Saturday, January 12, 2013

Music: Jars of Clay: Is today's Christian music unforgetable?

Hat Tip to Hesed Jack Dosejo Alvarez, Philippines

Jars of Clay performing "Unforgetful You"
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Jars of Clay performing "I Need You"

This one I found on my own.  In it, we find an allegorical way of speaking about God, speaking to God.  I say "allegorical" because the Jars here are not addressing you, you in your living secularity; and you are not being addressed by them in their living secularity ... there's an allegorical distance even in their use of the word "You" (and it is properly capitalized in its first letter).  They're addressing God; the song is another prayer like "Unforgetful You," which causes me to reflect back to inquire about who is the "You" in that song (above).  Is the "Unforgetful You," the Lord Himself?  Is that why I felt a distance in the first song between the lead singer (who is busy addressing God) but does so in front of a paying audience the members of which are not directly addressed at all.  There's something held back in this Christian music, not held back so much from God (altho there's that too, often enuff).  Rather, there's something held back from the living secularity of us, the audience:  we are human subjects, and in modern pop music concerts, we want to be addressed directly, in our subjectivity, but if that's just a gambit, a conceit, a deceit, when actually all the time they're addressing God only, then what's left to you and all those around you at the concert?  A kind of faithful voyeurism?  Is that our role in this music?  Not quite it seems.  The Jars want to luxuriate in the ambiguity of their allegorical meaning.  It coud be this or that.  It coud be God is addressed, but they make it seem somewhat that it's the members of the crowd who are addressed.  Still, I've been addressed by pop musicians and I like the feeling of being addressed, even tho we in the crowd are so numerous.  Addressed with passion, with honesty, with expressiveness that gets thru all the layers of resistance to real communication in an aesthetically-opened musical way.  That distance I experienced is the gap or the line between what's above in a Grace realm and what's below the line of difference, the Natural realm.  Hans Rookmaker found it in the painting of a certain age in the arts, Calvin Seerveld seems not to have found it in a painter like Roualt, but here we have latterday Protestants who seem to have revived the Nature/Grace dualism in this latterday, and its hermeneutics of allegory or misplaced parabolism.

Musikos, refWrite Backpage music newspotter, analyst, columnist

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