Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cake on a Sunday: I'm So Sick...

I'm so sick of you
So sick of me
I don't want to be with you

So go the lyrics to the catchiest tune on the new Cake cd. I would listen to the song regardless of the lyrics. It's infectious. Great beat. Thumping bass line. Great guitar work. Pleasing melody. I can't help but tap my foot and smile when the song begins. It's so happy. Except for these lyrics.

The bridge is done in semi-rap style and sets the theme of the song deeper.

Every shiny toy
That at first brings you joy
Will always start to cloy and annoy

Every camera every phone
All the music that you own
Won't change the fact you're all alone (All alone!)

Every piece of land
every city that you plan
will crumble into tiny grains of sand

This message is hardly new, though seldom is it packaged with such a catchy beat. It sounds like an Ecclesiastes update. All is vanity, even your ipad. There is nothing, it seems, free from the inevitable loss of shine, from an erosion of meaning and significance, from a going to seed.

Of all the wisdom books, I'm down most with Ecclesiastes. If one of your favorite Bible verses is from Proverbs, I'm likely to avoid you at parties or take you out in the yard and rub your face in the world. My own experience is closer to cloy and annoy. Even things that are good and have provided meaning over time can lose their ability to sustain you. 

This "all things are vanity" take is not the part of the song that makes me despair. I think that this is not only a reality, but necessary for faith to avoid the clutches of idolatry. The troubling part of the song to me is the line, "won't change the fact that you're alone." That's the zinger. Nothing worse.

So, I found comfort watching the video. It's shot in front of an abandoned building. And there are a number of requisite images to convey the less than uplifting tone of the song. But it is still performed by a band. And that is the most striking image of the video. These guys playing together. I have so often wanted to know the feeling of playing in a rock band. It is a joyful "being with." It appears on this side of things to be a way of being connected to others--in time, in space, in melody--that very little else can match. So, the song itself in all of its catchiness says to me more than the lyrics. 

"I'm so sick of you, so sick of me..." Catchy, huh?


Anonymous said...

Dana Brown dropping by again.

So should Rick Warren's next book be,
The Meaningless Driven Life...

Mark Love said...


I think so, but it wouldn't sell a kazillion copies.