8/24/09

Instead of Mourning: My Chrome Commentary

I don’t have the chops to of a real music critic, but I can tell you what I think of a song and how I relate to it, so that’s just what I decided to do with Eric Peters’ new album Chrome. Today is the official release day, so if you haven’t checked him out, please follow the links. You won’t be disappointed.

1. “Chrome” – I pray for transformation and cling to verses which speak about the power of the Holy Spirit. “Make me shiny and new,” I plead, but the moment I see a gleam of reflection in the glass windows cruising by, the shine begins to fade. I want the newness to last, and rust to have no preying power. This song speaks to my heart. And my favorite line from the album is in this song: I’m a history never learned.

2. “You Don’t Have The Strength” – On September 11th 2001, we lived only 45 minutes away from the Pentagon. I have visited the crash site of Flight 93; and two years after the fact, my fingers traced the messages of love and hope scrawled on the concrete walls barricading Ground Zero. When I hear September’s war of wills, I see the bright blue sky of a Fall day in Maryland and remember how out of place it felt in the days that followed these terrifying events. I did not lose anyone that day, but we all know something about wailing and waiting. Can we hear the whispered grace? How can we sing of hope? Only in the arms of the One whose perfect love casts out fear.

3. “I Will Go With You” Midnight arms, saints, ghosts and wine. What more could you want from a song about parenting? Author Katherine Patterson says her four children, who provided inspiration for many of her stories, were also the main distraction from writing them. Love, the original Catch-22.

4. “Reality Came Crashing Down” – If you’ve ever tried to create something beautiful of your own from words or sounds or the raw materials of our world, you don’t need anyone to explain this song. When I hear change the world, I immediately think of songs by Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson and even Kenny Rogers. Eric's song comes at the idea from a much better angle than those guys. Maybe my favorite moment on the record, the way Eric’s voice breaks the first time he sings crashing.

5. “I Had To Tell You” – Eric wrote a little about this song on the RR, a couple of weeks ago. All I can add to what he said is this: Here’s what real relationship looks like. Don’t hold things back from God. He can take it. When we pour out our hearts to Him and admit our anger and disappointment, He will still listen. Even better, He begins to answer us and this honest dialogue starts us on the way to healing. I love the images conjured up in the second verse. No matter how beautiful we think our own homemade set of skies is, when we look out the window, it can not compete with the original.

6. “Come Back A Fool” – The pace picks up with this melody, but don’t rush by these lyrics. The father sits on his porch waiting for his foolish son to remember the way home. And we are the sons who mistakenly believe work is required to pay this grace debt.

7. “In The Movies” – Just a little bit of tongue in cheek from EP and Ben Shive, the producer of Chrome. While the story told is sad and the philosophy behind it quite depressing, the upbeat tune suggests that perhaps its singer believes in something else all together, something too good to not be true.

8. “Run Down” – To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what this song is all about, but here’s what it makes me think of: church. Not all of us will admit it, but we are run-down here, and some would like to stay put, even though it’s not quite home. Some of us are looking out of the cave, but not sure if it’s safe to venture out. And the rest are barely making it inside, crawling on all fours through the back door.

9. Louisiana In The Dark” – Often the hardest part of the day for a grieving heart is the night. When the house is quiet and you’ve run out of all the “busy”ness that kept you distracted during the day, that’s when it hurts the most. How can you settle into sleep with such heartache? The only way I know of is to give in to the tears – that’s what they’re for, right?

10. “Traveling Onion” – From the first Oh Oh Oh Kay to the final Ba Ba Bah, this song is nothing but smiles for me. Sure the subject matter is a little dismal, but that’s what makes the lively music stand out. The spirit of it all is to just laugh at ourselves and our self-made importance. Be sure to look for the onion in the lyric leaflet. Little touches like that, in all the songs as well as the art, tell you this album is a true labor of love for all involved.

11. “Sad To Watch You Wave” – I watched a movie this weekend where one of the main characters says to her beloved, “No one else is in love like we are.” And this is how true love sometimes feels, but it’s not a very hopeful statement. Songs like these give me hope for families and futures. There are many good men out there, and they do put their wives first, despite what the evening news tells us. Plus, there’s harmonica.

All in all, I see this album as a search for color in the grey sky, an attempt to find lilies growing among ruins. It seems to me that instead of ashes, Eric wants to *bestow crowns of beauty on his listeners. To which I respond, “Yeah, I’ll wear that out into the world,” even if I must lean down low to receive it. As a Christian woman who struggles with depression, garments of praise are not usually hanging in my closet, and it often feels like the spirit of despair is the only covering I have. But lately, I’m beginning to see a bit of a choice, not a complete cure mind you, but perhaps a small bottle of oil sitting next to the sink where I daily wash my hair. And if I reach out for it, pour it into my wrists and press it into my temples, then maybe, just maybe, the fragrance will stay with me throughout the day.

*see Isaiah 61 and Luke 4:14-20. I believe this is what I should have in mind whenever I talk about wanting to be like Christ.

2 comments:

Eric Peters said...

wow, these are super nice things you've written about Chrome.

Kimberly said...

Ok, obviously the answer is "no".

The more honest answer is I've been selfishly wallowing in my own stink lately.

Hence the need for a complete detox and refocus.

This album looks like it would be a welcomed addition... thanks for the suggestion!