This song really hit me in my final semester (so far) of college.
I was in the midst of the worst year of my personal life (to that point). Two divorces, both completely out of the blue, came right on each other's heels -- one involved my favourite uncle leaving my favourite aunt. That was the first of two straws that broke me (the second was the death of my cousin). It was unfathomable -- that my uncle, who was so caring and affectionate, would turn his back on the woman he promised to love till death parted them and deliberately rend his children's lives in two.
Not long after that bomb broke, one of the chapel speakers at the college gave a talk that made me realise that my uncle had been one of my heroes. But, as Steve Taylor notes...
When the squealers bought 'em off
When the dealers got 'em off
Welcome to the in-for-the-money-as-an-idol show
When they ain't as big as life
When they ditch their second wife...
It's an incisive look at the despair of a little boy as he grows up and all his dreams are crushed... as he finds that the idol you thought you'd be... was just another zero.
And while I'm not a male in an increasingly feminist world, with all the double-standards and pressure that comes with it, that about sums up how I feel too.
I looked up to my uncle. He was cool, he was funny, he was smart, he was a fantastic storyteller, he was one of the few people who would actually talk to me during my teen years. He still does all these things, but now they reek of insincerity. How can I believe that you will always care for me, your mere niece, when you couldn't even muster up the will to care about the woman you professed to love and the children she gave you? And if I can't look up to my uncle, who else can't I look up to? Who can I trust? At first the obvious answer was 'God,' but then my cousin died -- in spite of our prayers for her -- and I realised even God will turn His back.
Artist: Steve Taylor
Label: Sparrow Records
iTunes here; YouTube here.
Plus, it accurately sums up life as an artist: I want to be an artist -- someone who creates things and touches hearts. I want to be a hero.
But the practical side
Said the question was still,
'When you grow up, what will you be?'
...I want to be an artist.
But that's the wrong answer.