Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Song-by-Song Review of Raising Up the Dead: Sometimes a Beggar

Words will ride upon the wind
Like the leaves dance in the fall
Forever gone and back again
There can be no greater call

Take the time, think it through
Walk in wise, leave a fool

And it can betray,
Sometimes a beggar
Has more to say

An angel sang with her sweet voice
A siren song from heaven
To entice a man who had no choice
For he too was fallen

Take the time, think it through
Thirty coins, can bury you

You can search for what to say
Or you can let it come to you
It doesn’t matter either way
As long as you can speak the truth

Take the time, think it through
Walk in wise, leave a fool

Take the time, think it through
Thirty coins can bury you

A great introduction to the album. The way Cliff’s voice is recorded coupled with the simplicity of starting with only guitar and the proverb-style of the lyrics makes me think of Bob Dylan.

As a “prelude” to the rest of the music, the song expresses the fickleness of language and the need for the Holy Spirit’s work in order to truly communicate with each other. It cautions the listener to take their time in responding to and thinking about this album and in talking and responding to others.

A beggar is a person in want or at a loss. In the context of this song, the beggar is someone who is at a loss for words. Sometimes people who are silent, who take the time to think and allow God to speak to them have more to say. Words can betray you, but thoughtful words speak truth.

I’m reminded of conversations I’ve had over the phone or through Instant Messaging or e-mail. Oftentimes confusion and lack of direct communication and personal interaction combine with the ability to respond quickly to create dangerous communicative situations. The faster we communicate, the easier it is to say what we don’t mean.

This song also plays off of the idea that sometimes the wisdom of God seems like foolishness to human reason (See 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16: “Has not God made the foolish the wisdom of the world . . . for the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom”). In the logic of this song “speaking the truth” remains most important. “You can search for what to say, or you can let it come to you.” Neither of these is a knee-jerk response.


Brent said...

1) This seems Dylanesque to me as well - and I love it. I think I heard Jeff Miller wrote this song.

2) I really like your thought about how the faster we communicate the easier it is to communicate what we don't mean. "Take the time, think it through/walk in wise and leave the fool." Great advice.

Also, thanks for ALL the reviews. Some great insights into a great album.

Marc said...

Brent - Thanks for reading! Interesting that Jeff might have written this song. He also wrote "Streets of Gold." Looks like he's taking after the masters and eking out some great music.