Endless Loop: Help Me When You’re Gone

starflyer59Have you ever had one of those songs that gets stuck in your head for days…weeks…years? Sure you have. These are the songs that always make the cut. The songs on repeat. We all have them. I have a ton. Welcome back to Endless Loop.

“Help Me When You’re Gone” by Starflyer 59

Have you ever been to one of those Christian stores?  They’re these weird little gift shops that trade in religious iconography and nick-nacks, a showroom full of tables, racks, and shelves stacked and stuffed with books, Bibles, trinkets, shirts, crosses, and chachkies.  Jesus freak paraphernalia.  Salvation through consumerism.  Praise be to the lord.

Growing up in conservative small town Texas, these kinds of stores were pretty prevalent, popping up in strip malls and shopping centers all across the desert, as I’m sure they did (and still do) throughout the whole of the Bible Belt too.  That doesn’t make them any less odd.  Or off putting.  The combining of one’s religious beliefs or spirituality with capitalism and commerce just stinks of avarice and hypocrisy to me, a reverence of money and gold that goes against every lessen and tenet that that religion is supposed to espouse.

I went to a Christian private school for eight years.  I know what I’m talking about.  Christian stores are not good.

That being said, some of these stores also sold Christian records, tapes, and CDs, an assortment of mostly dull and saccharine pop artists who might occasionally crack the Top 40, but who were ultimately deemed acceptable by the hordes of overbearing parents and adults thumping their Bibles at school and community events across the county.  Most of these albums were bad, but serviceable I guess, laughable attempts at rock n’ roll and popular music practically oozing with earnestness, parables, and devotion.  Yuck.

But naturally, I eventually stumbled upon a Christian rock band that I liked.

California band Starflyer 59 began in 1993 as one of the original signees to Christian label Tooth & Nail Records.  The band’s early sound was wholly indebted to the shoegaze of the early ‘90s, though by 1997’s Americana, they were working a more radio friendly kind of pop rock into the mix as well.  And I ate it up, despite the group’s holy and innocuous origins.  Honestly, I just kind of ignored all of that.  The penultimate track on Americana, the floating and moody “Help Me When You’re Gone,” might be about Jesus.  Then again, it might not be.  Lyrically speaking, lead singer/head starflyer Jason Martin’s songwriting was ambiguous enough that it could go either way.

And I’m okay with that.  It helps the medicine go down or whatever.

It’s just too bad I had to go into one of those Christian stores to buy the thing 20 years ago.  The things we do for our aural fixations.  Praise be to God.

 

Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com.

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