DiM | “Priceless” by For King and Country

disapproveCCM Radio Edition.

July 12, 2016. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Priceless” by For King & Country which currently sits at #15 on the20theCountdownMagazine.

This song makes no attempt at sharing the Gospel in any way. It’s not a Christian song. We’ll review the lyrics briefly, but the song is merely a promotional song for an upcoming movie. Here’s a note the band left on the lyric site I used today:

We just wrapped up a film called Priceless, and this song is going to be in the trailer. It’s going to be the theme song for that movie.

It’s a song that we have been trying to write in a roundabout way for years and years and years, and it’s just never come. But then, in the last 3 or 4 months, out comes this song! “Priceless!” Our challenge was, as men, how to write a song with the word “Priceless” and still have it feel masculine, you know. It was a super hard thing to achieve, because you don’t want it to come off soft, you want it to come off strong, and we worked super hard trying to make it feel like it had some weight to it.

What is this movie about? From the promotional website:

THE STORY
There was a time when James Stevens saw himself as a good man. But that seems like a different life … one that vanished somewhere between the day his wife died in his arms and when his young daughter was ripped from those same arms by the child services’ agency.

Today, he finds himself with more regrets, more troubles, and more heartbreak than one person should ever face in a lifetime. And he just unknowingly signed up for more. Much more.

Desperately in need of money with hopes of regaining custody of his daughter, James embarks on a cross-country delivery for cash—no questions asked.

But when he discovers what he is delivering is actually who, the questions in his mind begin haunting him … along with the lasting image of two innocent women he now feels compelled to save.

Drawn to the beautifully mysterious Antonia, James aspires not only to undo his wrong—but to do so for the right reason. With the lives of Antonia and her younger sister Maria in peril, James may need to sacrifice everything to rescue them.

From the creative minds behind two-time Grammy Award-winning band for KING & COUNTRY, PRICELESS stars Joel Smallbone, Bianca Santos, Amber Midthunder, with Jim Parrack and David Koechner. PRICELESS is the first movie from the Smallbone Brothers and is directed by Ben Smallbone, with Luke Smallbone as executive producer.

Coming to theaters this fall, PRICELESS is a powerfully compelling, suspense-filled love story that reminds us that no matter who we are, what we’ve done, or even how far we’ve gone astray, we are of infinite worth in God’s eyes.

Well, now… aren’t we just so stinkin’ special. *sigh*. Please forgive the snark, but this movie and the song are bent in on themselves, worshiping the created rather than the Creator. No Law, no Gospel, just humanism.

For King & Country TV (Official Audio)

 

Lyrics (via Genius)

[Verse 1: Joel]
Mirror mirror, mirror on the wall
Tellin’ those lies, pointing out your flaws
That isn’t who you are
That isn’t who you are

[Verse 2: Joel]
It might be hard to hear, but let me tell you dear
If you could see what I can see, I know you would beleive
That isn’t who you are
There’s more to who you are

[Pre-Chorus: Luke]
So when it’s late, you’re wide awake
To much to take
Don’t you dare forget that in the pain
You can be brave, can be safe

[Chorus]
I see you dressed in white
Every wrong made right
I see a rose in bloom
At the sight of you (oh so priceless)
Irreplaceable, unmistakable, incomparable
Darling, it’s beautiful
I see it all in you (oh so priceless)

[Verse 3: Joel]
No matter what you’ve heard, this is what your worth
More than all the money or the diamonds and pearls
Oh this is who you are
Yea this is who you are

[Pre-Chorus: Luke]
So when it’s late, you’re wide awake
To much to take
Don’t you dare forget that in the pain
You can be brave, can be safe

[Chorus]
I see you dressed in white
Every wrong made right
I see a rose in bloom
At the sight of you (oh so priceless)
Irreplaceable, unmistakable, incomparable
Darling, it’s beautiful
I see it all in you (oh so priceless)

[Bridge]
Sisters, we can start again
Give honor till the end
Love, we can start again
Brothers, we can start again
Give honor till the end
Yea, we can start again
(2x)

[Chorus]
I see you dressed in white
Every wrong made right
I see a rose in bloom
At the sight of you

[Chorus]
I see you dressed in white
Every wrong made right
I see a rose in bloom
At the sight of you (oh so priceless)
(You’re) Irreplaceable, unmistakable, incomparable
Darling, it’s beautiful
I see it all in you (oh so priceless)

[Outro]
I see you dressed in white
Every wrong made right
I see a rose in bloom
At the sight of you
(3x)
I see you dressed in white
Every wrong made right
Oh so priceless

Discussion

The theme of the song is human worship. If I can just tell you how precious you are then you’ll believe it and be better for it. Not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s humanism. Does God love us? Yes. Does that make us automatically infinitely precious? No. It means God is Love. That God Loves us reflects greatly on Him, not us.

John 3:16-21 (ESV) | For God So Loved the World
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

The song uses some vaguely churchy imagery to push the idea that this is in some way pushing a Christian narrative.

I see you dressed in white, every wrong made right. At best, this is an attempt to reference the Revelation account of the saints in white.

Revelation 7:9-14 (ESV) | A Great Multitude from Every Nation
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

But this is really giving its best construction. A mormon (non-Christian) will see their magic underwear (temple garments) in the lyric, and no one could argue to the contrary. The lyric doesn’t stand on its own as a Christian lyric.

Beyond that attempt at Christian imagery, there is nothing else in the lyric that suggests a Christian message or reference or inspiration. This is a humanist song. At some points, these lofty platitudes over reach into worship of the person to whom this is being sung. That’s bad. That’s very bad.

Romans 1:24-25 (ESV) Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

Conclusion

So how does such bad writing find its way onto a top 20 Christian song chart? Well, because people don’t want to hear sound doctrine. This is what the flesh wants, it wants to be worshiped, it wants to be justified in its own sight, it wants to be praised.

2 Timothy 4:1-5 (ESV) | Preach the Word
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Dear Christian, may you also be sober-minded, and remain a faithful steward of God’s Word, both Law and Gospel. Preach repentance and the forgiveness of sin in Jesus’ Name.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “Say I Won’t” by Lecrae

disapproveToday is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship.

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

According to Billboard Music, the top song remains Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsong United. Since we’ve already discussed that song, let’s move down the list. The #2 song on the list didn’t get there legitimately, it debuted at #2. Market manipulation of some sort, not sure who is behind it, and I don’t really care.  The song is “Say I Won’t” by Lecrae. Apparently he has just released a new album, so this #2 placement is probably due to the marketing buzz surrounding the new album. We’ll look at this new song, but honestly I expect this song to disappear off the charts once marketing money moves to a different song. I truly hope so.

Lyrics (via AZLyrics)

“Say I Won’t”
(feat. Andy Mineo)

[Chorus: Lecrae & Andy Mineo]
Say I won’t (why y’all scared to be different?)
Say I won’t (why y’all scared to be different?)
Say I won’t (we them outsiders, that’s just how we live it)
Say I won’t (and I bet I will)
Say I won’t
I might do it just to show you [x3]
We be like la, la, la, la

[Verse 1: Andy Mineo]
From the same city as the B-I-G
Wanna serve these bars, gotta see ID
Now I’m on their radar, where B-Dot be?
Was a slave for the cars, then we got free
Used to only wanna pull up in a black sport
Just a white man excelling in a black sport
Now I’m really doin’ pull ups
Got a honeymoon for the summer tryna get a six-pack for it
Say I won’t catch ‘Crae slippin’ in the studio at like 3 AM
Autograph that forehead with a Sharpie pen and then Instagram
Might swag out a fanny pack
I might bring Velour back
Nobody wanna change the game, man y’all just want more trap
Okay, say I won’t rap over bagpipes
Say I won’t talk about that price
To know Christ and live life like every night my last night
‘Bout to switch up the program
I rock name-brand, I rock no brand
My whole life GoPro cam, got rap like I had no fans, nope
They say, I know I say, “veto”
Danny DeVito, and Al Pacino, those are my people
Also I’m rockin’ the speedo
This that casino, you bet your revenue
Thinking you’ll stop me, no never not letting you
You must be high on that medical thinking I won’t
But I know better, know that I bet I do (kill ’em, ooh)

[Chorus]

[Verse 2: Lecrae]
Say I won’t sell my shoes and take my kids to Chuck E Cheese with the money
Say I won’t bring my own bottle of Pellegrino to the movies with me
Say I won’t
Look, I’m from an era of fast living and mass terror
Boys cover them cover girls like mascara
I don’t need to keep a gun and a mask ever
I still make ’em put their hands up, ask Derek
My role manager damage all of you amateurs
Sneaking up on a tour bus with a demo to hand to us
When I was younger, I just wanted a chain
Now a chain of events has afforded a change
See, I been a rebel since back in the day, I don’t follow the people
I follow the leader through valleys and shadows of death and I fearin’ no evil
So say I won’t do it, say I won’t turn the music up and get to it
Won’t come down H-Town all the way to their town
In the old school, drop top Buick
And I’m getting, maybe 8 or 9 miles to the gallon
Still feeling like a stallion
I got Andy ridin’ shotgun with 30 gold chains on, talking about he Italian
Say I won’t go drop a double album, and rap double time on all dub-step
Got no producers, just me rockin’ over beatboxin’ by Dougie Fresh
Say I won’t

[Chorus]

Positive Elements

Only 2 lines can even remotely be linked to “Christian” theme (underlined portions). The first (Andy Mineo) is so quickly followed up with a “live life to the fullest” theme that it isn’t worth teasing out. No more significant than an NFL player pointing to the sky after scoring a touchdown. The second (Lecrae) looks like it might pull from Psalm 23, but…well… Coolio also co-opted this passage in his “Gangsta’s Paradise”, so we will not be going there either. This song does not honor God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, or Scripture. This song seeks to glorify its performers.

Concerns

So this song is completely worthless. This song isn’t about Christ, it’s about Andy and Lecrae. It could play on a secular Top40  station, only it doesn’t live up to the grit and debauchery of popular Rap/HipHop, so it might not do very well. This song is on a Christian Chart to get whatever mileage it can for promoting the album.

I’m sure Lecrae has one or two songs that are better than what we might expect from the genre, but that is setting the bar very low. You see, Rap and Hip-Hop are not built around edification or inspiration; rather these styles are built around trash-talk set to a beat. The heroes of the genre are gangsters, thugs, drug dealers, and convicts. The lyrics mostly focus on self-aggrandizement (exaggerating one’s accomplishments) or justifying one’s reckless or even criminal behavior by a twisted victim mentality. That is what the genre is built around. Sure, occasionally you’ll get a poetic anthem about the human spirit from someone like 2Pac, but that is the rare exception rather than the rule.  Even then, it isn’t Biblical. 

The call of the Gospel is to come out of the world. Is there a way to do rap/hip-hop so that it honors God? Yes, but it won’t be popular “in the ‘hood”. Why? Because rap and hip-hop are self-centered musical forms at their very core. Fans of the genre like to take on the persona of the one rapping and feeling a sense of self-empowerment, strength, notoriety, and infamy. The most popular songs are either anthemic declarations of power, a challenge to authority, or shameless carnal gratification. None of these themes glorify God. A similar problem exists with “death metal” and it’s core appeal to rage and anger. While the vast majority of the popularized rap music glorifies “no shame in my game” and extols the achievements of “Old Gangsta’s” a God-honoring rap would be a call to repentance and to come out of that mentality, lifestyle, and to set aside those idols. Those songs exist, but they don’t last long within that genre because they don’t fit the core reason fans of the genre listen to the music.

Conclusion

I hope this song disappears from the chart before it ever gets any “Christian Radio” airplay. I hope this is just a marketing stunt to try to force the song onto unsuspecting listeners and not a reflection of what the industry truly considers to be Christian music. Since I consider this to be a throw-away chart position, I think we should do a bonus review.

Closing Thoughts

I’m not sure Billboard is the best approach for this endeavor, given it’s manipulation of the standings. I’m considering moving to a different chart, any suggestions? I am also open to reviewing songs submitted by readers. In the meantime, please do spend time in God’s Word this week. I’ll do my best to share what I’m studying and reading, but whatever I post here is no substitute for reading God’s Word for yourselves. Take notes and ask your pastors/elders/teachers questions about your readings. Be a disciple of God’s Word and submit to the authorities He has placed over you in the church. If you question any of my posts, take them to your pastors and elders and discuss with them. I just ask that you provide feedback to me so that I might be edified (be it by encouragement or correction).

May the Lord bless you and keep you firmly in His Grace
In Christ,
Jorge