Monday, August 16, 2010

Thanks to Pink Floyd (Music for Mondays)

I'm warning you early—this edition of MfM will eat up your entire lunch hour. And if you don't like rock n' roll, get out now while there is still time.

Wait a second, I take that back. Stay. Because maybe, just maybe, everything you heard about Pink Floyd, is wrong. That is how it was for me and the Catholic Church for a long time, see? I was listening to people's opinions instead of checking out the facts for myself. You all know where that led, as this blogs marquee proclaims. Besides, who else will show you Roger Waters, David Gilmore & Co. like this?

So what is it about these drug-crazed hippies that I think you should find appealing? You may be thinking to yourself, Obviously Frank...can't you tell a bunch of sinners when you see them?

Ahem, why yes I can, because a sinner is reading these words that were written by a sinner, and pretty soon that same sinner will be listening to some great music written, composed, and performed by sinners too. And the videos? Yep, put together by sinners and placed here by,  you guessed it, a sinner. Sheesh, what a train wreck. But like my good friend Qoheleth writes,

There is no righteous man on earth who always does good and never sins (Eccl. vii.20).

Golly, just think; this post could not have been crafted all by my lone, sinful, self at all. All by myself? Snort(!), I'm standing on the shoulders of giants. That, and the labor and craft of countless other flawed, sinful human beings just like me, except they have different talents than me. Like designing and building computers like the ones we're both using right now.

But let's not throw a pity party though, OK? Let's rock instead. Because Christ has died, Christ has risen, and Christ will come again. See what St. Paul said in his letter to Timothy?

This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am the foremost.(1 Timothy i.15)

So settle down and let's clear our minds, take a deep breath and take a look at Pink Floyd's works. Usually, I try to find artists videos that are performed live, or have a single still picture. I don't want you to get distracted by someone else's idea of the music.  Not this time, though, because you are getting ready to view some of the most looked at videos that the world has ever seen. That is, if the counters on You Tube are accurate. We've got a lot of ground to cover so let's get started.

Us and Them. That title says a lot, don't you think? By the way, did you see the news that Stephen Hawking said our only hope for the survival of the human race is for us to leave earth? He's right, in a way. Thanks, Stephen, I'm all for exploring space, and so is the Church, but I prefer Plan B for the Earth. Guess what that is?

Wish You Were Here. There are a lot of people who will interpret this song in other ways, but that is the great thing about art; it is subject to interpretation. I don't really need to know the story behind a song in order to appreciate it, either. Nor does it matter to me what the artist hoped to convey by the work. In my mind, I know who I wish was here, and He is here as He said He always will be (until the end of time). What, you believe the wise-acres who think they can tell that He isn't?

So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from Hell,
Blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

Eclipse. There is a ton of good songs on this album Dark Side of the Moon. You'll have to check them all out on your own though, or we'll be here all day! This is the final song on that album and it strikes a chord with me. See the lyrics below, because you might just want to sing along.

All that you touch
and all that you see
all that you taste
all you feel.
And all that you love
and all that you hate
all you distrust
all you save.
and all that you give
and all that you deal
and all that you buy,
beg, borrow or steal.
And all you create
and all you destroy
and all that you do
and all that you say.
And all that you eat
and everyone you meet
and all that you slight
and everyone you fight.
And all that is now
and all that is gone
and all that's to come
and everything under the sun is in tune
but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.

Now we're getting into where my memories of Pink Floyd really come alive. I was a sophomore in high school when The Wall album was released. Gulp...I remember buying the 8 track tape of this album. I listened to it for hours and know every word. All of the next  7 (!) songs are from the movie adapation of the album. What, you haven't seen the movie?! Get thee to a library!

Now, some see this first song as an anthem to tear down institutions and free ourselves from tyranny, etc. You know, destroy the Church, or governments, or other institutions that have stood the test of time. Get rid of them! But in a bizzaro twist, the message I get from this album is one of hope. Hope and freedom that can be realized when one tears down "the Wall" of self, and self enslaved to "the world."  But let's just see and hear what unfolds. Let me get out of the way...

Another Brick in the Wall Part II.

Hey You.

Comfortably Numb. Yeah, that's Bob Hoskins with Bob Geldof.

Here we have a "three for one", the trifecta of In the Flesh, Run Like Hell, and Waiting for the Worms Are you contacting Netflix yet?

Outside the Wall. The wall has to come down; the wall of conformity with the world. We have to become like little children again, like we see here as the end credits roll.

All alone, or in twos
The ones who really love you
Walk up and down outside the wall.
Some hand in hand
Some gathering together in bands
The bleeding hearts and the artists
Make their stand.
And when they've given you their all
Some stagger and fall
after all it's not easy
banging your heart
against some
mad buggers Wall.

Why do I want to say Amen? Now, let's leave the Wall behind.

Shine On You Crazy Diamond. The person who posted this on You Tube did so in tribute to the passing of Syd Barret, one of the founders of Pink Floyd who passed on to eternity in 2006. This video, however, was recorded at a concert in London in 1994. The person who posted this writes,

But the whole movie they showed at the concert is here since it's probably supposed to represent Syd's life (or anybody's).

Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Now there's a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
You were caught on the crossfire of childhood and stardom,
blown on the steel breeze.
Come on you target for faraway laughter,
come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!

Christianity was started by children. First Mary, a very young woman, gives birth to the Christ child. Yesterday we read the Magnificat and these words were uttered by a pregnant teenager! John the Baptist and Jesus were two babies on a mission from God. Remember when you were young!

Marooned. Let's wrap this up with an instrumental. I'm sure you know that the Apostle John writes in Revelation that the New Earth won't have oceans. Should we take that literally? I'm not worried about it, really because "Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it dawned on the mind what God has prepared for those who love him."

Until that time comes, scenery like this may be the best we can see to imagine paradise while we're still marooned on planet Earth. I think Peter Kreeft would agree with me.

Yes, I know that we've barely scratched the surface of the Pink Floyd oeuvre. But that will be all for today. Back to work, now, and remember—Shine on, you crazy diamonds.