What’s an album?

Over at Beat Farm Radio, I was reminded of the fact that many people today have no clue that music was created in a linear manner.  In many instances, song order meant something.  At the end of the linked post, above, they asked for contributions from people who had listened to an album from start to finish.

Let’s talk Pedro the Lion’s “Winners Never Quit” from 2000.  In short, it’s about two brothers, one a Christian politician running for office and the other a drunk who does his best to avoid scrutiny until the election is over.

“Slow and Steady Wins the Race”: what could be an allegory to the Christian life in which believers are so focused on their, “mansion on the river Jordan,” surrounded by people who “deserve” to be there too, that they fail to care about the people who’ve wandered from the path.

“Simple Economics”: The politician is hard at work in the final days of the race, trying to figure out how to rig the race so that he wins.  Telling line, “power can be such a tease, you’re always wanting more, it’s good to know that just like sex it can be paid for.”

“To Protect the Family Name”: The brother is picked up while driving drunk.  The whole song is sung from his standpoint, begging and pleading with the police officer to let him go as he doesn’t want to, “Further shame the family name.”

“A Mind of Her Own”:  The wife of the politician finds out, and rebels against her husband.  The song builds and builds, ending with the husband screaming, “You put down that telephone…you’re not telling anyone.”

“Never Leave a Job Half Done”:  Musically upbeat, we learn from the initial line, “Bloodstains on the carpet, bloodstains on my hands” that the politician has murdered his wife, but there is joy “when lies never show.”  This is a surreal song to hear in concert, because of the lyrical content matched with the musical tone.

“Eye on the Finish Line”: Again using biblical language, the politician justifies what he’s done, because it’s the end that matters.  Over time he muses, the murdered wife, “would have understood that this was for the greater good.  Soon I will meet her at our mansion in the sky, leaving this wicked world behind.”

“Bad Things to Such Good People”: The politician, now arrested, reflects on a life of ruin.  He realizes that he is the one that has shamed the family name.  “All the while, the good Lord smiled, and looked the other way.”

“Winners Never Quit”: Reintroducing the path from the first song, the singer talks about giving up as, “the path is too narrow, the way too steep” to follow.  In the end, we should, “count it a blessing that you’re such a failure.  Your second chance might never have come.”

While these are great songs individually, as a whole they paint a clear image of the brokenness of man and his sinful condition.  And, in the end, there is redemption.

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