This is the cheesiest, most pretentious song ever written. Simplicity is great; but a boring, over-produced orchestration does nothing to help a melody, lyrics, and theme that I’ve literally heard note for note and word for word about six gazillion (yep, that’s right) times. Or maybe it’s just the trailer that this song is in, that I’ve seen about seven gazillion times now (no, seriously, I’ve been counting these things) of the worst actor ever (that means Eric Bana) trying desperately to internalize the deeply relatable emotion of time travel with the oh so powerful line, ‘I can’t stay’, that makes me hate this song so. But either way, this is the saddest thing you’ve ever heard (and if you don’t believe that, just look at his face as he sings…oh yes…project that sadness):

However (and some of you who are about to bite my head off with your sarcastic comments about my lack of record sales compared to Lifehouse, and how my guitar playing on youtube doesn’t sound much better {actually, I did get a comment to that effect the other day…it was awesome}, because you adore this song so much and he’s of course singing right to you, are going right now, ‘Ya, there better be a ‘However’!), according to youtube views of the official video for this song, 2,653,768 people are telling me that I am wrong. Now, my knee-jerk response is, ‘Well, it’s just the result of our post-art, elect-him-for-office-because-he-has-eyes-I-can-trust, ooh!-something-shiny, society.’ But 2,653,768 people? I mean, each one of us thinks we’re special, and there’s definitely a place for the lone idealists who take on the masses; but at what point do you look at yourself and go, ‘Hmm. One versus 2 million. Maybe there’s a slight, just a slight possibility, that I could be the one who’s wrong.’

Now I’m not saying I am. Oh no. Admit I’m wrong? Please. I’m the worship leader! I tell people what they like and don’t like. And if their styles don’t agree with mine……well, then, I guess we just haven’t taught them enough what worship truly is. Ya. Sounds really bad when it’s written down, huh. But you’d be surprised how many times I’ve heard that. Okay. Yikes. You’d be surprised how many times I’ve said that.

But here…for the sake of argument, let’s not say that we’re wrong, because I know that’s hard. It’s hard for me, too. Let’s say that we are right (or, that ‘I’ am right…those of you whose lives have been forever turned upside down by the majesty of the emotionality in this song, I don’t want to lump you in with myself in hating this song by using the word ‘we’), and that the 2,653,768 (probably more by now) are wrong. Let’s just ignore the fact that even though cookie-cutter songs that have been recycled for 15 years are totally boring, somehow they are obviously reaching people. And I’ll go ahead and ignore too, the fact that for years now, that pseudo-country/southern rock/rockabilly/backhome America storytellin’ thing has consistently driven people to tears, and absorbed their lives. And I’ll ignore the fact that maybe my style preferences aren’t actually listed in the Bible. (Believe me, I’ve looked. No U2, no Fleet Foxes, no Mum…I did find some Peter Gabriel, but I kinda had to cut and paste a couple different parts together out of context, and believe it or not, that kind of thing is still looked down upon in some churches.) And after ignoring all these things, let’s just say that we’re right. But even then…even if we are right, and the rest of the world is wrong. Shouldn’t we be serving them? Shouldn’t we be using everything at our disposal to try to reach them? Now I’m not talking about the words of Jesus here. Yes, teach people those. Don’t change those. I’m talking about matters of preference! Styles of music! If 75% of the people at your church are listening to Lifehouse, maybe we should do a worship song in that style every once in a while.

gospel axe
(Or maybe it’s just that when we think of ‘Christian’ and ‘country’, we get images like this in our mind. I know I’ve used this picture before, but it never gets old. Because the guy in the helmet really has an axe.)

Should we change who we are? Should we dread leading worship because we hate the music? No. But maybe…just maybe…we should take a look at what is reaching people, and step outside our own selfishness for just a bit. Myself included. Play tons of Lifehouse? Nope. Not gonna happen. I still can’t stand that song. But I’m open to the possibility that I could be wrong about it, and that a style or a program or a way of doing church, might not be my personal preference. But believe it or not, there’s a difference sometimes between our preferences, and between what it right and wrong. Shocker, I know. But leading worship has never really been about us. Playing a style every once in a while that we don’t like, because the congregation can just totally (for whatever reason, hehe) connect with God because of it? Ya. I think that’s okay. I think that’s truly loving people, and love is the ultimate ideal. I can go back to being an idealist the next morning, when I turn on the radio and hear the latest Nickelback/Three Days Grace/Jeremy Camp/Foo Fighters/Seether/Lifehouse/Pearl Jam/Kutless/3 Doors Down single (there’s a crazy conspiracy out there that those are all actually in fact the same band), and I can make fun of it to my heart’s content, and pacify my feelings of jealousy that they’re on the radio and I’m not, with numbing thoughts of the culture-less lemmings of society, and how their minds are now just too dumbed down to appreciate my more ‘enlightened’ forms of art. Like Spinal Tap.

And perhaps? Taking it a step further and considering the fact that I just might be wrong, maybe like the 2,653,768-versus-1 numbers seem to imply? Eh……no. To quote Al Pacino (and just a little life tip here…any time you have the chance to quote Al Pacino, do it……it never disappoints……well, maybe the people you quote him to, but certainly not yourself), too big a leap right now. I’ll save admitting that I’m wrong for another day. A dark day. ;)

Oh, and just for the record, no…our pastor did not ask us to do this song this weekend, and I did not write this post just to try to justify having to play the cheesiest (remember, I admitted that I could be wrong! Stop throwing things!) song ever.

Splendid.
Karl.

P.S. Apologies for the lack of practical posts lately. Lots of musings instead. hehe I’m taking a slight break from gear demos and shootouts while I re-record all the ambient pads I use, and try to make them available as mp3 downloads for you guys. Hopefully soon!