29 April 2016

Music Day - Walk Between The Lines

A year ago today I heard this song for the first time.

It was the morning after my cousin's sudden impossible death. The day after God yanked the proverbial rug out from underneath me and I realised that it is possible for even the family of a dead child to pretend nothing happened and carry on as normal. I had never felt so betrayed in my life. I have never felt so much rage as I have in this past year, over that one incident. I hated God. I hated my family. I hated the platitudes my friends gave me in their efforts to shut me up or at least redirect my attention. I hated myself, for living while she died -- more people loved her than will ever love me; if someone had to die, why not someone who nobody would really miss? -- and for not being able to create any art at all after she died. It was like my inspiration died when she did. My one outlet for frustration was gone, and this only added insult to injury.

And somehow this song gave me something to hold onto even though my entire life was falling apart. It's kind of odd, as the song didn't really speak to my situation, but it just happened to be the only thing that my shocked, broken heart could hold onto without wanting to kill it out of sheer fury.

Maybe it was the mood of it. It was dark and moody and raw and emotional, and those were all things I was feeling. For once the lyrics didn't resonate with me (usually that's what draws me to a song) because they felt so far from what I was feeling. The lyrics are actually kind of hopeful, and I was not hopeful. I wanted to die too, just to get away from the nightmare that was suddenly my life.

Title: Walk Between The Lines
Artist: Russ Taff
Album: Russ Taff
Year: 1987
Label: Myrrh
iTunes here; YouTube here.

This album, by the way, is said to be hands-down Russ Taff's best. I haven't heard all his albums, but since this is the only one I like so far, I'm inclined to agree. (Although the reason I like it is mostly because it's more of a rock album while the others I've heard were country. I can't stand country.) The whole album is largely in the same raw, moody, emotional vein, questioning and yearning and hoping and pleading. It encapsulates my thought life in sonic form more than I think any album ever has. It captures, fairly accurately, the weight that sits on my heart nearly every single day of my life. It acknowledges that life can have pain and hard moments (or years, as the case may be...), and especially at the time it was released, this kind of gut-level songwriting was unheard of in the Christian music subculture. Russ Taff poured his heart and soul out for this album, and my soul is better for it.

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