Thursday, March 30, 2006

Another Attack of the Clones

Back in my high school and early college days, I was a huge fan of a Christian musician named Steve Taylor. Steve was a former Youth Pastor whose music was a blend of terchno-pop, with some early attempts at rap (very bad from a rap point of view, but very clever for the day). Taylor's forte, especially early on, was satire, and he was unafraid to poke fun at hypocrisy within the church as well as at secular society. The title song from his first album, I Want to be a Clone, challenged the idea that Christians had to conform to the expectations of their peers in order to be good Christians, and included the line, "If you wanna be one of His, you gotta act like one of us!"

Over the years, he did mellow a BIT, and turned his critical eye toward the mirror, producing much deeper and more thoughtfulk lyrics on albums like I Predict 1990, Squint, and the collaborative effort under the band name Chagall Guevara and their album of the same name.

Lately I've been reflecting on some of his earlier, more biting work, and have been surprised when I realized that while the music is severely dated, the lyrics are frighteningly timely some 25 years after they were release. Three in particular have come to mind, so I'd thought I'd share them here (Lyrics found at Leo's Lyrics):

Whatcha gonna do when your number's up?
From the album "I Want To Be A Clone"

Sally's into knowledge
spent her years in college
just to find out nothing is true

She can hardly speak now
words are not unique now
'cause they can't say anything new

You say humanist philosophy is what it's all about?
You're so open-minded that your brains leaked out

Whatcha gonna do when your number's up?
time to lay diplomas down
(time to lay your money down)
whatcha gonna do when your number's up?
and you're buried six feet underground
spent your life looking out for number one
pride'll come before a fall
whatcha gonna do when your number's up?
were you thinking
that was the end of it all?

Harry's a civilian
wants to make a million
so he keeps on pluggin' away

Money is eternal
like the Wall Street Journal
yes they're gonna make him happy someday

Grabbin' for the gusto
gonna hit paydirt or bust
where's it gonna get you
when you bite the dust?


Buried in your psyche is the shadow of a doubt
You're so open minded that your brains leaked out

Bad Rap (Who you tryin' to kid, kid?)
From the album "I Want To Be A Clone"

Now L.A. hip and N.Y. chic
been dancin' lately cheek to cheek
while Midwest good ole boys like me
should all be playing catch-up, see

Subscribe to the Village Voice in throngs
and guess who gigs at Madame Wong's
well drop your pens and pant designs
and drop six words in your open minds

Who you tryin' to kid, kid?
to the Hollywood school
teaching everything's cool
who you tryin' to kid, kid?
to the Greenwich mockingbird
who has gotta have the last word
got your head together now?
got a way that's better now?
who you tryin' to kid, kid?
(say what, bad rap, uh huh)

You save the whales
you save the seals
you save whatever's cute and squeals
but you kill "that thing" that's in the womb
would not want no baby boom

Good, bad, laugh and scorn
blame yourself for kiddie porn
convenience is the law you keep
and your compassion's ankle deep

Who you tryin' to kid, kid?
wrap it in a fine philosophy
who you tryin' to kid, kid?
but your bottom line still says "me me me"
got your head together now?
got a way that's better now?
who you tryin' to kid, kid?

You'll march if all the streets are full
a two bit closet radical
no time to check the end result
expedience is your catapult

Convictions make your skin to crawl
you act like you're above it all
you say faith is a crutch for a mind that's closed
you guzzle your crutch and shove it up your nose

Who you tryin' to kid, kid?
to my left wing band with their head in the sand
who you tryin' to kid, kid?
to the "might makes right" playin' chicken (delight)
got your head together now?
got a way that's better now?
who you tryin' to kid, kid?

Can't understand those Christians
so you type us all in stereo
they're hypocrites
they're such a bore
well come on in
there's room for one more

So now you're mad
who is this guy
to bake us all in one big pie?
you think I care
forget it, hon
you've just been shot
with your own gun

Meat the Press
From the album "Meltdown"

Meat the Press

In a ninety-floor Manhattan address
lives a watchdog called the National Press
and around his collar's written the line
"The Protector Of Our Hearts And Minds"

Hark! Hark! The dog will bark
and we believe this hierarch
but read between the lines and see
this dog's been barking up the wrong tree

Meat The Press

When the ratings point the camera's eye
They can state the facts while telling a lie
and then watchdog shows to the viewers at ten
he's a bloodhound with a pad and pen
can't pin the blame--he's out of reach
just call the dog "His Royal Leech"
we held the rights for heaven's sake
'til we gave this sucker an even break

Meat The Press

When the godless chair the judgment seat
we can thank the godless media elite
they can silence those who fall from their grace
with a note that says "we haven't the space"
well lookee there--the dog's asleep
whenever we march or say a peep
A Christian can't get equal time
Unless he's a looney committing a crime
listen up if you've got ears
I'm tired of condescending sneers
I've got a dog who smells a fight
and he still believes in wrong and right

Meat The Press


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