Thursday, May 03, 2007

I don't have faith in Rush...

On Rush's new album, Snakes & Arrows, they have a song called "Faithless." It's a bit of light fare typical of their output over the last 20 years, not particularly good and not particularly bad. It contains the following lines:

I don't have faith in faith
I don't believe in belief
You can call me faithless
I still cling to hope
And I believe in love
And that's faith enough for me

Personally, I'm half sympathetic to the extent faith and belief are abstracts that aren't important without the more concrete love and hope. It's similar to the old theological argument of "salvation by faith" versus "salvation by works" and Peart shows himself to be a bit of a lightweight in this area by suggesting that only the works matter without regard to a broader consciousness in which to frame them. That's okay though. They're rock lyrics and shouldn't be expected to be philosophically complete. The real trouble that I have with them strictly as lyrics is that they seem like empty words, similar to the abstract concepts about which they complain.

In contrast, John Lennon expressed a similar sentiment with these words in his song, "God":

I don't believe in magic
I don't believe in I-Ching
I don't believe in Bible
I don' believe in Tarot
I don't believe in Hitler
I don't believe in Jesus
I don't believe in Kennedy
I don't believe in Buddha
I don't believe in Mantra
I don't believe in Gita
I don't believe in Yoga
I don't believe in kings
I don't believe in Elvis
I don't believe in Zimmerman
I don't believe in Beatles
I just believe in me
Yoko and me
And that's reality

Frankly, I'm uncomfortable with some of what Lennon says here, but the way he says it touches me. It's warm and real, because he ties it into more than just abstract ideas, he ties it to himself. John Lennon said a lot that I find to be half-baked gibber-jabber that people only listened to because he was a Beatle, but while I don't sympathize with all he says in "God," I believe him when he says it. I can't say that about Rush. Maybe Neil Peart should have stuck to writing about By-Tor and the Snow Dog.

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Blogger Jeff said...

"God" is one of my favorite Lennon songs, I'm yet to hear the new Rush CD because I'm currently at school but lucky for me it is my last day so I'll try to get my hands on it later tonight.

10:05 AM  
Blogger Layla (aka Barbara) said...

That was an excellent comparison, I really like how you stated that about not WHAT John said, but how he said it.

I haven't heard the new Rush yet either but will soon :)

7:27 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Just wanted to let ya know that I listened to it for the first time on the train this morning, it didn't really grab my attention too much (granted I was extremely tired.) Hopefully after a few more listens it will pull me in.

1:56 PM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

The new Rush had a few songs that grabbed me a little bit and that was more than I expected. While there's no arguing that they still make pretty good music, it no longer resonates with me. I wouldn't say that they're hurting their legacy like Areosmith or the Stones, but they aren't adding to it either.

11:56 AM  

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