. This is how Satan can work sometimes--through the media. In the end, whether or not music is labeled as "secular" or not, using discernment is important.

Hope this makes sense. :) -em

Quinton said...

Justin said: "Also, you [Amber] said and I quote, "Whether it's for GOd or a girlfriend, the message is still good." I don't really believe this to be true."

Justin- I think you totally cut off the most important part of what she was saying... she went on to say (and i quote): "I would argue that it doesn't matter if the song is specifically "Christian" Or "secular" as long as the mindset portrayed is alined with God's word."

I would agree that you can have songs written to God, or to your girl/boy friend, or to your parents, or to people you've never met... what matters is that your worldview is clearly perceived and that coming from God's Word. That is what I think is the most important thing for music. Aligning with God and His principles. It's not just talking about God or speaking to God (though that is great!)... but rather it is glorifying God in how you write your music.

Overall I think this is an amazing song: Why?

Because it is very positive and I believe that it aligns with God's Word.

P.S. Amber, that first post was awesome. :) I agree whole heartedly.

P.S.(2) Emily, is Fireflight a Christian band or are they made up of Christians? I have "Unbreakable" and "Brand New Day", but are those Christian or not?

emily said...

@Quin: You hit the nail on the head! Yeah wow, what you said was what was needed---I couldn't come up with the right words :). Umm, I think Fireflight is made up of Christians, they don't generalize their music as being Christian though. So, that's my guess...oh um, I was gonna ask you, did you go to Worldview last summer @ Linfield?

Yeah, Allytria, what you said about whether or not the song is defined as being Christian or not, it's whether the song lives up to portraying Christ.

JustinK said...

I see what you all are saying and it's really, really encouraging! I am sick right now so my mind is really confused right now but I must say that I agree with what you said Quin, Em, and Allitrya! I must admit your ideas are certainly making me think. Which is very good! I am also pleased to see people disagreeing with me for once! :-) If my ideas were contrary to what Quin said then I must say he has swayed me to his side of the debate. :-) Thank you all for taking the time to comment!
God bless!
-Justin

Quinton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quinton said...

haha... cool, justin! :) ( just because you're so awesome and agree, i've decided to follow your blog. ;) )

em: yeah, i did go to worldview last year at linfield.

emily said...

@Quin: ahh...yeaa, I thought I'd seen a pic of you :)...

@Justin: What are you sick with!?

JustinK said...

Well, I see we have some what come to the end of the rope so to speak on this post. So I'll post again in a couple of minutes.
I just have a runny nose, stomach ache, headache. That kind of thing. IT seems to be going around as of late.
-JK