Prophets – A.C. Newman – 2009

Prophets MP3

There’s a feeling in this song that I can’t quite get to.  And I can hardly understand what’s he’s saying, but I don’t think not knowing what he is saying is the thing that is keeping me from knowing what this song means to me.  The feeling is just too abstract and it pulls me in all these directions.  I keep thinking of all these seemingly disparate themes.

“I was the silent partner I found”

It’s so hard for me to start writing these blog pieces sometimes.  The words “I” and “me” creep into the writing so much.  I understand now why a writer has to write so much.  You have to write that much to get beyond all that you have to say about yourself.  The pull to confess and be heard is overwhelming.  But to hear myself write about me day after day when sometimes it isn’t actually useful in getting to the emotion I am trying to express is truly disheartening.  On the other hand, this is what I came here to do.  And whether or not I use pronouns that indicate that I am the subject of my writing, the fact remains.

“Myself with some rabble that stood on the mound”

We all have a story.  And the stories are specific. And the number of stories is truly boggling. Today I stood in a reception area on the 18th floor of a building in the medical center looking out over the city.  It occurred to me that there were 6 billion people out there.  One hundred years ago, none of these 6 billion people were alive.  And in another one hundred years, all of the 6 billion people that are alive right now will be dead.  But there will still be 6 billion people alive.  Maybe more.  Just not us.

“There are too many prophets here.”

And there is this satisfying longing in the song.  I am on the 18th floor of a building full of people looking out over the city.  I can feel the people.  I can feel their thoughts.  I am 12 and walking through the woods in the cold.  The cold is thorough and satisfying.  And I will get where I’m going, but I’m in no hurry.

“I took it in silence.  I took it to heart.”

I am in Hawk Mountain Sanctuary watching the raptors catch an air current and shoot into the sky.  I have been walking all day and my legs hurt.  I have been depressed, elated, happy, sad, angry and now satisfied.  I am driving at night in Houston and it feels like there are no other people in the world besides me even though there are cars driving alongside of me.

“I carried it quietly over the wall.”

I am reading someone else’s story.  I can relate to every word.  I am suddenly lonelier than I have ever been.

“There were too many prophets there.”

While the song has a traditional tag line lyrical structure and the music follows along in the same model, the arrangement is definitely not your traditional pop song.  I like how he isn’t always on the beat with the vocal even though the vocal and the arrangement were obviously meant to harmonize.  There’s sort of this slurring around the time with the vocal, but it’s not sloppy.  It’s just a masterful handling of time.  All of the instruments are raw without giving way to noise.  It’s more of an organic feel.  Not quite acoustic, but not electronic either.  All of these elements make the song sound like it was through composed, but it’s got sections and moves along like a song.

Moving through the world is mysterious.  We’re all going to do it and we are all going to die.  And none of us knows what’s going to happen.  And none of us knows what’s happening right now.  But there is this feeling that we know.  And we want to put it in words.

“Here is my heart.  Here is my song.”

And while we all have the same spontaneous reactions to something beautiful or the overwhelming enormity of our universe.  Or the realization of just what it means for there to be 6 billion of us.  Communicating what this really means to us is impossible.  And our words always fall short.

“There are too many prophets here.

2 thoughts on “Prophets – A.C. Newman – 2009”

  1. “Moving through the world is mysterious. We’re all going to do it and we are all going to die. And none of us knows what’s going to happen. And none of us knows what’s happening right now. But there is this feeling that we know. And we want to put it in words.”

    Well written, thank you for leading me to a deeper enjoyment and thinking of the song.

  2. Thank you for reading it and I’m glad you got something out of it. Sorry it took so long to approve your comment. I am just getting back into this blog. Let’s see where I go.

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