Thursday, February 17

Yet Again...

...I shall be blogging about Five Iron Frenzy. Someday soon I'll post a review of the album The End is Here, but I don't have time today. Here is one thing, though.

Why is FIF so popular?

A lot of people wonder why this band was so popular. They didn't have great voices, per se, and it's ska, so it's not exactly the most musically sophisticated sound. They sung about their pants, and Combat Chuck, and blue combs; not the most intelligent of all lyrics.

So why are they so well loved?

Well, firstly, because they didn't try to be rock stars. They were normal people. I wrote to them one time, and got a letter back from a member of the band, giving me her e-mail address. We chatted back and forth a few times, and one time she even sent me a postcard. It had a picture of Spam on it: I loved it.

Secondly, they acknowledged brokeness and failure, but not in the way that most bands do. Most people swing between the extremes of "no negativity, ever," and "let's talk about all the dark things in life, all the time, and tack Jesus onto the end of it to make it Christian." FIF generally didn't fall into either error. They basically said, "Hey, it's life. There's good stuff, there's rotten stuff. The good stuff is a gift: appreciate it, experience it fully. The bad stuff stinks but can push you closer to Christ. Accept it, welcome it, experience it fully." For example, here's a quote from the song "Cannonball":

"Wind passes right through my skin as I fall down, this furious speed will only destroy me.
Crippling and devastating momentum, approaching maximum velocity.
And this is how it's going to be, the point of it all.
'Cause this is what was meant for me, recklessly I fall.

Hulking, smashing, I come crashing, nothing like when I was small.
I am unstoppable, I am the cannonball.
That feeble coward that you knew, has undergone an overhaul.
I am unstoppable, I am the cannonball.

And everyone will say it's just an accident, like some mishap or a tragedy.
I think that failure has a purpose, and I don't believe it's chance if I fall.
And I know that if I ever do fall, He will catch me.
And if He ever lets me fall down, for the good of those who believe Him,
He will make me into a cannonball.

Unblemished, and faultless. A burning luminescence.
Unequaled precision, beyond your scope of vision. Cannonball."

Thirdly, they were ok with criticizing the church when it did go wrong, but not blindly condemning it. Most Christian bands will either say nothing bad about anything Christian, or will blame all of Christian culture and the Church for everything that's wrong. FIF, though they sometimes might have gone a bit too far, never really ended up in either camp.

Fourthly: Their songs acknowledged human brokeness, sin, and coldheartedness without being depressing. Sin was never pointed out without a mention of the grace that heals.
My new favorite FIF song illustrates this:

"I have been scarred so deep by life and cold despair, and brittle bones were broken far beyond repair.
I have leveled lies so deep, the truth may never find.
And inside my faithless heart, I stole things never mine.

If mercy falls upon the broken and the poor, Dear Father, I will see you, there on distant shores.

I have toiled for countless years and ever felt the cost,
and I've been burned by this world's cold, like leaves beneath the frost.
On my knees I've crawled to You, bleeding myself dry. But the price of life is more, than I could ever buy.

If mercy falls upon the broken and the poor, Dear Father, I will see you, there on distant shores.

And off of the blocks, I was headstrong and proud,
at the front of the line for the card-carrying, highbrowed.
With both eyes fastened tight, yet unscarred from the fight.
Running at full tilt, my sword pulled from its hilt.
It's funny how these things can slip away, our frail deeds, the last will wave good-bye.
It's funny how the hope will bleed away, the citadels we build and fortify. Good-Bye.
Night came and I broke my stride, I swallowed hard, but never cried.
When grace was easy to forget, I'd denounce the hypocrites,
casting first stones, killing my own.
You would unscale my blind eyes, and I stood battered, but more wise,
fighting to accelerate, shaking free from crippling weight.
With resilience unsurpassed, I clawed my way to You at last.
And on my knees, I wept at Your feet,
I finally believed, that You still loved me.

Healing hands of God have mercy on our unclean souls once again. Jesus Christ, Light of the World, burning bright within our hearts forever. Freedom means love without condition, without beginning or an end. Here's my heart, let it be forever Yours, only You can make every new day seem so new."

Fifthly, they created a niche for some very odd people to exist in. Most of Christian culture has been very serious and solemn, and while that's good, there's often no place for people who are slightly random. So when FIF sang about how these were not their pants, and going out into the street and getting hit by cars, and the kingdom of the dinosaurs, we laughed and knew that there was a place for us.

No comments: