Heyyo, peoples of the internet! So… how’ve you been? *sigh* I hate being so busy. I rather feel as though I’m neglecting you all. But I’ve got a moment now, so I thought I would post something to cap off the evening.
An idea came to me the other day, you see (well, really two ideas). The first is, since I am an avid listener of independent music, and, by His grace and blessing, a follower of Christ, to combine these two aspects into something interesting. (Maybe. Hopefully.)
The other idea is to post small pieces of Laudato Si, reflect on them, and open a space for discussion. So that will be coming soon. In the mean time… well, it’s probably easiest to just show you.
I thought I would take a look at what’s at number one on the Christian charts…
… and pair it with something indie.
Why? Because I think these two songs offer some interesting contrast to one another.
Let me start off by saying I was pleasantly surprised by “Brother”. Family and supporting one another are both awesome themes, and the song makes deft use of its genre. I don’t understand why the Christian station near my house doesn’t play this kind of stuff. I might listen to it regularly if it did.
Then we have “My Body Is a Cage”, a number vastly more subdued in tone that finds its crescendo two minutes in. Arcade Fire’s songwriting and ability to inspire emotion are not in full force here, but it’s still a fine song with some fantastical instrumentation, an anthem that in fact bears a lot of similarity to our first one.
The most obvious connection between the two lies in a single word: cage. Both songs speak of being locked inside a cage; Bear Rinehart has dropped the keys face down in the desert, while Win Butler maintains that the key is in his mind. They’re tied to each other by a desire to transcend the limits of this prison.
Still, a few things set these two songs apart from each other. The setting for “Brother” is a wilderness, while “My Body Is a Cage” takes place on an empty stage. Despite the implied barrenness of such a landscape, salvation is only as far away as the chorus for our first suffering hero, whose brother is by his side to help lift him up. And we all have someone like that, don’t we? It doesn’t matter how much of an introvert you might be. We need people; we need community. That’s part of what church is all about. You could go and worship God on your own terms, under a tree or somewhere cliché like that. But how would you know if you’d fallen? With whom would you share your moments of joy? After all, “Where two or three are gathered in My name”…
(I had to. I really did.)
Does salvation come at all in the second song? It ends almost like a cliffhanger… but I like to think so.
Though the two bands bear absolutely no relation to each other in real life, one could almost view “Brother” as a sequel to “My Body Is a Cage”. Butler cries out at the end of the song, “Set my spirit free!” He exists in a surprisingly Christian world, “living in an age that calls darkness light”, and like a puzzle piece, his last realization is that sometimes the key in your mind is not enough.
And then Rinehart appears walking out of the desert, reaches out his hand, and sings: “Brother, let me be your shelter”.