Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Facing the Music: Redeem It All

Lou Reed and Pavarotti
Redeeming the Music

Marvin Olasky started it when he redeemed Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah by writing a new set of words. I responded tongue in cheek by writing a new set of words for Steppenwolf's Born to Be Wild.

Now there is a new dust-up about the redemption of music. Some white guys at a conference were critical of Reformed Rap. This led to some more white guys, most notably Al Mohler and Lig Duncan, putting the rap on the critics, then defending, admiring, and asking for more Reformed Rap. 

I don't have a dog in that fight. I don't listen to rap as a genre and thus have no interest in the Reformed sort. So, as long as I am not required to listen to it or to sing or say it (I am not sure whether one sings or speaks rap), I am willing to live and let live. I don't mind being called an out of it old guy, uncool, or even a cultural elitist or mono-culturalist (though, given how much country music I listen to, I don't think that one will stick), but I will object to being called a racist. I don't like schmaltzy gospel hymns written by white people either. And I have spoken before of my observation that RUF tunes produce twanged singing, especially by females.

However, I thought that so long as folks are redeeming both musical forms and particular songs I might suggest as candidates for redemption some artists and songs I listen to, and offer some first lines based on Reformed ideas which some poet might take as suggestive of lyrics that could redeem the songs, if not the artists.

Barry White: You'll Never Know

You need to know how sovereign your God is...

James Taylor: Fire and Rain

I've seen sin and I've seen grace, I've seen perseverance that will never end...

James Brown: This Is a Man's World

This is the Lord's world, but he gave dominion to a man and a girl...

Lou Reed: Walk on the Wild Side

Sinners come from F-L-A, especially from Miami...hey, babe, they all walk on the wrong side.

Willie and Waylon: Mama's Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to Be Cowboys

Mamas, all of your babies are born to be bad boys, bookies and lawyers and sunuvaguns...

Warren Zevon: Werewolves in London

Westminster Abbey! Divines gath'rin to confess...

I would not want to leave the Dutch out: Canons of Dort! Five points written to refute...

Well, I've got you started. Some you transformationalists can get to work and claim these songs for Calvinism. Surely, if Louie, Louie can be redeemed with Pharaoh, Pharaoh, these too can be made songs to sing in a strange land.

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