Tuesday, September 27, 2011

today is the day...

...that my favorite band graces us with another wonderful album about the struggle that is to exist between this world, worldliness and the Kingdom.
And this is why they get so much love from Emily Elizabeth. Jon Foreman, lead-singer of Switchoot, writes for The Huffington Post about their newest album, ViceVerses (I know it's a lot...but it's so good):

Yes, humanity's song is the absurd, the tragic, the comic; the profane and the beautiful; the fallen and the redeemed. Our society is fraught with inconsistencies and absurdities. We claim to believe that all of humankind is created equal in a country torn apart by racial tension. We deem killing to be punishable by death but honorable under the title of war. We claim to serve a God who loves the poor in rich cathedrals and gold plated steeples. We objectify women and wonder why daddy's little girl has low self-esteem. The highs and lows, the dark and the light. This is the absurdity of our bipolar existence. Stretched thin between the dichotomy of death and breath, ashes and cash, pain and beauty. The scope of it all is enough to drive a man crazy.

And yet, we are yearning for certainty, yearning for authenticity. We are longing for the final absolution, the face that will never go away. The tension drives us to look for resolution. We look for safety in possession or position. We look for redemption at the bottom of the bottle, or on the tip of the needle. We look for justice in the overfed breasts of the government. Looking for enlightenment in the numb conformity of the suburbs. We're looking for deliverance, for the melody among the cacophony. The vices. The verses. And yet, all of these vices offer only a temporary release.

For me, the song has always helped to restore sanity. The melody can help to string broken things together, bringing me back from the ledge of from depression. Sometimes, the music says it better than the words do; the melody brings the tension and release into a dance rather than a struggle. This isn't to say that music stops the pain. Rather, music contextualizes the pain within the larger human experience and thus brings a certain timeless meaning and depth to the temporary despair and hopelessness I feel. And to this end, I love music. I love to find myself there in the songs of others. I love to find joy writing my own songs. Yes, even songs about the madness: trying to push through despair towards hope, singing into the storm.

Recently, my friends and I recorded an album about the the struggle that we call life. We wanted a record that would speak to the polarity of our existence, the darkness and the light, the despair and the hope along the way. These vices of ours, we wanted to make 'em sing. We wanted to make a musical world that was held in tension by the poles of darkness and light. Maybe my songs have always come from the tension, the things that terrify me, the things that stretch me thin and keep me up at night. As much as I want to run away from these things, I can't. The strings of our hearts were not made for safety. No, these strings are made to dance. I cannot to hold the temporal too closely for the final freedom I long for was never hers to give. Safety cannot be found in the transients. I struggle to look beyond all of this. The transcendent alone can give meaning to the tension, purpose to the release. So I give up hoping for safety. I've given up hoping in the overstuffed pockets of the powerful and well fed. I've given up hope that I could ever buy what I truly need. Indeed if the world knows no justice, we're better off staying maladjusted. Stretched thin...

And indeed, I'm still optimistic; still looking for the final release. That final chorus which will conquer pain once for all. I want more than simple cash can buy. I'm looking for "that majesty which philosophers call the First Cause." The eternal Redemption who taught us how to die. I look for him among ashes of American flags. The dust of Babylon, the remains of all of our the broken promises. I look for him in the ashes of our fathers. I see his face in passing glances on the streets- in the eyes of a single mom, trying to make ends meet; in a faded photograph; in the hands of a homeless woman talking to herself. Yes, I'm still idealistic enough to believe that everyone matters. That the kingdom of the heavens might be at hand, knocking, beckoning me to pursue. I run like the oceans, longing for the shore. I'm still looking for a place where open arms still welcome the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Bigger than rock and roll. Bigger than America. Bigger than the darkness. I want to sings songs for the disenfranchised, for the ones on the edge. Stretched thin. Somewhere below me, Lady Wisdom still crying out in the streets. "To them's that's got ears let them hear." I look for her among the ruins of postmodern despair, where the last shall be first, and he who is not busy being born is busy dying...

You see I had a hard time just picking a few words from his article. This album is a little harder rock than resonates with my soul presently, but the words are pure truth (like always). So thanks again, Switchfoot, for being so free to be.

Much love,
Emily Elizabeth

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