Song Challenge Day 4 — A Song That Makes Me Sad


To make the Post A Day 2011 challenge a bit more bearable, I’ve set up a couple of regular features. Saturdays are for reviews and Sundays are for song lyrics. But I’m out of song lyric ideas, so I wanted a new regular Sunday feature. Keeping the music theme I’ve been using, I’m undertaking the 30 Day Song Challenge as a weekly project.


Week 4 — A Song That Makes Me Sad

“If You Ask,” Lori McKenna

 

Oh, gosh. I cry just about every time I hear this song.

(The live video above isn’t bad, but lacks the power of the album version. Some people may also know if from the whitewashed Faith Hill cover. Lyrics can be found here.)

Part of the reason it has such an effect on me is personal.

I’ve lived a lot of that song. I’ve been the person that the addict comes home to, regretting giving in to the demons that they just can’t shake. It convicts me. Should I have been more like this song? Should I have been more patient? And it’s too late now. And there is a sadness in that.

But it’s also just a powerful and devastating picture of grace and unconditional love. The song deals specifically with patiently loving someone with a problem; what it’s like to care for someone, to want what’s best for them, and to be utterly unable to do anything about it.

The truth in the song is bigger than that, though. We all want to be loved. But we can’t make anyone love us. It’s a beautiful picture of what it is to love someone unconditionally. To say, “Whatever you do, where ever you go, I’m here for you. Even if you don’t return my love, even if you don’t want my love, I offer it.” Because ultimately, that’s all we can do. I can’t choose whether you love me. I can only choose whether I love you.

But to take it a step further, it’s a beautiful picture of how God loves us. He actually could make us love Him. But He doesn’t. He stands with an outstretched open hand, and waits. It’s our choice whether to accept or reject the gift, He offers it regardless.

It’s devastating to be the person standing there with open arms, and to be ignored. It’s devastating to think how many times God waits for me with open arms, and I ignore Him.

It kinda makes me sad.

If you call my name, I will come
If you ask for my love, I will give you some

Song Challenge Day 1 — Your Favorite Song


To make the Post A Day 2011 challenge a bit more bearable, I’ve set up a couple of regular features. Saturdays are for reviews (yesterday being an exception) and Sundays are for song lyrics. But I’m out of song lyric ideas, so I wanted a new regular Sunday feature. Keeping the music theme I’ve been using, I’m undertaking the 30 Day Song Challenge as a weekly project.


Week 1 — Your Favorite Song

“Witness To Your Life,” Lori McKenna

It’s no shock to readers of this blog that I like the Lori McKenna, so it’s probably no surprise that my favorite song is one of hers.

I heard this song because I like Lori’s music, but I love Lori’s music because I heard this song.

It speaks to a desire of my heart — To be known. To have someone care.

All you really need is someone to be here
Someone who never lets you disappear
And I will be that witness to your life
This may just be a softer place to fall
But somebody will answer when you call
And I will be that witness to your life

As a writer, the idea of “story” is important to me, and that carries over into relationships. I want someone to share my story with, I want someone to share their story with me, I want to be able to share a common story with someone.

(One of the blessings of being in a relationship with your best friend — Heather knew my story before we ever started dating.)

I love the sound of the song, the music, and Lori’s incredible ability to use her voice to make the song real; the way she sings it like she means it.

I love the writing; in addition to the idea of the songs, there’s another little nugget that really speaks to me — “Stopped listening to all your friends / They think this is where life begins and ends / No one reaches, no one trandscends — they just learn to live with it.” I want to lead the sort of life that no one would ever say that about me. It’s a nice challenge.

And that’s my favorite song.

Next week — My Least Favorite Song

Lori McKenna — “Next Best Thing” Lyrics


(“Next Best Thing” is a free download from NoiseTrade. Additional Lori McKenna lyrics can be found here.)

Next Best Thing
Lori McKenna/Trent Dabbs

When you gonna to learn to give up?
When you gonna give into my love?
When you gonna to stop your dreaming,
Thinking this town ain’t big enough?

You’re trading in what you’ve always known;
I’ve watched the taillights disappear on up the road.
But you know
I’ll always love you more than a kid could love a candy store.
Honey, why you out there making plans when your heart could be in better hands,
Drinking beer and rolling cigarettes?
Well, I ain’t changed no one’s life just yet.
I’ll give you space and you’ll come back around to me,
Next best thing.

Everybody’s wondering ’bout you;
What should I tell them when they ask?
Are you still that same sweet Christian boy,
Or just another prayer that’s fading fast?

There’s a parking lot in the field where we first kissed;
They took a wrecking ball to the white church walls we should have been married in.

But you know
I’ll always love you more than a kid could love a candy store.
Honey, why you out there making plans when your heart could be in better hands,
Drinking beer and rolling cigarettes?
Well, I ain’t changed no one’s life just yet.
I’ll give you space and you’ll come back around to me;
I’m not going anywhere and I’m just fine to be
Next best thing.

Sometimes I just wait downtown
And watch every passenger get off the train,
Occasionally saying your name.

AndI know
I’ll always love you more than a kid could love a candy store
Honey, why you out there making plans when your heart could be in better hands
Drinking beer and rolling cigarettes
No one else has changed my life just yet
So when the lights go out and you see through the make-believe
And I’m not there to give you what you need
Baby, close your eyes and remember me
Next best thing
Next best thing

Thanks to Heather Smith for help with transcription

Lori McKenna — “Still Down Here” Lyrics


(“Still Down Here” is from Lori McKenna’s album Lorraine. Additional Lori McKenna lyrics can be found here.)

Still Down Here
Lori McKenna/Barry Dean

St. Peter says “You picked a real good day”
Your lungs fill back up with air and your worries float away
Jesus smiles; he is a handsome man
He’s taller than you thought — eyes so warm — reaching out his hand

In the Holy Kingdom angels sing a hymn
For all your good behavior they handed you your crown and wings
You don’t feel the sorrow; there’s no pain or fear
Don’t forget about me, don’t forget about me
I’m still down here

Everyone knew you were on your way
Earlier than expected, said the papers in both places that day
Saw your family, some for the very first time
There were smiling faces, strawberry cake and a welcome home sign

In the Holy Kingdom angels sing a hymn
For all your good behavior they handed you your crown and wings
You don’t feel the sorrow; there’s no pain or fear
Don’t forget about me, don’t forget about me
I’m still down here in the shadowland, here where there’s doubt
Here where we must learn to live with what we live without

Clouds of silver and streets of gold
Where no shadow is cast; there’s nobody growing old
You find some old friends and take a walk around
But believe them when they say, “Tell you one thing — just don’t look down”

In the Holy Kingdom, angels sing a hymn
Stay there above the clouds now; don’t ever shed one tear
Don’t forget about me, don’t forget about me
I’m still down here

Lori McKenna — “All I Ever Do” Lyrics


(“All I Ever Do” is from Lori McKenna’s album Lorraine. Additional Lori McKenna lyrics can be found here.)

All I Ever Do
Natalie Hemby/Lori McKenna

I turn the lights on in the hallway
Walk down the stairs without a bit of grace
The TV’s on and the weatherman says
It’s just another sunny day
Open the curtains in the bay window
Look out at the neighbors we don’t get to know
All the cars are in the turning lane
And everybody waves

All I ever do is work
All I ever do is pray
But I do know that I have for you
A love that never fades
And it’s OK
If it’s all I ever do

You and I were gonna leave this little town
Find a bigger city, go and settle down
Finally have the chance to see our dreams
Come springing into life
You sold your guitar when the baby came
We gave her Joni as her middle name
And cluttered up the house with Fisher-Price
Never sleeping through the night

All I ever do is work
All I ever do is pray
But I do know that I have for you
A love that never fades
And it’s OK
If it’s all I ever do

All I ever do

You finally pull into the driveway
We’re both exhausted from a long day
You wrap your arms around me with a kiss
You look at me and say
All we ever do is work
All we ever do is pray
But I do know that I have for you
A love that never fades
And it’s OK
If it’s all I ever do

All I ever do

But I do know that I have for you
A love that never fades
And it’s OK
If it’s all I ever do

I turn the lights off in the hallway

Lori McKenna — “Buy This Town” Lyrics


(“Buy This Town” is from Lori McKenna’s album Lorraine. Additional Lori McKenna lyrics can be found here.)

Buy This Town
Lori McKenna

If I could buy this town, I’d keep it small and rough
Full of third-shift dreamers and high school love
I’d keep the Church of Christ and the bowling alley open
Where the Bud Light signs crackle while they’re glowing
If I could buy this town

If I could buy one night, I wouldn’t buy the one you’d think
I’d buy the one when my eyes teared up by the light above the kitchen sink
And you held me tight and you begged me not to cry
If I could buy the sweetness of one kiss, well, that’s the one I’d buy
If I could buy one night

All the money in the world couldn’t buy a drop of real love could it?
And it really shouldn’t, now should it?
If I could buy the stars I’d polish them so bright

If I could buy your pain, first I’d buy the great big sea
And I’d put that pain inside a box and bury it so deep
If I could I’d buy you back the years you worked yourself to death
I would buy and waste your suffering until there wasn’t any left
If I could buy your pain

All the money in the world couldn’t buy a drop of real love could it?
And it really shouldn’t, now should it?
‘Cause I’d gladly give you every piece of my whole heart

If I could buy this town, I keep the Friday night bleachers
Full of kids falling in love and unlikely believers
And the firefighters are there, ’cause their kid’s in the game
And we don’t win too often but that ain’t why we came
If I could buy this town

Lori McKenna — “American Revolver” Lyrics


(“American Revolver” is from Lori McKenna’s album Lorraine. Additional Lori McKenna lyrics can be found here.)

American Revolver
Lori McKenna / Barry Dean

She’s crying again
You lay quiet on her chest
She knows you’re a dangerous comfort
But you haven’t broken her heart yet

She wants to feel safe again
She thinks that you understand
Maybe it’s crazy; maybe it’s brave
Either way it’s a losing game

She’s hoping she’ll know what to do
With a six-shot .22

When the only one who’s innocent is cold blue steel
For the first time someone’s listening to how she feels
Lord knows you can’t save her
You can’t stop or change her plans
Just an American revolver

You’re proof she means what she says
It’s a fairer fight with you around
To rescue her if things get so bad
There’s no other possible way out

She keeps going back and forth
Between herself and the door

When the only one who’s innocent is cold blue steel
For the first time someone’s listening to how she feels
Lord knows you can’t save her
You can’t stop or change her plans
Just an American revolver

Too late now for I’m sorry
American revolver
He’s coming up the front steps
American revolver
He’s been drinking again
She keeps going back and forth
Between herself and the door

When the only one who’s innocent is cold blue steel
But this time someone’s gonna listen to how she feels
Lord knows you can’t save her
You can’t stop or change her plans
Just an American revolver
American revolver
American revolver
American revolver