derek webb’s stockholm syndrome: the spirit vs. the kick drum

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Monday, August 3rd, 2009

derek webb’s stockholm syndrome: the spirit vs. the kick drum

this is the third post in an ongoing blog series in which i go, track-by-track, through derek webb’s new album, stockholm syndrome. here’s a list of past posts:

1. black eye
2. cobra con

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throughout stockholm syndrome, webb weaves a series of poetic lyrics that dig beneath the surface of the obvious. it’s not so much that the meaning is veiled as much as it doesn’t lay it out in black and white terms.

the spirit vs. the kick drum is the exception.

on the track, webb sings,

i don’t want the spirit; i want the kick drum
i don’t want the spirit; i want the kick drum
i know how it works, so i’m not dumb
i don’t want the spirit; i want the kick drum

like sex without love
like peace without the dove
like a crime scene without the blood
i don’t want the spirit; you know i want a kick drum

i don’t want the son; i want a jury of peers
i don’t want the son; i want a jury of peers
i’m scared of who’s going to see my tears
i don’t want the son; i want a jury of peers

like lies without the truth
like wine without the fruit
like a skydive without the chute
i don’t want the son; you know i want a jury of peers
i don’t want the spirit; you know i want a kick drum

i don’t want the father; i want a vending machine
i don’t want the father; i want a vending machine
i know what i want, if you know what i mean
i don’t want the father; i want a vending machine

like heaven without gates
like hell without flames
like life without pain
i don’t want the father; you know i want a vending machine
i don’t want the son; you know i want a jury of peers
i don’t want the spirit; you know i want a kick drum

you can listen here: the spirit vs. the kick drum

it’s not that it’s mindless fact-slinging, but, on this track, webb presents a fairly straightforward message. specifically, it’s the idea that a fabricated faith has little meaning. faith that is lives in external stimulation isn’t really faith at all.

the title lyric suggests that american christianity is often much more dependent upon a rousing experience much more than a spirit-led encounter with god. while the kick drum moves us to a cheapened crescendo of action, the spirit moves us into an authentic space of deep connections, reflection, meditation and social action. the kick drum is a matter of the moment, while the spirit is an ongoing life stance.

further, webb tackles the issue of god being whatever we choose to make him. more to the point, webb asserts that we’ve neutered god into a vending machine deity of personal prescription. god becomes what we make him. in fact, often, instead of us looking like god, our view of god is often a reflection of us. instead of being created in his image, god is created in our image. there’s certainly something powerful in acknowledging the fact that god is near and relatable, but when we craft a god that comes from our mold, we’ve chosen the vending machine over the father figure.

webb lays out a basic argument, but one that’s powerful: a personally fabricated god isn’t god at all.

alright, stay tuned for our next installment, folks.

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next on the docket: what matters more.

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