26 January 2012

Duplicity in Christian Metal Music

One day, I was listening to my metal station in Pandora, when a song was played, and it caught my attention. It turned out that it was called Start Again, by the band "Red". I liked the music overall, that I have decided to check out the album as well.

Later on, I realized, as I was listening to the music over and over again, that it might be Christian rock, and sure enough, it was. However, instead of aborting and not listening to it anymore, I decided to actually investigate, and see. So, as an exercise, I am putting the lyrics of this piece here.

And I remember everything,
Everything I loved,
I gave it away like it wasn't enough
All the words I said and all you forgive
How could I hurt you again?

What if I let you in?
What if I make it right?
What if I give it up?
What if I want to try?
What if you take a chance?
What if I learn to love?
What if, what if we start again?

All this time
I can make it right
With one more try
Can we start again?
In my eyes,
You can see it now,
Can we start again?
Can we start again?

Emptiness inside me, wonder if you see
It's my mistake and it's hurting me
I known where we've been
How did we get so far?
What if, what if we start again?


I'm lost inside the pain I feel without you,
I can't stop holding on, I need you with me!
I'm trapped inside the pain
Can we ever start again?
I'm lost without you!

One more try,
Can we start again?
In my eyes, can you forgive me now?
(Can we start again?)
Can we start again (one more try?)
Can we start again?
Can we start again (can you forgive me?)
Can we start again?

The piece begins with 4 measures of synthesized music, followed by 4 measures of a piano motif. This is succeeded by 16 measures of guitars and orchestra, then the first verse appears. Musically, it is very catchy.

There are two ways one can interpret this piece. The first, and more obvious one, is that of a broken relationship between two romantic partners. The singer wants to start the relationship once again, after admitting his mistakes. Thus, the song is one of asking forgiveness from the other party, hoping that a reconciliation would take place. That is fine, but wait until you see the second interpretation.

The second interpretation is more of a religious one. Ever heard of the story about the prodigal son? This is basically the prodigal son singing. The prodigal son finally realizes the hurt he has caused his father, and is pleading if it is okay to start again. If one is familiar with the religious themes, then the parallelism becomes obvious.

The thing is, I do not understand why it is always a self-pessimistic view that religion is promoting. It is always the case that one is mistaken, the one is defective, that one is frail and needs saving. But then it makes sense, because if this is not the mindset that is promoted, then why does one need religion in the first place?

Yes, first, you need to foster the view that one is insufficient and that one needs an external element in order to survive. Once you let people believe that, then you can make a religion thrive. You brainwash people into thinking that they are weak without something, that they are blind without something, that they are lost without something, and you can found a religion. That something is the thing that you will supply. Surprisingly enough, plenty of people believe this. It's like they forget that they have a brain, and that it actually is an amazing thing.

Anyway, the good thing is that I can tune out the lyrics. So yes, I still enjoy the music. I just don't pay attention to the lyrics.

(The Long-Awaited View, from my Machu Picchu Series)


  1. It's nice to be back here in your great blog. I too enjoy the music in the song without bothering to dig deeper into the lyrics.

  2. Edsan,

    Welcome back! And thanks for reading! Finally, yes, I think I have the cognitive ability to pick and choose what I listen to, so even though the message of the song might be something I am not in favor with, I still appreciate the musicality of the song.

  3. I enjoyed reading this. It was quite interesting to see your interpretation (which makes a lot of sense). Great that you can enjoy the music despite not being comfortable with the lyrics or message.

  4. Lisa,

    Hi there! Yes, somehow, I can tune out lyrics and enjoy the music still. I guess I am quite capable of compartmentalizing things, decomposing them, breaking them down, so that I can enjoy something even though there are parts that I do not like.