So, I don’t listen to a lot of CCM. I have a few worship bands I enjoy like Hillsong United or David Crowder Band but that’s pretty much it as far as what’s in the regular rotation at K-LOVE. But we’ve been listening to K-LOVE in the car (and by ‘we’ I mean Sam and myself) because while K-LOVE can be cloyingly positive and encouraging, at least the DJs and the music isn’t crass or vulgar, and with an 18-month old who doesn’t. miss. a. single. thing, I figure super annoying is a better choice than vulgar, at least until I can get a auxillary jack for my mp3 player in my new car (in my old Subaru, we could play mp3s through the tape adapter, but my new car only has a 6-disc CD changer, and who even has CDs anymore? I have some, but they are all scratched, because all the music from them has been ripped to my mp3 player, where they belong).
So I’ve been exposing myself to a bit more CCM than is in my standard diet. Most of it is just there — it’s not good, but it’s not bad, and it’s not original or overly ambitious, it just exists as some “music” that some record producer figured out will sell records to …who knows. People without the same taste in music as me.
One song in particular comes to mind as being particularly obnoxious. I don’t really have a problem with the over-earnestness that seems to haunt CCM music, or even the lackluster passionless studio musicians who play the songs. No, what tends to bother me more than anything is lyrics that are stupid and cliche.
And the song “Undone” by FFH is a perfect example of that. Let’s take a look at the lyrics, shall we?
Open up wide, swallow down deep
No spoon full of sugar could make it sweet
The cancer inside stealing my sleep
Night after night it keeps haunting me
Wait, we’re swallowing cancer? Typically, no, sugar won’t make cancer any sweeter. Or are we talking about something else? The cancer is stealing your sleep? Wait, what’s haunting you? Cancer? Is it a ghost? A sweet cancer ghost. Oh. Gotcha.
So the sweet cancer ghost….
The secrets I keep
Are tearing me up inside
I try to hide and then I wonder why
Why I’m still running when I know there’s no escaping
No escaping from the saccharine incubus of cancer? Or from your secrets?
Come undone, surrender is stronger
I don’t need to be the hero tonight
We all want love we all want honor
Nobody wants to pay the asking price
Who are we talking to again? Yourself? The Sweet Cancer Ghost? The asking price for what? I’m confused…
Fall on my knees, fall on my pride
I’m tripping over all the times I’ve lied
I’m asking please, but I can see in your eyes
You don’t need tears for alibis
It’s true what they say
Love must be blind
It’s why You’re still standing by this sinner’s side
Ohhhhh we’re talking to Jesus! I get it now!! So why were we asking Him to surrender and come undone earlier? Oh we weren’t talking to Him then? We switched who we were talking to halfway through the song so that everyone in your community college intro to creative writing class could circle that on your working first draft as really confusing and —
You’re still by my side when all the things I’ve done have left you bleeding
I don’t think I can drive it home tonight
I don’t think I wanna be alone tonight
Are you drunk? Is the sweet cancer ghost an adult beverage? I mean, it says earlier you’re tripping over all the times you lied, so really…are you drunk? Also: theological point of contention: Love isn’t blind. God doesn’t just choose to ignore your sin. No, a penalty had to be paid for it. And Jesus paid the price. Now, God looks at us and sees Christ’s righteousness covering us, but at no point is it a blind, unseeing love. That’s the beauty of the gospel — despite knowing the very depths of our sin, even more than we know of our own sin, God sent His Son to die in our place. And now our sin has been erased.
Anyway, just a small point of contention, and with a train wreck like that song I wouldn’t really expect theological soundness.
Every time I hear that song it makes me want to rip my hair out. I mean, come on. This is like freshman creative writing level stuff — metaphors that are not only cliche, but mixed and confusing, changing who the text is addressing, etc. Shouldn’t we at least try to write lyrics that don’t suck? I know, I know, but their hearts were in the right place when they wrote that song and that’s what really matters, blah blah blah, and I’m a mean person. But whatever. Write songs that don’t suck. Thanks.