The raving thoughts of a millennial Dad

26 March 2007

The Pax Plena song of the week comes to you via country music Grammy Award winner (and Native Oklahoman) Carrie Underwood and is titled Wasted.

Most analyses of this song seem indicate that it is rooted in the dark theme of alcoholism. This assumption certainly isn't a stretch given the title but more than this the song is apt for any circumstance in which the will to live outweighs the will to mourn. It embodies a classic notion of personal resolve that an individual can recover from wasted years, from being jaded, even from depression through a personal decision to live again.

Musically, there are various elements at work which make the song a powerful piece not the least of which being Underwood's voice which is at times both soaring and contemplative- an atypical combination, indeed, for country music. Speaking as a fan, country music often inhabits the extremes of the style spectrum. It tends to be either really up-beat or fairly mellow. This song in particular seems to meld the two well.

The video below is a performance of Underwood's hit. It has been hailed by critics as one of the best country music videos released in recent years. Shot in black and white, the video tells the story of two lovers, their break up, and how the situation is ultimately resolved.

Enjoy!




Wasted
Standing at the back door
She tried to make it fast
One tear hit the hard wood
It felt like broken glass
She said sometimes love slips away
And you just can't get it back
Let's face it

For one split second
She almost turned around
But that would be like pouring rain drops
Back into a cloud
So she took another step and said
I see the way out and I'm gonna' take it

I don't wanna' spend my life jaded
Waitin' to wake up one day and find
That I've let all these years go by
Wasted

Another glass of whisky but it still don't kill the pain
So he stumbles to the sink and pours it down the drain
He says it's time to be a man and stop living for yesterday
Gotta face it.

Cause' I don't wanna' spend my life jaded
Waitin' to wake up one day and find
That I've let all these years go by
Wasted

Oh I don't wanna' keep on wishing, missin'
But still every morning' the color of the night
I ain't spending no more time
Wasted

She kept drivin' along
Till the moon and the sun were floating side-by-side
He looked in the mirror and his eyes were clear
For the first time in a while

Hey, yeah,
Oh, I don't wanna' spend my life jaded
Waitin' to wake up one day and find
That I've let all these years go by
Wasted

Oh I don't wanna' keep on wishing, missing
But still every morning' the color of the night
I ain't spending no more time
Wasted

Oh, I don't wanna' spend my life jaded
Waitin' to wake up one day and find
That I've let all these years go by
Wasted

Yeah, yeah
Oh I don't wanna' keep on wishing, missing
But still every morning' the color of the night
I ain't spending no more time
Wasted

25 March 2007

Peyton Manning, quarterback for the Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts, was the guest host of Saturday Night Live yesterday evening- along with Country music star Carrie Underwood who looked radiant as always.


[Link]


Here's a clip from the show. It is one of the funniest clips I have seen from SNL in a long time.


20 March 2007


The Pax Plena song of the week hearkens us back to a bygone era of contrasting simplicities- when good and evil were objective and when America could fight a war on two fronts and win with only good ole' American resolve.

The year was August 21, 1941 less than four months before America's entry into World War II and the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Glen Miller's orchestra had just ushered in a brand new era of big band swing and its new hit Chattanooga Choo Choo was the hottest song going. Fresh off the silver screen and into the radios and theaters of audiences across North America, the Milton Berle film Sun Valley Serenade introduced our swing classic to the world.

The song is about a train trip taken from New York City to Chattanooga, TN back when Chattanooga was the kind of town folks ought to visit- when some three railways catered to the city's transportation needs. It explores a now lost mode of travel and an increasingly passé notion of commitment. But the music will be as familiar to listeners as any sound of Americana- which only reinforces the view that the song has become somewhat of an American institution unto itself.

Chattanooga Choo Choo melds the breezy vocals of Tex Beneke (who would go on to provide the vocals for most of the Glen Miller Orchestra's biggest hits) with the big band sound of trombone, trumpet and tenor sax melody. Most notably, the background accompaniment infuses the opening strains with train engine sounds which help to blend seamlessly lyric and score. Like most swing songs, the tune is played to an up beat rhythm just right for dancing. If anything, the song was marketable in the Rainbow Room's golden age.

Listening to the song some 65 years later, the ultimate contribution it makes to the lexicon of music is its sentimental recollection of America's lost innocence. It calls to mind the days before Islamofascism, the War on Terror and even the Greatest Generation. It conjures up memories of a time when the mere mention of satin and lace was enough to raise eyebrows, long before the days of quick flights, 24-hour news cycles and even shorter marriages.

The link at the bottom provides a brief You Tube video from Sun Valley Serenade and features the song as performed back in 1941. Enjoy!


Chattanooga Choo Choo

Pardon me, boy
Is that the Chattanooga choo choo?
Track twenty-nine
Boy, you can gimme a shine
I can afford
To board a Chattanooga choo choo
I've got my fare
And just a trifle to spare

You leave the Pennsylvania Station 'bout a quarter to four
Read a magazine and then you're in Baltimore
Dinner in the diner
Nothing could be finer
Than to have your ham an' eggs in Carolina

When you hear the whistle blowin' eight to the bar
Then you know that Tennessee is not very far
Shovel all the coal in
Gotta keep it rollin'
Woo, woo, Chattanooga there you are

There's gonna be
A certain party at the station
Satin and lace
I used to call "funny face"
She's gonna cry
Until I tell her that I'll never roam
So Chattanooga choo choo
Won't you choo-choo me home?
Chattanooga choo choo
Won't you choo-choo me home?

[Link]
Photo courtesy of Classic Photos.com

13 March 2007

Taking a brief interlude from country and blue grass groups, the Pax Plena song of the week comes to you courtesy of alternative music group Lifehouse and is titled Somewhere in Between.

Through minor chords and repetitive melody, the song commends an obvious sympathy for anyone living amid one of life's crossroads and waiting for the next steps to become clear. It's mellow tenor communicates that the ultimate message of the song is as much one of grace as it is one of transition. The unspoken lesson seems to be that time has a way of effecting the change for which we wait. We initially reach a point of questioning, "why am I losing sleep over this" until we arrive at the conclusion we are "somewhere in between." This place has many locales be it in between anger and forgiveness, sorrow and joy, or tumult and peace. Still, during these periods we find grace through the Philippians sense of working out our own salvation as we confront the obstacle in debating "what is real and just a dream."

In some sense, our entire lives are devoted to this Pauline task. Desmond Tutu told me at breakfast many years ago "There's only one way to eat an elephant- one bite at a time." This maxim is true for life. It is a point both obvious and inevitable in the song but it's instructive for anyone waiting, praying, seeking or yearning and finding themselves somewhere in between.



Somewhere in Between

I cant be losing sleep over this, no I can't
And now I can not stop pacing
Give me a few hours, I'll have all this sorted out
If my mind would just stop racing

Cause I cannot stand still
I cant be this unsturdy
This cannot be happening

This is over my head but underneath my feet
Cuz by tomorrow morning I'll have this thing beat
And everything will be back to the way that it was
I wish that it was just that easy

Cuz I'm waiting for tonight
Then waiting for tomorrow
And I'm somewhere in between
What is real, and just a dream
What is real, and just a dream
What is real, and just a dream

Would you catch me if I fall out of what I fell in
Don't be surprised if I collapse down at your feet again
I don't want to run away from this
I know that I just don't need this

Cause I cannot stand still
I can't be this unsturdy
This cannot be happening

Cuz I'm waiting for tonight
Then waiting for tomorrow
And I'm somewhere in between
What is real, and just a dream
What is real, and just a dream
What is real, and just a dream

06 March 2007

The Pax Plena song of the week comes to you courtesy of country music legend Garth Brooks and is titled Much Too Young To Feel This Damn Old.

It pretty much sums up life as a twenty-something but no one can sing it quite like Garth.


Much Too Young To Feel This Damn Old

This ol' highway's getting longer
Seems there ain't no end in sight
To sleep would be best, but I just can't afford to rest
I've got to ride in Denver tomorrow night

I called the house but no one answered
For the last two weeks no one's been home
I guess she's through with me, to tell the truth I just can't see
What's kept the woman holding on this long

And the white line's getting longer and the saddle's getting cold
I'm much too young to feel this damn old
All my cards are on the table with no ace left in the hole
I'm much too young to feel this damn old

The competition's getting younger
Tougher broncs, you know I can't recall
The worn out tape of Chris LeDoux, lonely women and bad booze
Seem to be the only friends I've left at all

And the white line's getting longer and the saddle's getting cold
I'm much too young to feel this damn old
All my cards are on the table with no ace left in the hole
I'm much too young to feel this damn old

Lord, I'm much too young to feel this damn old