Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday PSTSS: "More I Believe"

This is from The Proclaimers' 1994 Hit the Highway, my favorite album by the Scottish R&B/folk/gospel/rockabilly duo. Their previous album, Sunshine on Leith, was the one with their big American hit, "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)," but their follow-up surpasses that earlier album on I think every level--musically, production values, and especially lyrically. In fact, it's nearly impossible for me to pick out one pop song from this album to focus on, as so much of it is so rich and thoughtful and fun: "Let's Get Married" is one of the wiser love songs every written; "Follow the Money" is a high-charged ditty about shrugging off all that "mystical Celtic bull" and getting down to earning a living; "Shout Shout" and "Don't Turn Out Like Your Mother" are riotous accounts of a, shall we say, rather tense relationship; and "The Light" is a terrific, at times bitter, attack on those who find easy religious comfort in the smooth words of professional preachers. But for this week, I'm focusing on another Christian song from the album, the only serious rock and roll song I've ever heard which takes a Calvinist line on the sovereignty of God, the works-grace dispute, and the final judgment. (Which, really, shouldn't be the case: there's a lot of room for righteous, Job-like, rock-and-roll defiance in the context of that particular kind of faith.) I've heard the Proclaimers sing this one live, and I guarantee you--contemplative piety is not what comes to mind! All the better for the song though, I say.

The life that I've been living
From the day I first drew breath
Has been my way of forgetting
I'm on the journey to my death

You make my soul rise up
You make my eyes to see
When I place my faith in you
And I lose my belief in me

The less I believe in me
The more I believe in thee
The less I believe in me
The more I believe in thee

I don't believe in beads or crystals
Instant karma or mother earth
I don't believe that what I think
Makes any difference to what I'm worth

I don't believe in reincarnation
I'm not coming back as a flower
I don't bow my head to kings or priests
'Cos I believe in your higher power

The less I believe in me
The more I believe in thee
The less I believe in me
The more I believe in thee

Oh you've given me a plan
That I don't understand
'Cos I've wandered over half the world
But I've remained an ignorant man

One thing that I know
Is when the final bell tolls
Human love won't be enough
Good deeds can't save my soul

Well I'm not afraid of dying
But I am afraid of you
Because you hear me when I'm lying
And you see the things I do

So the hands go round the clock
As the light goes from the room
And I can't help thinking to myself
I'm going to find out much to soon

Oh you've given me a plan
That I don't understand
'Cos I've wandered over half the world
But I've remained an ignorant man

One thing that I know
Is when the final bell tolls
Human love won't be enough
Good deeds can't save my soul
I believe
I believe
I believe
I believe

1 comment:

John B. said...

Thank you for posting this. I've heard of The Proclaimers but before reading your post didn't have a sense of what they were/are like.

I admit it: I'm lazy. But I'll ask anyway: Is there any chance you could post links to these songs in your Friday series?