I remember when I was very young listening to the soft rock station my mom liked. I was a careful listener, learning the words to the songs and studying the singers’ voices. Lyrics resonated with me, and I guesstimate that I knew the all the words to hundreds of songs by the time I was 12. When the internet first became commonplace in my classmates’ houses, around 1996, I spent countless hours looking up words to my favorite songs. Back then, I don’t remember there existing any song lyric search sites like LyricsFreak. You had to go to your favorite artists’ websites and search for the lyrics there. I remember memorizing every word to Savage Garden’s “I Want You, “ (“…magenta feelings take up shelter in the base of my spine, sweet like a chicka cherry cola…” wait, what?!) At 13, I was convinced that Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me” accurately described my relationship with the boy I had a crush on. Not loved, mind you. Crushed on. I was a little bit obsessed with words and their meaning. And I was a little…er, passionate…about word choice.
Of course, growing up as a teen in the 90s lent itself to being influenced by the not-so-morally-upright popular music of the time. While all of my angsty teen friends loved Alanis Morrissette’s “Jagged Little Pill,” I was more than disturbed by some of the imagery in her songs. It was around this time I started thinking outside the lyrical box, and started reimagining the artists’ intent of their lyrics as if they were, say, Christian. I’ve taken the liberty of assembling seven of my favorites, listed below in no particular order, and I’m not reprinting the lyrics here because, you know, copyrights. Feel free to Google or YouTube them up, LISTEN to the lyrics, and come back here to tell me I’m spot on or losing my mind. And now, without further ado, some of my favorite mental reworkings.
“Just Remember I Love You,” by Firefall. I like to think of this one as God’s little love song to me, his anxiety-ridden worrywart. Basically, He’s telling me that when my world is falling apart, I just need to remember He loves me, and everything will be just fine. I should put this on repeat more often…
“As Long As You Love Me,” by the incomparable Backstreet Boys (BSB.) Another love song from God — He doesn’t care what I’ve done, as long as I love Him (and have been repentant and forgiven in the Sacrament of Reconciliation…but that’s a bit wordy.)
“I Won’t Last A Day Without You” by the Carpenters. Listen to the chorus, and you’ll see why this could actually be a rad little prayer of surrender to God’s awesomeness when we are worried about the things that ultimately don’t matter in the grand scheme of eternity.
“Home” by Phillip Phillips. Ok, this one’s not much of a stretch. “Home” is Heaven, you’re not alone because you have your Guardian Angel, who is also why you shouldn’t pay attention to the demons. You get lost (sin), you will be found (Reconciliation and/or image of the Good Shepherd seeking the lost sheep), and He’s making a Home for us with Him forever. This one is totally clear…right?!
“Let Me Love You Tonight” by Pure Prairie League. [Fun fact: At this time in the band’s history, and particularly for this song, Vince Gill served as Lead Singer.] One of my biggest coping mechanisms for love songs that are clearly outside the context of marriage is simple: pretend the singer and their beloved is married. Boom. Problem solved. Carry on with the sexy sax, PPL.
“Never Be The Same” by Christopher Cross. The verses aren’t easily repurposed, but the chorus is a really good description of what our lives might feel like if we ever abandoned our Faith or tried to live without God’s love. See also “I Could Never Live Without Your Love” by Chicago.
How about Justin Timberlake’s “Not A Bad Thing” from his most recent album, “The 20/20 Experience?” I mean, seriously, God could’ve written this for each one of us, right?! (Minus the f-bomb in the uncut version, of course.) A lover who wants to spend every waking moment with us, and who wants us to spend every moment with Him, and whom we might sometimes, because of fear of what others might say, think it’s a bad idea to fall in love with Him?
I’d love to hear some of your own favorite song lyrics, revisited! Share them with me, pretty please?
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!