Monday, October 13, 2008

Music Review: God Help Me, by Rebecca St. James



Song: God Help Me
Artist: Rebecca St. James
Album: If I Had Once Chance to Tell You Something

Anyone who knows me will likely roll their eyes, knowing what my review will say. But, still, I want to review this song first (I want to at least have a positive view of the first reviewed song--it'd be pretty crummy to have to scream in a panic, "BEWARE!!!!!" on my first one, wouldn't it?), and I chose this one because I admit I love it and it's also slightly controversial, in a way (although it's an easier handle, as it's of the Christian genre). For further notice I won't be discussing the moral lessons of Mozart or Beethoven; I'll be hitting more, let's say reviewable material.

First, for the sake of my reader's I'll let them see the lyrics. Read them, examine them, and judge for yourself. (I don't think they are, but still forgive me if they're a tad off. I did them partially by ear.)

From the deep I cry
I am needing change in my life
I have let the cold creep in and lock my ability to feel (deeply)
Just now a shaft of light shot through my soul
Opening up the windows and the doors
Reaching to the corners and my flaws
Showing my need

I'm running out of time to live
Running out of love to give
Running out of life within
God help me

I don't care who stares
Never want to be what I've been again
Grace has taken over and drawn me in and I am embracing it
'Cause now I see Your light drawing me close
Overwhelming love I don't deserve
But I'll take the hope You bring, You hold it out to me
Without You

I'm running out of time to live
Running out of love to give
Running out of life within
God help me

God help me
Please help me
God help me

Running out of time to live
Running out of love to give
Running out of life within
God help me

I'm running out of time to live
Running out of love to give
Running out of life within
God help me

God help me



I'll admit it. I love the sound of this song. The hard, blasting electric guitar and the other elements suit my musical tastes perfectly. Gritty, nasty, dark and mean, this is right up my alley.

The average Christian listener may very well be caused to run in the opposite direction at those words, but let's wait a second here and take a closer look.

In the album's booklet, Rebecca St. James says of this song, "I wrote this song on my 27th birthday, after coming face to face with a fresh understanding of the brevity of life and my intense need for God." And that's a good description. One of the biggest reasons I've loved this song so much (besides its sound) was the dark tones of death ("I'm running out of time to live/Running out of love to give/Running out of life within/God help me"); they resonate with me quite a bit. But it's not a dangerous and suicidal obsession with death that so many non-Christian artists have. These lyrics have something. They're quite powerful, and they give the credit to the right source.

The singer cries out numerous times to God for help (I mean, that's the title of the song!), seeming to realize her unsaved folly ("From the deep I cry/I am needing change in my life/I have let the cold creep in and lock my ability to feel (deeply)"). But, thankfully, things don't end there, and there's something of a conversion scene in the song ("Just now a shaft of light shot through my soul/Opening up the windows and the doors/Reaching to the corners and my flaws/Showing my need"). We even see her new attitude ("I don't care who stares/Never want to be what I've been again") and is now following the path of Christ with strength, vigor, and tenacity ("Grace has taken over and drawn me in and I am embracing it/'Cause now I see Your light drawing me close/Overwhelming love I don't deserve/But I'll take the hope You bring, You hold it out to me").

Rebecca recognizes her time is short ("I'm running out of time to live"), and runs to the only one who can help her ("Running out of life within/God help me").

Rebecca St. James's music is in my opinion a high note amongst the genre (many "Christian" artist are not quite who they say they are); although I'm sure I'm more "conservative" than she is, her faith and her laudable views on the issues of relationships, chastity, etc. are something I can truly appreciate. Her courtship song Wait For Me comes to mind.

A note about this "[g]ritty, nasty, dark and mean" song. For years I've heard the idea from many Christians that all forms of rock, rap, metal, etc. music are evil and Satanic (they often claim that such forms of music come from pagan African roots), and while I respect their opinion completely (even struggling with the idea for a long time myself), I cannot accept it. For sure, I agree that almost all rap and metal is deplorable in content, and much of rock is as well, but that's beside the issue of sound or style. Is it the electric guitar, the drums, or a throbbing beat that makes a song "evil"? I do not see the scriptural basis for this. I simply cannot grip the philosophy that something can be morally wrong just because of its sound (Didn't God create sound and music anyhow?).

It's not that I take the view that we should conform our own styles of Christian music to those of other popular artist and their genres in order to "identify" with the unsaved in order to somehow help them (Am I the only one that finds this kind of logic strange?), something I also regard to be erroneous, even though well-intentioned. However, the fact that a song may sound like this song does is not grounds for me to declare it evil.

On the contrary, I find much to applaud in God Help Me. Good job, Rebecca.

Spencer

8 comments:

Lady Neferankh said...

Oh! Very interesting :D. Thanks for this, we have one of Rebecca St.James' CDs already, but I might check this one out as well !

Dr. Paleo Ph.D. said...

Why thank you! Be prepared for more reviews! (As well as more songs that I'm betting you won't like--and that I don't either.)

Konfusion said...

never heard of her, but i'll check her out. It doesn't seem too strange for a typical Christian silly boy... I didn't see one single curse word.

;-)

Dr. Paleo Ph.D. said...

silly boy

Silly boy!?! Now wait just a minute....

;-P

guitargirl said...

Hey! Thank you for your comment on my blog! :-D
I love RSJ. I got that CD for Christmas a couple years ago. I keep saying that she needs to write more songs instead of writing books. LOL! She's a very good singer.
I was just browsing a little through your profile and saw that you liked Civil war relics. I live about 5 hours away from Gettysburg. I actually own a confederate's hat. I might post pictures of it soon. My younger cousin is really into Civil war and it kind of blew his mind. LOL!
My house also has *local* ;) historical value and was built during WWII, but that's another story ;)
Anyways, thanx again for the visit! :)

Dr. Paleo Ph.D. said...

No, thank you for visiting! You've been added to my blog roll and my following list. :-D

Civil War? Fantastic! I'm so jealous; I live five hours from...nothing. :-O

guitargirl said...

HAHA! Five hours from nothing?! That's harsh ;) I take it you live in the sticks too, then? We have to drive two hours to get to a decent mall, but I love it where I live!
Thank you for following me. I don't think I've ever had a follower before :-D

Dr. Paleo Ph.D. said...

No, I should've been more clear, haha. I live in the city, and there's city for hundreds of miles around me pretty much. You have to go east to see much of anything (desert).