Song Reflections: Midnight Oil “Bring on the Change”

Midnight Oil was motivated by talking about things in big scales, from societal and political points of view, and I love them for it.  But as for relating to their songs, I always bring it down to a personal level.

I appreciate this song because ultimately, it is about a desire to change — and the frustration that comes from inability to do so in a quicker, more efficient manner.  Change is to do or be something different from what you’re used to.  Often it comes with a lot of struggle.  I particularly appreciate the end of this song, where the baritone Peter Garrett climbs up to a rare high squeal yelling “change, change, c’mon… change!!”  I feel like somebody grabbing my shoulders, shaking me and screaming in my face.  Sometimes that’s what it takes.

I am the only one who can change, and I am the only thing I can change.  If I don’t change, then I’m giving up one thing over which I have the power to subject to my will.  I do often feel stuck,  feeling powerless — so just to prove to myself that I have the power to change, I’d try small changes.  From where I set my toothbrush to using a different phrase for mundane greetings, I build momentum based on little things that I know are within my control.  And listen to this song.  Remind myself that I have the power.  Amplify that voice in my head.

And change.

Song Reflections: Carpark North/Michael W. Smith “Save Me from Myself”

The original song is by Carpark North, but it’s Michael W. Smith cover that brought this song to my world.  The original is great, too, MWS is a bit too slick and produced for my taste, but one twist that he added really moves me.  Listen to the last chorus — and see how the underlying chords, which stay static for the first two, all the sudden move up.  That moment always lifts me up, coupled with that title line.  It’s a sense of relief, finally accepting that I can be vulnerable.  That I can ask for help.

Save me from myself — that sounds rather self-absorbed and silly.  But that’s always been the struggle inside me.  There’s a scene in Lord of the Rings, where this character Gollum has a conversation with himself — and I remember being in awe how well that scene was put together, and how deeply it resonated.

When it comes down to it, I’ve come to realize that I am the only one I can control, and I am the only one wholly responsible for how my life turned out.  Not luck, not fate, I made my life and I chose who to become.  Sometimes I was choosing without realizing that I was doing so, but still.  If I am not who I meant to be, then I am the one to blame.

Which leads me to where this song is.

This is a song about relying on somebody else.  To admit and accept that I can’t do it alone.  To be vulnerable, to expose my weaknesses.  But to say it with full of hope, not of shame or remorse.  To believe that somebody can help, somebody can love me even though I have lost and failed again and again.

It’s at once both humbling and uplifting, to come to this realization.  I need help living my life, being who I can be.  But that’s the truth, and dropping the pretending to be otherwise gives me back more of my life.  I am grateful.