Water Within’s Better Off Broken (Song)

I’m always stumbling around looking for new musical artists…and Spotify surfaced a band called Water Within. I’d never heard of them and their songs all had well under 2,000 listens – indicating they aren’t very popular. Usually this means that they aren’t very good…but on rare occasions…such as this one…it means they are amazing and just haven’t made it big yet [but I'm betting they will.]

Water Within Musicians
Water Within Musicians

Their music reminds me of JJ Heller’s earlier albums, though lyrically I can’t place them, perhaps somewhere near Michael Card…so fuse Heller and Card together in your mind and you might get something close to Water Within.

Anyways, I’ve been listening to their album Unlocked and there have been several songs I’ve enjoyed but Better Off Broken knocked my socks off…ok…I wasn’t wearing socks, but if I was…

Seriously, this is my new favorite song…Listen to it and read the lyrics (I listened to the song and wrote up the lyrics, so there are probably some discrepancies between the actual words and what I have).

[Sidenote: While the lyrics are sad, the music is upbeat...and they make it work.]

[Sidenote 2: Calvary Community Church's (where I pastor) slogan is Broken people growing together communicating the idea that all of us are in need of a Savior and that one of the primary ways God grows us is through deep community]

My scars are so visible.
How can I help but notice
My mind holds tragic memories
Its hard to keep my focus
Who do I think I am
Doubting your voice when
You say you make all things new
Why do I think I can stand
On paperthin pride that denies
That i need you

I’m crying out
Come in tear down these walls
I can’t do this alone
I’ve been so lost
I need to come home
Break through all of the scars
Heal me as only you can
I’ve tried to fix myself
But I’ve found
I’m better off broken

So worn out
So weak now
Your strength in me
Makes me need you
I’ve been wounded
So beaten
The death of me
Lets you shine through

Who do I think I am
Trying to heal a heart
That deceives itself
Why do I think I can stand
When I’m on my face
Oh God, I need your help
I’m crying out

So worn out
So weak now
Your strength in me
Makes me need you
I’ve been wounded
So beaten
The death of me
Lets you shine through

Better off broken (repeated w/variations)

If I’m fixed just break me
If I’m broken then take me
And make me whole again
This is restoration

When I’m lost come find me
When I’m found refind me again
The power of restoration
Ohhhhh

I’m crying out
Come in tear down these walls
I can’t do this alone
I’ve been so lost
I need to come home
Break through all of the scars
Heal me as only you can
I’ve tried to fix myself
But I’ve found
I’m better off broken

Better off broken [repeats with variations]

The Lady in Red by Hallie Rubenhold (Book Review)

Due to a bout with insomnia I completed Hallie Rubenhold’s The Lady in Red: An Eighteenth-Century Tale of Sex, Scandal, and Divorce in the wee hours of this morning.

The work is non-fiction though written with a narrative style that reads like a novel. The dustjacket includes the following brief summary of the work’s subject:

“She was a spirited young heiress. He was a handsome baronet with a promising career in government. The marriage of Lady Seymour Dorothy Fleming and Sir Richard Worsley had the makings of a fairy tale–but ended as one of the most scandalous and highly publicized divorces in history.”

The Lady in Red by Hallie Rubenhold
The Lady in Red by Hallie Rubenhold

But that summary fails to portray the worth of this volume. The affair is almost incidental, in my opinion, to the insights yielded into the culture and morality of 18th century England (and to a much lesser extent, France).

The affair provides the narrative in which Rubenhold unfolds for us the life and thought of the individual man and woman of England in the 1700′s.

The hardcover copy I have clocks in at 308 pp. and includes a center set of images of paintings and so on depicting various characters from the story, some satirical comics, and antiquities.

I read the book as part of my ongoing quest to understand the nature of morality throughout time and to further my hypothesis that immorality shifts form from generation to generation rather than running in the direction of either increasing or decreasing morality.

The work is well-written and Rubenhold unfolds the lives of the Worsley’s step by step, as The Times Literary Supplement (UK) notes, “[The Lady in Red] is told as a mystery, with Rubenhold keeping up the suspense.” One is repeatedly surprised by the twists and turns the tale takes…what seemed like a fairly straightforward affair is anything but and its repercussions are strange and unexpected.

I have two complaints of significance – first, Rubenhold doesn’t include footnotes in the work, but only a bibliography at the end. I understand the reason for doing so – the work reads much more as a novel than a historical tome because of this…but it also makes it more difficult to research further the stories and details Rubenhold tells and requires a certain trust on the part of the reader that Rubenhold is being honest and fair in her portrayal.

My second complaint is somewhat related to the first – and that regards how much subjective interpretation is present in the book as opposed to objective fact. There is much that is obviously taken directly from the historical record but Rubenhold frequently provides us with insights into the interior thoughts and/or motivations of individual persons and, again, without footnotes, it is difficult to say how much of this is the result of her interpretation and how much is sourced from journals, letters, etc. which explicitly provide insight into the individual’s internal thought life.

Still, none of this reduces from the volumes’ worth significantly. If one is looking for a simple historical tale of immorality, I’m unsure whether one will be well-pleased. I did not read the work as such – but rather as an insightful peek into the lives of our ancestors…and for this, it excels.

Don’t Be Rude (and Parodies)

The Song & Videos

I’d never heard of the band Magic! before their song Rude began to dominate the air waves. I must confess that I enjoy the song – even though I feel ambiguous about its lyrics.

The song has an upbeat and happy feel to it, at its best speaks of true love unwilling to allow any obstacle stand in its way, and it reminds me of the song in Disney’s The Little Mermaid “Kiss the Girl.”

You can watch the original music video embedded below:

Then you have to watch the parody by Benji Cowart portraying the dad’s side of the story:

Nicky Costabile’s parody from the perspective of the daughter is also worth viewing:

And if you have time you might check out Alisha Thomas’ parody, also from the daughter’s perspective (and quite different from Costabile’s):

Reflections on Lyrics & Videos

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I feel some ambiguity about the lyrics. Why? Because I can empathize with each of the different perspectives presented…and I think, as in most conflicts, all sides can have legitimate points.

I believe that in most situations if opposing sides can take the time to empathize and understand the mindset of their opponent, common ground and understanding can be found.

[Sidenote: I'm not naive, I've been burned multiple times, sometimes quite severely, in attempting to live by this belief...but I try not to allow these painful collisions to dethrone my hope...not b/c in the future I won't be hurt, but b/c I don't see a better way...this way, with its potential for suffering, is the best way I know.]

In the music video the boyfriend sees the father as a stereotypical white collar man who is concerned primarily about one’s prestige (based upon employment), possessions (nice car, nice clothes), and appearance (wearing a suit and tie).

The father meanwhile sees the boyfriend as a stereotypical young man who is self-absorbed (spends his time making music instead of getting a real job) and lazy/undisciplined (unwilling to spend the time and effort to dress appropriately).

The boyfriend perceives himself as hard-working but communally focused; concerned with living life well rather than making life stable.

The father perceives himself as hard-working and family oriented; concerned with ensuring life is stable for those he loves rather than experiencing life as it comes.

Here we have a clash of generations and of worldviews…and the opportunity for growth on both parts, or for a retrenchment of current positions.

The young man would do well to learn to be more concerned about the future stability of his family, the father would do well to look beyond appearances to recognize the worth of the individual himself.

The father’s response is provocative – he doesn’t suggest ways in which the young man must change in order to be acceptable but rejects the man’s proposal out of hand.

The young man’s response is similarly provocative – he doesn’t respond by asking what it would take to become acceptable to the father but instead threatens to go around the father.

The way perception affects one’s interpretation of the song is most clearly seen in Nicky Costabile’s parody in which she refuses both the father and the boyfriend’s control insisting that “I’m human too.”

This perspective will seem strange to many fathers who don’t assume they control their daughters – only that they desire to protect their daughters from the evils of this world – and that they have a right not to control whom their daughter marries but to give or withhold their blessing upon the marriage.

And the perspective will seem strange to many young men who would assume that asking for permission to marry someone’s daughter is not asking for control but for blessing and is a cultural sign of respect for the parents and the daughter by willing to engage in tradition in securing the relationship.

Additionally, many (most?) young men would have already talked to their girlfriend about whether she was willing to marry him before he asks permission of the father…and even if he asked permission of the father first, it is almost certain he would then ask rather than demand that the daughter marry him.

Thus, one sees how the song has no implications to most men about male chauvinism but to some women (e.g. Costabile) the actions appear forthrightly chauvinistic.

A Final Observation

I thought it was interesting how the music video begins with the boyfriend and girlfriend in a bedroom together (an intimate location) where he is playing music for her (a non-sexual interaction). This (to me) infers a certain respect for the woman by the man (e.g. he is not taking advantage of her, but is acting in an honorable manner).

At the same time, the video portrays towards the end behavior by the girlfriend influenced by the boyfriend that to the father, in appearance (and perhaps actuality) is indicative of a negative dimension to the man’s influence upon his daughter.