Songs That Stick

There are two types of songs that stick. Type 1: The chorus to REO Speedwagon's "Keep on Lovin You," for example, is just obnoxious. (Every time I hear it I picture a Double Whopper slowly rotating on my TV screen.) And yet, after covering it this weekend at a show, along with other 70s, 80s, and 90s top 40 picks, it refuses to exit my synapses.

Type 2: John Mellencamp's "Longest Days," which I also covered this weekend.

Nothin lasts forever Your best efforts don't always pay Sometimes you get sick and you don't get better Life is short, even it's longest days.

I was running short on time and needed more covers. It was the second song that came up on my White Stripes Pandora station. And it's a gem. Released in 2008, It's a song that took Mellencamp an entire lifetime to write, though I'm sure only a couple hours to translate it to sound waves. Had T-Swift penned and strummed the song, this would be a post making fun of her.

So you pretend not to notice, When everything has changed, The way you looked and the friends you once had So you keep on acting the same.

How many times have I seen that one played out? Would you like a second mortgage to go with your new sports car Mr. Almost40?

My notions of what made a good song used to be about whether or not it was "Christian" which meant it had the specific subject of God, (unless you wanted to write about a girl, then you could reference Jesus in the bridge).

Sigh.

Not that there weren't (or aren't) good lyricists and musicians who also try to follow Jesus (Derek Webb, Rich Mullins, Andrew Osenga, Johnny Cash, Michael Gungor, Reese Roper,  et. al.) But there was a time when "secular" (Which I'm guessing is so popular a term because it sounds like something you can make more evil by saying it like a snake would, sssecular). But I don't look for the divide anymore, I look for true songs, or even for truth re-expressed in a stanza or a verse or a word. I look for songs that actually say something, anything that I can embrace or fight with. For goodness sake just give give me something that punches me in the face.

There is enough music in the world parroting toothless words both "holy" and profane. But I dig on, knowing I have to move mountains of dirt to get to an ounce of gold, for those songs that stick for the right reasons.