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David Gray – Babylon Lyrics 11 years ago
I'm going to disagree with those who think Babylon is supposed to be some utopia. The most famous reference to Babylon by far is Psalm 137, talking about the Jewish captivity and diaspora in Babylon:
"By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.... For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song.... How shall we sing the LORD's song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning."

Babylon--far from utopia--represents loss, loneliness, confusion, bewilderment, and longing. The utopia, by contrast, is Jerusalem. The psalmist can never forget Jerusalem, even in all the sensual delights in Babylon.

For Gray's song, I think the meaning is very similar to this psalm. The narrator goes through all the stages of loss. On the first day (Friday) he is just sitting around remembering what he lost. In fact, he regrets even becoming attached to her in the first place. The next day (Saturday) he's trying to forget about the whole thing by going a little bit wild. "Chemicals" might represent drugs/alcohol or it might just be an adrenaline rush. But even in the midst of this pleasure, he just feels his loss even more clearly, "only wish that you were here." He realizes he was simply afraid the whole time. Far from regretting getting to know her, now he regrets only that he didn't "show you how I really feel."

Then comes the chorus, which is great just in its simple message: If you are lonely, if you have lost, or whatever-- "If you want it/ Come and get it/ For crying out loud!" Don't let your heart or head get in the way! If you are in Babylon, get out! My love was never really in doubt, somehow something just got in the way...

On Sunday, he is thinking about finding her again, wondering "where it is you might be going to." Of course, after all his doubt, wandering, and sadness, he finds what he was looking for all along when he comes back home, she was waiting, "smiling there." Happy ending.

The only question then: Who is 'she'? What is your 'Jerusalem'? Who/what is the one thing that YOU have been looking for all along? What are you waiting for?

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Dave Gahan – Kingdom Lyrics 13 years ago
I believe this song is a reference to the Sermon on the Mount, the most famous of Jesus' teachings. The first part of the song is responding to Jesus promise: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."

I admit I have a hard time completely understanding the artist's feelings about God and the Kingdom of heaven in this song. In some Depeche Mode songs, John the Revelator comes to mind, they come down clearly against Christianity. Still it's possible (and perhaps wise) to be skeptical but also hold out at least the possibility of the divine, the Kingdom, and also love. "If there's a kingdom beyond it all?/ Is there a god who loves us all?/ Do we believe in love at all?"


Some may wonder what love has to do with it. I am not sure if this is exactly what the artist meant, but here is my explanation. I believe that most people do not realize how strongly associated many of our romantic ideas about love are with God. If there is no God, if there is only the material world, then what is love really? Nothing more than a chemical soup in our animal brains, neurons firing in the dark. The kind of love that we all hope someday to find can only be a transcendent thing-- indeed, a gift from God. All our hopes for love are inextricably tied up with our hopes for God.

So here Dave Gahan looks around and takes note of the apparent contradiction. The ideas of love and God are compelling, but where are they to be found on this twisted planet of mass murders, starvation, broken hearts, and pain? If there is a God who loves us, then what kind of love is that? He sarcastically directs this question to a God he obviously doubts exists: "So in your infinite wisdom/ show me how this life should be/ all your love and glory/ doesn't mean that much to me." Here the artist has leveled the most difficult problem for Judaism and Christianity, that is, the problem of evil. It is such a difficult question because it cannot be answered completely.

One of the oldest and most profound attempts to deal with evil is the Book of Job, a piece of Hebrew wisdom literature also found in the Christian Bible. Job has suffered many problems because Satan has accused Job of being faithful to God only because he has been blessed with wealth, children, etc. God allows Satan to take everything away from Job but still he remains faithful. In the end, God himself comes in a whirlwind. Still, he does not explain himself, in fact he turns the question on its head by demanding by what right Job may even ask for an explanation. I believe the lesson is that, if God exists, there must be a reason for every suffering we experience because he is a perfect being and therefore everything he does must also be perfectly right. But if we lack the necessary knowledge to say with certainty that our sufferings are unnecessary and this world is imperfect, then we also lack the knowledge to understand why God believes they are necessary. Thus, the question remians unanswerable and, in this life, we will have to look elsewhere for evidence of God.

In the interest of disclosure, I feel I should let you know that I do believe in God. Unlike Dave Gahan, I also believe that we live in a world created by a loving God. I believe in the Kingdom of heaven, and I believe that it has come in the person of Jesus. We do still live in suffering (mostly because of our own choices), but God himself experienced suffering and redeemed it at the Cross. In the words of Jesus, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

P.S. If you are interested in a similar song to Kingdom from a different perspective, try David Crowder Band's "Rescue Is Coming".

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The Raconteurs – Steady, As She Goes Lyrics 13 years ago
Of course, true love must put the welfare and happiness of the beloved ahead of any concern for self. A tall order indeed. No wonder so many marriages end in divorce-- how many people are really capable of such a thing? (Sorry for three seperate posts, it's my first time posting on this site.)

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The Raconteurs – Steady, As She Goes Lyrics 13 years ago
So the man carries on stoically (for lack of a better word), as he doesn't know what else to do. Hence, the final, tragic meaning of "Steady As She Goes," a play on words with various meanings that sets up the whole song.

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The Raconteurs – Steady, As She Goes Lyrics 13 years ago
I agree with those who have talked about this being about giving in to social pressure. It strikes me that the point is that, like in "You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You're Told)," going steady can't be real love. Not because of long term commitment being incompatible with love (it is indispensible, in fact), but because this is a fundamentally selfish thing that the man has done in the song. He has been drawn to (false) love because he's finally found the limits of single life via his friends (who have presumably settled down themselves). Problem is, he is trying to have all the self-indulgence of single life with all the benefits of going steady. And he has done it all at society's prodding. Thus, he will always "feel as though [he] tripped and fell" because he has desires that cannot be fulfilled, but he makes it his only purpose to fulfill them, even when his very "blood is depleted to the point of stable glue" (great imagery!).

In the end, the "protagonist" is not such a bad guy: he is just as selfish as anyone else. He has tried to do his agreed upon part in society (which is justice, if anything), but has made the mistake of not examining the hollowness of what society is trying to sell him. He is not, and will not, be happy, but he deceives himself into thinking he is and ends by "send[ing] it to the crowd that's gathered round." That is, he is passing on the same lie that society first told him, and which has by now eaten away at his very life.

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