I loved candy growing up. All the different kinds of it. Who didn’t. Most of us still do. Unfortunately, very little of it can be called healthy, so many of us have had to find healthy alternatives at the health food store. Some of them are surprisingly flavorful, so I can still enjoy eating them even though I’m also not having to worry about the damage I may be doing to my body.
Growing up, I also loved music. All different kinds of it. As a music-loving boy in a Christian home but attending a public school, I ended up with an eclectic conglomeration of contradictory musical affections. Pop, rock, classical, country, disco, gospel… You name it, I probably liked it, at least a little.
Unfortunately, not all music is healthy.
Which made me inexorably sad.
I adored the music of the popular bands, bands such as Styx, Journey, the Bee Gees, Foreigner, the Eagles, Kansas, REO Speedwagon, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin… the list could go on. So it saddened me that the lyrics, time after time, were something less desirable than an impressionable young mind should be listening to, especially one doing his best to live an exemplary Christian life. I loved the music, but if I let the words sink in, I would start to feel guilty.
A long as I focused on the beat and the melodies, I was fine. My toe was tapping in sync with the joyful rhythm of my heart.
But, start to pay attention to the lyrics, and… he-he-he-he-he-he, wipeout! All those negative messages about glorified drug use, recreational sex, violence — and with that short list we’ve only just begun — and the sense of guilt would weigh heavily on my heart and that peaceful easy feeling would be gone, gone, gone, woh-oh-woah, woh-o-ohh.
Some Christian groups tried to provide an alternative — Petra, Servant, Sweet Comfort Band, Leon Patillo. However, even though they put out some amazing sounds, they still could not quite wipe away my admiration for the greatest of the great songs, songs like “Too Much Time on My Hands”, “Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin'”, “Stayin’ Alive”, “Hot Blooded”, “Hotel California”, “Carry On Wayward Son”, “Time for Me to Fly”, “Jump”, “Stairway to Heaven”…
So what was a Christian boy to do?
Enter ApologetiX, stage right.
ApologetiX is a Christian parody band that takes popular secular songs, rewrites the lyrics to have a positive or Christian message, and then performs them in the same style as the original, often so well that it’s impossible to tell the difference without listening closely to the lyrics.
I was like an excited little puppy the first time I heard them! Just imagine! I could listen to my favorite songs without feeling any of the guilt associated with the negative lyrics.
I couldn’t wait to check them out further. I already knew the first song I wanted to see if they had something to offer in place of. One of my all-time favorite songs. Unfortunately it’s also one of the hardest for me to hear the lyrics to.
“Bohemian Rhapsody”, by Queen.
Musically, I gotta say…. one of the best songs ever! The eclectic mix of music styles all jammed together in that one sweet musical suite makes it an unquestionable favorite for an eclectic-type guy like me.
Until you listen to the words.
I mean, like, seriously guys? I’m trying to relax here and just enjoy some good music. I want a break from the heavy issues of life. I don’t care if there might be a lesson in those heavy lyrics, I’ve just spent all day in school and I’m tired of studying and analyzing and rationalizing in an attempt to justify what I’m hearing. I don’t want to work so hard to keep the lyrics from filling my brain with those surface images of murder, capital punishment and depression.
Oh, but the song sounds sooooo cool!
And so I went to ApologetiX to see if they could help me out.
YES! Look at that! They did! They did! And it felt like the best thing that had ever happened to me!
They took the music I loved but reworked the lyrics into a story I could feel good about listening to.
Now, when I’m in the mood to hear one of the greatest rock opera songs ever written — but I’m not in the mood to raise a defense perimeter around my brain — I go to the ApologetiX version of “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Now I get to hear the story of David and Goliath, that epic story of the battle between the Philistine giant and the young shepherd boy from Bethlehem.
And they called it, Puppy Love.
Actually, they called it “Bethlehemian Rhapsody”.
Don’t you just love that story, the story of a young boy who, by using the knowledge and skills that he has, the tools at his disposal, and his faith in a Power greater than himself, defeats the gigantic problems in his life even though they seemed bigger and stronger than him.
And thus a negative, potentially soul-damaging song becomes one of hope and faith and empowerment. Like with my newly-discovered health food candy, I no longer have to worry about the damage I might be doing to my soul. Now I can listen to my favorite music and still be encouraging my spirit at the same time.
And hey, even though they’ve cleaned up the lyrics, it’s still rock and roll to me. As far as I’m concerned, when it comes to ApologetiX, they always play their funky music right.
And don’t think ApologetiX is for Christians only. Most of their songs are less about sermonizing and more about telling a Bible story or having a positive message.
Which is why I call them health food ear candy.
All of the pleasure, none of the guilt.
By the way, did you catch all the song references? Any guesses as to how many? Put your answer in the comments and I’ll mention those with the correct answer in the post I publish a couple of weeks from now with the count and a list of the occurrences. For a prize, I’ll include a link to your blog as a little free promotion.
(The solution has now been posted: “The Answer, My Friends, Has Been Blowin’ in the Wind”)
Many thanks to Hugh for the jab in the ribs to get this written. I’ve had this post rolling around inside my head for awhile, but reading his blog inspired me to go ahead and get it done.
ApologetiX has done literally hundreds of parodies. Here are links to the ApologetiX versions of the favorites I listed: