Saturday , April 13 2024
Jon Foreman makes soul music...

Verse Chorus Verse: Jon Foreman – “Lord, Save Me From Myself”

Whether you capitalize "Lord" or not, I think we've all said "Lord, save me from myself" in some fashion.  To some of us, Lord refers to something specific and to others it's a figure of speech.  Jon Foreman's "Lord, Save Me From Myself" has something to offer folks in either camp and even those somewhere in between.

Foreman is the lead singer of Switchfoot, who've returned with a brand new album called Hello, Hurricane.  Between Oh! Gravity. and Hurricane, Foreman released four EPs: fall, winter, spring, and summer.   "Lord Save Me…" is from his fall EP.

The stripped-down acoustic song is performed in three minutes with four verses and no chorus with the title line used at the end of verses two and four.  Let's take a look at each:

My mind is dull and faded
from these years of buy and sell
My eyes have seen the glory
of this hollow modern shell

The first two lines have some interesting interpretation opportunities.  Is Foreman fatigued by capitalism and the idea that everything is for sale?  Maybe he's observing the apathy and quiet desperation of the disaffected masses who are tiny cogs in the buying and selling of something in pursuit of our daily bread.  While the first interpretation isn't negated by the next two lines, they do tend to underline the second possibility.  While no one is above a little work, cubicle life can be a hollow, anonymous, and dehumanizing experience.  I sometimes wonder how large a role that played in the creation and proliferation of the blogosphere.

And sex is a grand production
but I'm bored with that as well
Ah, Lord save me from myself

Again there are a few ways to read this.  One is that sex — a human obsession dating back innumerable years — cannot alone fill the hollow modern shell.  Sex could have been replaced in that verse by drugs, alcohol, consumerism, and any number of other modern creations that are aimed at filling the hollowness that often do no better than partially masking it.  Another interpretation is to look at the way sex dominates the media world.  Sex appeal is used to sell everything.  It's always right there, in front of us.  Regardless the intensity or severity of the presentation of it, there's no escaping it.  What was once a private expression is bought and sold, directly and indirectly.  When does sex become just another commodity like Coca-Cola or chocolate pudding?

Electric sun keep shining
ripen daughters of the chrome
This world is where I breathe
let it never be called home

The first two lines here somewhat allude me.  What I think he's decrying is the artificial environment in which we live.  We see the sun through our car windows on our way to and from work.  Our real light source comes from compact fluorescent lightbulbs.  The second lines refer again to a more spiritual realm.  This is a recognition that life is temporary.  It's a reminder, plea, and encouragement for those who believe present existence is only one stage of living.  It can also be a reminder, whether one believes in anything beyond the here and now, that we don't have to be defined by our jobs and careers, our bank accounts or our sex lives.  I may breathe and exist among those who prize those things above all else, but I don't have to let that be my home. 

Where the vultures make the money
is where our bodies fell
Ah, Lord save me from myself

It paints an interesting view of the individual and the philosophical "sins of the father" metaphor.  We're born into this world and we're confronted with the pressure to conform to it and a spiritual stir to rise above and change it.  What responsibility do we have in this continuing cycle?  Can we live in the world and remain somehow apart from it?  Should we?  It's interesting Foreman's lyrics expose the villains of modern life — individual and institutional — yet he returns to a plea not only to be saved, but to be saved from himself.

Soul music is more than tortured wails and tales of woe.  "Lord, Save Me From Myself" is soul music.

About Josh Hathaway

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