Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Name That Tune

Do you ever flip through the radio stations of secular music? I do, and I do it every time I'm in the van. I love music, and aside from classic hymns (and a few of the great newer songs from the Sovereign Grace folks) my favorite music is what is now called classic rock. Generally, these were hits anytime between the late 60's and late 70's, but every once in a while the station I like will toss in an early 80's song as well. I don't like all the music from that era, but there are lots of songs that sort of mark my childhood and listening to them will often transport me back to that "innocent" time in life when my biggest worry was scraping up enough change to walk barefoot to the local outdoor pool to spend my summer day. I enjoy revisiting that simple time of life, through music.

Yesterday while I was out, Billy Joel's song Only the Good Die Young came on. Other than Piano Man, I was never really a big Billy Joel fan, but I decided to listen to this song. I found a couple things about it rather striking. First of all, regardless of not being a Billy Joel fan, I knew all the words to this song. That says a lot for how often they played it on the radio when it came out. With enough repetition, and composed with a catchy melody, you learn the song whether you like it or not. Secondly, the irony of unsaved arrogance hit me. Not Billy Joel's unsaved arrogance, but that of his young fans when this song was a hit. They were the ones that made it a hit, and as a fellow music lover, I know that they fell all over themselves to be among the first to buy the album. (Yes kids, we listened to music on vinyl, it was very cool, and you missed out!)

Due to the fact that I wasn't a Christian until later in life, I remember quite well the arrogance I had about my musical tastes. If anyone dared question my music, the basic response to was to roll my eyes and dismiss them as uninformed, or without taste, and completely ignore anything they had to say. It was my music, I liked it (for whatever reason, i.e. genre, lyrics, amazing guitar solo, etc.), and I couldn't give one rip one way or the other what anyone else had to say. I was ready, willing and able to defend my music to anyone. I know people like that now, they'll give the same reasons I did, for their musical tastes. Interesting how that works.

So, enter the lyrics of this particular song. Without further commentary from me, I'd be interested in what you think this song is all about:


Come out Virginia, don't let me wait
You Catholic girls start much too late
aw But sooner or later it comes down to fate
I might as well be the one

well, They showed you a statue, told you to pray
They built you a temple and locked you away
Aw, but they never told you the price that you pay
For things that you might have done.....
Only the good die young
thats what i said
only the good die young x2

You might have heard I run with a dangerous crowd
We ain't too pretty we ain't too proud
We might be laughing a bit too loud
aw But that never hurt no one

So come on Virginia show me a sign
Send up a signal I'll throw you the line
The stained-glass curtain you're hiding behind
Never lets in the sun
Darlin' only the good die young
woah
i tell ya
only the good die young x2

You got a nice white dress and a party on your confirmation
You got a brand new soul
mmmm, And a cross of gold
But Virginia they didn't give you quite enough information
You didn't count on me
When you were counting on your rosary
(oh woah woah)

They say there's a heaven for those who will wait
Some say it's better but I say it ain't
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
the Sinners are much more fun...

you know that only the good die young
oh woah baby
i tell ya
only the good die young, X2


You say your mother told you all that I could give you was a reputation
Aww She never cared for me
But did she ever say a prayer for me? oh woah woah

Come out come out come out virgina dont let me wait,
You catholic girls start much too late
Sooner or later it comes down to fate
I might as well be the one,
You know that only the good die young


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