Saturday, June 21, 2008

Why do I like this song so much?

Some time ago, I heard this song on Karianne's phone - she was using it for a morning alarm.

Love Song - Sara Bareilles

I was immediately hooked. So I got it on my playlist at Imeem, and we downloaded it for our mp3 players. I can listen to this song over and over and over, and sometimes I do, particularly while doing laundry related mindless tasks, like ironing the Bishop's shirts.

And that disturbs me a little bit. Why am I addicted to this song?

The chord progression and melody is pleasing to me, and the rythym is catchy. I also like the piano accompaniment, and it helps that her range matches mine so that I can sing along. But I think what draws me the most is her attitude. Somebody is making demands and she's not gonna take it. Go ahead and walk away, she says, but I won't write a love song just because you demand it.

At first I thought the lyrics were about some loser guy who wanted her to prove her love by writing him a song. That was a bit lame, I thought. At the very least, this chick has pretty poor taste in guys, right?

So, being obsessed, I began an online search about this girl and her song, and I found an interview that she did about it. In it, she said that in the process of making the album, the producers were waiting for her to produce The Hit Single. She was feeling immense pressure to write something that would top the charts, and it pretty much screwed up her ability to write at all. And it made her mad. At that point "Love Song" pretty much wrote itself; the song lyrics tell her producers that she's basically ticked off and they can take their record deal and walk if they want, but she has to write what she feels, not just whip something out that will make them rich.

So now the lyrics of the song mean something entirely different. It's no longer about a relationship gone south; it's about being authentic and doing something because you love it. And I think that's cool.

I think there is real truth in the message. I think that when I try to do/write/think what I think other people want, then I stop being myself and turn into somebody else's idea of me. If I'm jumping through hoops so that I can get the praise and approval of my ward, my friends, family, etc., then I'm not really living my life. I'm living theirs. And that doesn't make me happy.

So, if seeking the approval of mortals isn't a healthy primary motive for my actions, then what about seeking the approval of God? Doing God's will is supposed to make me happier than any other thing I could choose. But that has not always been my experience. Sometimes when I do what God wants, I feel grumpy and resentful, because I'd really rather be doing what I want instead.

So here is my dilemma: How do I make the leap from obeying God because I want his approval, to obeying God because I want what he wants? That one still has me stumped.


  1. I pray for the willingness to do the Lord's will for me. A lot. As in frequently and intensively. I eventually come around on most things. :P

  2. Your narrative reminds me of the movie. “Music & Lyrics”, he couldn’t write under pressure.

    I think we have to find a balance between God and Self. I love the Lord, but sometimes I pick and choose. I will never be choice in His sight, because I can’t devote all or even most of my time to the Church. There is too much selfishness in me. That’s why I never went on a mission, I was afraid I would miss something while I was away, and as a result I missed getting that testimony that missionaries get. I lost 20 years. Not until I started teaching doctrine did I gain the testimony that I could have had.

  3. Thanks for sharing this thought provoking post. I suppose when you get this figured out, you will be translated and not be here anymore to worry about it.

  4. I don't think I have the energy to do things "my" way any more. I know without a shadow of a doubt that the Lord's way is the best way, the easiest way and the only way that I find peace and happiness. So maybe I am being selfish in a different way by doing things the Lord's way because it is the best for me.

  5. Jen's got it right. Once you realize that God truely knows what will make you happy and wants you to be happy, following him is simple. It is simply a matter of trusting that his way will make you happier. My problem is finding out what he wants me to do. I am happy to follow him, but how do you do it in ALL situations? He makes us work for the answer. It's not always right and wrong, its good and better.

  6. by the way, I love this song too. Also "The Call" from Prince Caspian. Not that you can download that song, I had to buy the whole stinking album for ONE song. But it was so worth it! Looking for music for my theme of Changing the world, has brought me a lot of GOOD music! Also the song "bubbly". I just love music!

  7. Oh, I forgot to give my opinion on the song! I like it, too. And more so after knowing why it was written. However, it's played with annoying frequency at my gym and I don't like it as a workout song, doggone it.