One of the things that I hoped to accomplish with my two books The Rock & Roll Rebellion, Faith, God & Rock 'n' Roll and my next, Rock Gets Religion, was to encourage artists to use their music to grapple with the big issues of life. Theology, the study of our beliefs about God is of course one of those big issues of life that smart people like to sit around and speculate about, and U2 has always done a good job of talking theology, albeit obliquely.
For many U2 fans, Bono's religious lessons were easy to swallow because he always gave them an out. After all, though he didn't have a sex act in mind when he sang "If you want to touch the sky better learn to kneel," some of his fans may have thought so and few likely understood that The Joshua Tree referenced the cross that Christ died on, (Joshua being another name for Jesus). In fact Bono explicitly gave his more secular listeners an alternate reading with his song about the theological notion of "Grace" when he sang "It's the name for a girl, it's also a thought that changed the world."
So when I began to hear Chris Martin at my gym singing about St. Peter not calling his name I was intrigued. What in the world was he singing about? A lot it turns out. It seems that a debate is already raging in cyberspace about his band Coldplay and its song "Viva La Vida"
What Martin isn't doing is playing coy like Bono. At first blush, this appears to be a direct, albeit melodic attack on the Catholic Church. Listen and read for yourself here and here.
I'm not Catholic, and I'm certainly no theologian, but when a song apparently written from the perspective of the Pope or the Catholic church includes the line "For some reason I can't explain, I know St. Peter won't call my name," those sound like fighting words to me.
There's a pretty smart analysis of the song from a guy who's way smarter than I am here, but before poor Chris Martin is crucified for this song, I think it's important to step back, take a deep breath and say that this is exactly what rock and roll should be doing: debating the big issues of life, asking questions, provoking and challenging the status quo and all listeners, even Catholics, should prefer this to meaningless drivel like the number one song in the country this summer, "I Kissed A Girl And I Liked It."
Martin and company recorded the album in various Catholic churches which may alternately horrify the faithful or inspire. Whatever the case, my hat is off to Coldplay for starting a provocative debate and singing about something other than the number of women they bedded.
For half a century rock has been operating with half its brain tied behind its back-seeming to be capable only of talking about sex and drugs. Now, with U2, Switchfoot, Matisyahu and Coldplay leading the way, it's proving to be a venue for thoughtful and challenging discussions about the big issues of life as well.
Now, who will fire back and challenge Coldplay's view of the Catholic Church with a song that I can't stop humming? I can't wait to hear it.
"Troll sat alone on his seat of stone,
And munched and mumbled a bare old bone;
For many a year he had gnawed it near,
For meat was hard to come by.
Done by! Gum by!
In a cave in the hills he dwelt alone,
And meat was hard to come by.
Up came Tom with his big boots on.
Said he to Troll: 'Pray, what is yon?
For it looks like the shin o' my nuncle Tim,
As should be a-lyin' in graveyard.
This many a year has Tim been gone,
And I thought he were lyin' in graveyard.'
'My lad,' said Troll, 'this bone I stole.
But what be bones that lie in a hole?
Thy nuncle was dead as a lump o' lead,
Afore I found his shinbone.
He can spare a share for a poor old troll,
For he don't need his shinbone.'
Said Tom: 'I don't see why the likes o' thee
Without axin' leave should go makin' free
With the shank or the shin o' my father's kin;
So hand the old bone over!
Though dead he be, it belongs to he;
So hand the old bone over!'
'For a couple o' pins,' says Troll, and grins,
'I'll eat thee too, and gnaw thy shins.
A bit o' fresh meat will go down sweet!
I'll try my teeth on thee now.
Hee now! See now!
I'm tired o' gnawing old bones and skins;
I've a mind to dine on thee now.'
But just as he thought his dinner was caught,
He found his hands had hold of naught.
Before he could mind, Tom slipped behind
And gave him the boot to larn him.
Warn him! Darn him!
A bump o' the boot on the seat, Tom thought,
Would be the way to larn him.
But harder than stone is the flesh and bone
Of a troll that sits in the hills alone.
As well set your boot to the mountain's root,
For the seat of a troll don't feel it.
Peel it! Heal it!
Old Troll laughed, when he heard Tom groan,
And he knew his toes could feel it.
Tom's leg is game, since home he came,
And his bootless foot is lasting lame;
But Troll don't care, and he's still there
With the bone he boned from its owner.
Troll's old seat is still the same,
And the bone he boned from its owner!"
Quote:Originally Posted by busybeeburns;2479475 Whatever the case, my hat is off to Coldplay for starting a provocative debate and singing about something other than the number of women they bedded.
When have they ever done that? This is Coldplay, remember.
I would ask why the heck he's talking about VLV here and not Violet Hill ("Priests clutched onto bibles, hollowed out to fit their rifles"), but actually it seems likely that VLV is the only Coldplay song he's ever heard.
Being a Catholic myself I'm perfectly comfortable singing along to Viva La Vida, I hear absolutely no "attack on the pope" or the "catholic church." If anything Violet Hill has more of a tendency in that direction, even so it happens to be my favorite song on the album. I firmly feel that as long as people are basically respectful they have every right to have their opinions on religions, and the lyrics are not so in your face as to make it impossible for it to mean something personal to me. Coldplay have never taken an in your face attitude with their opinions so there welcome to have them, I don't have to agree with them politically or morally to love their music. If I only listened to bands who shared my philosophy on life I would have a very slim album collection.
~"If you take your stand on the 'prevalent' view, how long do you suppose it will prevail?.....All you can really say about my taste is that it is old-fashioned; your will soon be the same."~ C.S. Lewis
I actually did consider the other day that the song may be written from the catholic church's perspective. It seemed really weird when I first considered it but, I don't know, it half made sense in my head. This is the sort of nonsense I usually laugh at and ridicule but give it a second's thought, and it's not as absurd as it first sounds.
so give me love over, love over, love over this
i'm, just waiting till the firing stops...
questions of science, science and progress, do not speak as loud as my heart
I actually thought that Viva La Vida might be about Bush or Blair, or Moses who parted the sea... but more like Bush after his term ends, looking back on his "glory days" and how lots of revolutionaries are waiting for him, and how St. Peter isn't gonna let him in...
lol, there was a radio host who also thought that it was a political song about blair and the guys were like "umm...no, actually you're dead wrong."
"So I wanna live in a wooden house, where making more friends would be easy, I wanna live where the sun comes out..."
Quote:Originally Posted by Karencorpse;4818717 Tnspieler1012 seams like a very interesting guy who has lots of interesting things to talk about and great things to do with her.
Quote:Originally Posted by eff-exx;5237716 You're like the ultimate post-rocker in this forum.
Quote:Originally Posted by RedBalloon;5603153 We are connected with the viberation of the heart/soul waves, and if they are strong enough, our thoughts can travel across the universe to reach to where they are meant to be. The physical death is only a door and may he choose a better reincarnation or wish strongly to go to Amitabha Pure Land;