You Say

A Christian song? On the Top 40 channel? No way!

Those were the first few thoughts that went through my head when I heard Lauren Daigle’s “You Say” on the hit music station that normally plays only Halsey (but they play a lot of Post Malone, too, and that’s why I listen).

Actually, my first thought upon hearing the song was, “Oh, no, I hate Adele. I’m going back to the rock station.” (I don’t know why I initially thought “You Say” was an Adele song, but that’s beside the point.)

Normally, I can’t listen to singers with soulful voices because I get emotional and start crying, but I was so transfixed by the fact that the Top 40 station was actually playing decent music that I held back the tears and listened. Also, I thought I heard the word “God” in the song.

The singer is praising God, who always lifts her up and makes her feel worthy when no one else does. Her identity is in God rather than anything else. She gives her victories and defeats to God.

Finally, a decent song. Needless to say, it won’t be playing on the radio very long, so let’s enjoy it while we can.

The only downside to the lyrics is that they could be interpreted as supporting the erroneous mindset of many of today’s Christians: “God loves me as I am; therefore, I don’t have to change.” Well, yes. God does love you for who you are because he created your soul and knows you inside and out.

But God may not love some of the things you are doing, because some of those things may drive you away from him. In Catholicism, we do this thing called an “examination of conscience.” Every night, you’re supposed to go back over your day and reflect on what you did that was pleasing to God and what you failed at or could have done better. You’re supposed to thank God for helping you and ask him to help you again the next day.

The idea behind the examination of conscience is that we are always seeking to improve and please God more. We’re not just satisfied with sitting in our same old sins. We want to get to the point where we conquer them.

So I think Lauren Daigle is on the right track with her lyrics. Those who listen just need to remember to balance adoration and thanksgiving with supplication and confession.

Thursday Three #54

  1. Here’s an interesting article about whether style guides can help you write better. Style guides are useful for learning the basic rules of language and the peculiarities of an organization or publishing house, but they won’t make your writing better. The only way to do that is to read, and read a lot.
  2. Once upon a time, “Suga Suga” by Baby Bash was my jam. Then I heard a song (Robin Schulz’s “Sugar”) that heavily borrowed from it, and I thought… wow. You know you’re getting old when songs from your high school days are getting sampled into newer songs.
  3. Random “housekeeping” thing: I haven’t been checking my email address (maggie underscore smith at live dot com) because I rarely use it anymore and it won’t let me reset the password for some odd reason. So if you’ve emailed me there, I promise I’m not ignoring you. If you need to reach me, you’ll get a much faster response if you use quickstep 7 at gmail dot com.

Wasting Time with Bryce Vine

WARNING! This is a post about a couple hip-hop songs, so there’s some profanity.

The most depressing song on the radio today (in my not so humble opinion) is not supposed to be depressing. Bryce Vine’s “La La Land” (featuring YG) is supposed to be carefree, about doing nothing and having fun, while using some of the typical rap/hip-hop cliches: brand name dropping and bragging about sleeping with gorgeous women.

The song describes a girl who’s fresh out of school and has worthwhile goals, but the song’s narrator wants her to waste time with him (in California, of all places). I’m not sure I’d want to waste time in California because it’s highly expensive and the politics don’t make sense (but what politics do?). Maybe wasting time in Tennessee would be a better idea, and it’s more alliterative.

I know I’m taking this too seriously, but the song is depressing because it almost seems predatory; the guy only wants to drag the girl down and get her to lose track of school, work, and her future. He only wants her for her money (e.g., “How big is your mansion?” and “…you were born in the Hamptons / I heard that’s expensive”) and of course, sex, because it wouldn’t be a hip-hop song without explicit sexual references.

He tries to convince her that he’s a decent guy (“My grass is greener, girl, without no snakes”), but that’s a double negative, so I guess he’s just as slimy and reptilian as the rest of the guys. As evidenced by the lyrics, she has just broken up with her boyfriend, so he wants to catch her while she’s vulnerable. What a gentleman!

Or it could simply be that Bryce Vine’s voice is depressing. It’s like he’s trying to take the same chill approach that Post Malone (successfully) uses, but he just comes off as downcast.

Bryce Vine’s other song, the equally depressing “Drew Barrymore,” is similar. He is so involved with the girl that the entire house (apartment? condo? mansion?) is falling apart around his ankles (“The TV hasn’t worked in ages / Probably got a shorted cable / Way too busy f**king on the sofa or the kitchen table”). But he doesn’t even really seem to like the girl, because he delivers the following lines so dismally that I’m wondering if he might just give in to the opinion of the other girls and relinquish her: “You’re the next Drew Barry… and I want more / And all the other girls keep wondering what I f**k with you for.”

The beat of the song itself doesn’t have much of a happy feel to it either. It just kind of… ends… and leaves me with a creepy feeling of foreboding, like I’m going to go home and find out that my husband has disappeared mysteriously, leaving me with nothing but an empty apartment with a broken TV and A/C unit, with a couple dust bunnies hanging around to taunt me over some offense I had no idea I committed.

On the bright side, the radio edit of Drew Barrymore is actually better lyrically: “…falling off the sofa or the kitchen table.” Reminds me of innocent times spent as a child, running around the house and bouncing off the furniture because you’ve got energy to burn and school’s out for the summer. Also, smashing into furniture would be a lot more fun than wasting time with Bryce Vine.