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Friday, April 27, 2012

The Sleepwalker's Bed: Mediocre Greatness

If you hadn't figured it out, these two go together. So I'm writing about them together.

They're a manifesto. I took you through the ups and downs of my teenage years so you would see I'm a real person. Then I brought you to this moment to say "KA-BLAM! Here's my philosophy on life, suckas!"

I was frustrated with the church culture of "Faith is all smiles, all the time." If you didn't know before, faith is NOT all smiles. Believing in God does not make you stop being a real person— a person with doubts, insecurities, occasional moments of brilliance and a lot of bad ideas. So "Greatness" & "Mediocrity" were my attempt at portraying a more nuanced, dynamic life of faith.

But as with many things in this period, the dark outweighed the light. "Greatness" was inspired and passionate, and I was proud of it. "Mediocrity" never felt like the anthem I meant it to be, so I ignored it. I had to re-listen to it just now to remember what the lyrics were. It's endearing now in its idealism. Though poorly constructed, I love the sentiment behind the line "I wanna love with no agenda / And throw away my witness." 

If the album has an overarching theme, it's trying to be everyone's perfect woman. I mention in "Mediocrity" that my past was holding me back.

But in reality, I was the one holding myself back. This song couplet about honesty couldn't reach its highest potential because I wasn't being honest with myself. "Greatness" was completely sincere in its frustration, but "Mediocrity" was so much about what I thought I should say, or even what I wanted to be true. And so the song itself feels a little forced.

When it comes down to it, that's the real reason I haven't released any new music since 2007. Somewhere inside, I knew I needed self-awareness. I knew I needed to learn how to be true to myself.

To make better art, I had to grow up.

I want a revolution. 
Is that too much to ask?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Sleepwalker's Bed: Don't Borrow This Song

Can we agree to bury this song?

I think this is the only one that I'm really embarrassed by. It's so self-righteous! And so graphic! I thought that by making it explicit, I could convince people that I was bringing them "wisdom from the other side," but really it just makes the song unlistenable.

It also promotes a worldview I picked up from youth group and no longer agree with, namely that:
1) Sexual purity is the primary measure of moral character
2) We must view the loss of innocence as a tragic event after which we become "less-than"

Don't get me wrong— I think it's important to teach teenagers about the consequences of their actions. But forcing this "innocence-or-nothing" worldview on them takes away their ability to make their own narrative. It's why I thought my life was over at 17. It's why I said "Our future beauty can no longer last / Because of all the stains of lovers past" and thus gave people an excuse to treat me as the "less-than" I thought I was.

If you're 17 and reading this, DON'T LISTEN TO THIS SONG. Your chance for happiness is not over. Take this song as an example of extremely flawed thinking and go make your own life.

I still like one line in this song though:

Though I battle with demons each day
It's compromise that steals the soul.