If imitation is the highest form of flattery for the mimiced party then it must be the highest manifestation of admiration from the one enacting the reproduction. Of course, not every form of copying is praise for the original producer. Claiming the work of others as your own without due credit being given can oftentimes be an outright criminal act. But somewhere on the scale of orginality, there lies a space for one individual to come in and take the work of another and make it his or her own work (without incurring criminal charges, of course.) And that space, my friends, is commonly referred to as the cover song.

Cover songs illict a wide range of reactions that run the gamut from cringing to absolute joy. Some make you realize just how good the original song is (because the cover is just that bad) while others make you wish the original had never existed. Then there are some cover songs that just make you pause and think. And then think some more. About the differences, the similarities, and how if a different perspective can really change one song so much, then maybe, just maybe, a different perspective can change the world.

When my favorite band, Disturbed, dropped their new album recently, they covered one famous song by the favorite band of many of my friends–U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking for.” Below you will find first the original then the cover for your listening pleasure. Take a good listen and see the different perspectives. Then maybe today you can go out and change the world.

I’ve been under a rock and just discovered Ben Harper’s music recently. This song of his has been stuck in my head all day, so I thought I’d share. Enjoy!

I came across this band (well, more accurately put, one of its members came across this blog) and I thought I’d share one of their songs with you. They’re definitely worth the listen. Enjoy 🙂

With finals bearing down upon, I can safely say this time of year is fairly gloomy so I’ve been compiling play lists of songs that make me smile, and I thought I’d share one of the songs with you. This one’s called “You owe me Nothing in Return.” I highly suggest giving it a listen. Yes, it is by Alanis, but I guarantee it will surprise you. Lyrics are below for the curious.

I’ll give you countless amounts of outright acceptance if you want it
I will give you encouragement to choose the path that you want if you need it
You can speak of anger and doubts your fears and freak outs and I’ll hold it
You can share your so-called shame filled accounts of times in your life and I won’t judge it
(and there are no strings attached to it)

You owe me nothing for giving the love that I give
You owe me nothing for caring the way that I have
I give you thanks for receiving it’s my privilege
And you owe me nothing in return

You can ask for space for yourself and only yourself and I’ll grant it
You can ask for freedom as well or time to travel and you’ll have it
You can ask to live by yourself or love someone else and I’ll support it
You can ask for anything you want anything at all and I’ll understand it
(and there are no strings attached to it)

You owe me nothing for giving the love that I give
You owe me nothing for caring the way that I have
I give you thanks for receiving it’s my privilege
And you owe me nothing in return

I bet you’re wondering when the next payback shoe will eventually drop
I bet you’re wondering when my conditional police will force you to cough up
I bet wonder how far you have now danced you way back into debt
This is the only kind of love as I understand it that there really is

You can express your deepest of truths even if it means I’ll lose you and I’ll hear it
You can fall into the abyss on your way to your bliss I’ll empathize with
You can say that you have to skip town to chase your passion I’ll hear it
You can even hit rock bottom have a mid-life crisis and I’ll hold it
(and there are no strings attached)

You owe me nothing for giving the love that I give
You owe me nothing for caring the way that I have
I give you thanks for receiving it’s my privilege
And you owe me nothing in return

Entry written on Sunday, April 20, 2008…

“On my Knees”

On a most ridiculous trip up and down the turnpike with my honorary roommate (we kept missing our exit somehow and drove up and down the state of New Jersey for a good 2 hours) I became very well acquainted with Carrie Underwood’s new CD. Now, she’s not an artist I’d go out of my way to listen to but that was the CD in the car so I had very little say in the matter. I discovered a few things. I actually kind of like her music, her lyrics are hilarious (see the song “Last Name”) and she’s actually got some profound phrases mixed in with all the country verve.

In the song “Flat on the Floor” she belts about a heartbreak and tells the man that he can’t live without her and so on and so forth, but in between the “baby, baby, baby, baby tell me why you gotta make me, make me, make me, make me cry?” and “baby, baby, baby, baby tell me how you think you’re gonna live without my love now?” she does say one thing that sticks with me…

“You can’t knock me off my feet when I’m already on my knees…”

It’s an expression of something most people have felt before in one way or another–the feeling that nothing worse can be done to you because the worst has already happened. It is simultaneously a cry of pain and a challenge to the oncoming aggressor. At once she tells him “look at how much you’ve hurt me, I’m on my knees in pain” and challenges him to do his worst because she’s in a position of utmost stability and security. She puts it simply, the easiest way to thwart a foe coming to knock you off your feet is to get on your knees and pray.

The image of the broken woman on her knees reads as a vision of prayer. And once it becomes a vision of prayer, the broken woman becomes harder than a diamond and more resilient than steel. The position of sorrow and submission transforms into that of joy and power all because prayer can move mountains, part seas, and it might just be the only thing that can mend a broken heart.

*******

It is when we finally learn to kneel in prayer, when we have come to the understanding of the fact that we are weak, we cannot mend our own aches and pains, we cannot move mountains or change the world on our own, we cannot live with our pride that keeps us stiff and upright before men, that we can truly lift up our hearts to the Lord and call upon His name. When I mention kneeling in prayer, I do not mean it figuratively only, but the literal act of kneeling before the Lord when we pray. Bring yourself lower to the ground when praying, lift up your heart to the heavens, and soon you will find your whole being transported upward to the heavens, close enough for you to kiss the sky.

                                            

P.S. – Ok, so Carrie Underwood doesn’t actually say anything about prayer in her song, but I still see it that way…

Entry written and posted on Monday, March 10, 2008…

                

“Take Time to Realize”

 

I am quite certain I know what I need.

 

I am quite certain I know what I want.

 

I know what I can no longer tolerate.

 

I have grown in patience.

 

The questions have only multiplied.

 

“This world will never be what I expected, and if I don’t belong…”

 

I have never felt as powerless as I do now.

 

Fairy tales are weapons of mass destruction.

 

So are pride and secrecy.

 

A simple “hello” will go miles.

 

A smile can bridge oceans.

 

A cold shoulder is the equivalent of a nuclear missile.

 

Even when you are sitting alone in your room, your effect carries past your walls.

 

No man is an island, but every woman is.

 

To know and to reach and to have are entirely different things.

 

Have I made you think?

 

********

 

I’m amused by the fact that this entry of loosely connected thoughts still makes sense to me months after I wrote it, but not in the same way it made sense before though. It does make me think… I still know what I need and what I want, and that’s comforting. Answer those two questions and the world seems to come into focus just a bit more than before… Do you know what you need? Do you know what you want?

 

*******

Currently Listening to “Breathing” by Lifehouse

An answer for our darkest times…

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

The Entry posted on Sunday, February 24, 2008…

“The Thing I Treasure Most in Life Cannot be Taken Away”

I tend to think in song lyrics quite often when I’m not focusing on anything in particular. The words will shoot through my mind and trigger thoughts and the thoughts will trigger more lyrics and the cycle keeps going until I choose to actively pursue one thought. The lyric that has now transformed into the title of this entry flew across my mind when I was in the car with my parents this afternoon on a trip to the lovely warehouse giant Costco.”The thing I treasure most in life cannot be taken away…”

That’s the line that booms the most as David Draiman sings the chorus to Disturbed’s spirited “I’m Alive.” Of course Draiman is singing about his music, but to me the words resonate in a different direction. They brought to mind a conversation I had with an individual I used to call a friend, but eventually our inability to see eye-to-eye on some fundamental issues pushed me to the point where I had to walk away from the friendship. I do not write that sentence with ease. I find it nearly impossible to leave someone I have come to care about no matter how much that individual may hurt me, but with him, I had to stand my ground.He is an atheist and I live by my faith. My faith is who I am in so many ways. But that difference didn’t stop me from becoming his friend. Whenever he would marvel about my caring nature I’d explain to him that I am the way I am because of what I believe. He never agreed and we would argue to no avail about it. One day I was explaining to him the Christian ideal of an endless love that gives more than what is asked, a love that stands insult and then turns the other cheek to face injury. I explained to him why I was ready to drop everything on a moment’s notice to do what someone asks of me.

So in response to that he looked me dead in the eye and asked, “Would you take off your cross and not wear it around me if I asked?”

Without hesitating for a second I found myself literally scoffing at him and practically yelling “No!” incredulously.

He thought he had won some battle of wits, but it just really became clear how little he listened. How could I remove the source of the love from around my neck? My cross is the very source of what I was telling him. If you destroy a tree’s roots, it cannot stand. If you take the cross and the faith away from the girl, she cannot love.

*******

Months from writing this entry I look back on it and think that simply yelling “No!” to the question I was asked about taking off the cross I wear around my neck was just not enough. I don’t know what would have been enough, but I do know that what was said in the Epistle to the Hebrews now comes to my mind: “You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin” (Hebrews 12:4). Draiman manages to hit the nail on the head with his lyrics which echo this verse. He writes and sings “You’ll never take me alive…” If he can sing with such passion and fervor about his music then how pitiful am I for simply saying “No!” when asked to remove the cross from around my neck as a show of my love. I thought I had done well then, but now I know there was so much more to say and so much more to do.

Perhaps I can take a lesson from the rock star…

I am a woman with keys

Without a door

My wide angle perfect size

Still I pass through

And the space is made

To fit

 

My spaceship hands

This waterfall of feet

These ship-size eyes

A gun

The very air

It shapes me

Keys jingle

And fish fly protectively

Around my waist

 

I am a woman with keys

And all the doors are nailed

Dented shut with hammers

Unlikely to ever open on their own

But I am a key woman

I come jingling

And there is a ringing in my ear

That is not song

But how I enter

I am quilted down

With eyes and scale

This is jewelry on my belt

From the Living behind us

I enter        then I knock

 

I am a woman with keys

And this long middle sash of sorrow

Stays tightly tied

And is given to the yellow chicken wind

For whipping

Do you hear that jingle

As I go slow

I am a woman with keys

The mother-mother of memory

 

I come to go

As I please

You know I have been here

By the sound of locks

Swinging free

From Zanzibar to Daufuskie to alligator swamp

All along the ocean’s floor

There are attics

And storm cellars of hearts

Castanetting for a key

A Black cobblestone of family

Has never held its breath

 

Tell them I am on my way

 

I am a woman with keys

Unlocking the buildings

That now belong

To me 

 

-Nikky Finney

 

Currently listening to: “Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman