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It’s a Bad, Bad Song


Yesterday, I posted a tweet about a song I had stuck in my head. It’s a bad, bad song. That’s what it is, that’s what it is, that’s what it is. Today, I’m explaining why. As I finished, I realized there was a lot more to be said, but I’m leaving it for now. I don’t get as much fun out of this stuff as I used to. It gets kind if tiring anymore. Anyway, you’ve already guessed the song. Here it is.

Good Good Father

Verse 1:
I’ve heard a thousand stories
of what they think you’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whispers
of love in the dead of night
And you tell me that you’re pleased
and that I’m never alone

Chorus:
You’re a good good father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

Verse 2:
I’ve seen many searching
for answers far and wide
But I know we’re all searching
for answers only you provide
’Cause you know just what we need
before we say a word

Chorus

Bridge X2:
’Cause you’re perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways to us

Verse 3:
Oh, it’s love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable
I, I can hardly think
As you call me deeper still
As you call me deeper still
As you call me deeper still
Into love, love, love

Chorus Ad Naseum


Verse one begins:

I’ve heard a thousand stories
of what they think you’re like

The first problem we encounter is far from the worst in this song: the pronoun they has no antecedent. Who are they? We are not idiots, so we can fairly easily deduce who they are, but nevertheless, this is really poor form. Having settled that, however, does no one else wonder why, on a Lord’s Day, I would want to sing about the ignorant, corrupt opinions of the ungodly? But even allowing that, can’t I have a sensible answer, drawn from Scripture, rather than this mystical gobbledegook?

But I’ve heard the tender whispers
of love in the dead of night

This is the biggest problem with this song: the denial of sola Scriptura. This is what moves it from mere sloppy sentimentality into heresy. When we trade the “word made more sure” for our imaginations, we will generally hear what we want to hear. For that reason, when the next line (though arousing no immediate objection) is so perfectly affirming of me, I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

Then we come to the chorus, which really presents the biggest obstacle to convincing anyone that this is a bad song. He’s a good, good father, and I’m loved by him; that’s so touching, so moving. How can I object? I object, first, because the goodness and love in this narrative are—need I remind you—the figments of a sleepy mind. I object, second, because a good father is not who God is; it is one of many aspects of what he is. Likewise, Loved by [him] is not who I am, but one part of what I am. Pedantic? Unapologetically. Precise meanings matter. In this case, who you are acts as a kind of emotional trigger, especially when combined with the triple repetition and slow, droning melody. This is no accident.

The second verse is kind of a rambling tangent off into therapyland, though not entirely disconnected, and touchy-feely as you please.

I have a special relationship with bridges. The first question I always ask is, “What in the world is this doing here? Was there a river? a canyon? a ditch? Why the interruption? In this case though, it’s kind of a nice break from the droning monotony to a brief . . . thinking . . . more intense monotony.

The third verse is kind of weird, deviating a little from the melody and meter of the previous two, and adding two lines, while maintaining—even raising—the monotony factor. There is a lot of weirdness in the call me deeper still(x3) into love(x3) (whatever that means), which, with it’s slooow, droooning repetition, is little more than [metaphor alert] emotional autoeroticism. Neither are the words themselves benign, but entirely in sync with the hypnotic nature of the tune. Again, this is no accident.

Peace so unexplainable
I, I can hardly think

There is absolutely nothing in the work of the Holy Spirit that would impede our ability to think. There is nothing in Scripture that would encourage us to let our minds slip. The Christian faith is in all ways rational and reasonable, which, I believe, increases its emotional force by its stunning reality. No emotions need to me manufactured, but that is the goal of this song’s style—to manipulate.

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Posted 2019·08·29 by David Kjos
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Posted in: Musical Miasma & Putrid Poetry

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