Ripe for Co-opting

Today’s post contains no serious content. It does, however, contain rock music videos. Reader discretion is advised.

Have you ever noticed that there are certain songs that just seem ripe for co-opting? Songs that have something that sound vaguely spiritual—like they could be talking about God, but could just as easily be talking about a girl.


U2 is an obvious (and easy) example, particularly with their new record. Check this song out:


Now, in all fairness, Bono and the band do profess faith in Christ (true story), and many songs do have some pretty overt spiritual content. There are even a lot of churches that are already playing their stuff during their corporate worship (including some Anglican ones, I believe). But, it just seems, I don’t know, a bit weird to me. Maybe it’s just me.

While listening to the radio this week, I found that there are actually quite a few songs that, if you thought about it hard enough, you could probably co-opt for a Christian worship service.

And I was even more surprised when I realized that one is the newest Our Lady Peace single, All You Did Was Save My Life:


Seriously, think about it. They could be singing about:

  1. An EMT
  2. A girl in a co-dependent relationship (based on the video)
  3. God

Follow me down this rabbit trail, won’t you? Let’s see… “Red Sea?” Check. “I owe every breath to you?” Yep, that works. “All you did was save my life?” Indeedy-do. Fantastic—it meets all the basic criteria. Tentative allusions to things possibly biblical. Catchy melody (despite my general distaste for modern OLP).

Plus, Raine Maida’s read the Bible (and Dylan, too).


Or something.

I’ll post something serious tomorrow. Maybe.

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  • Mrs_Strongarm

    You forgot to mention my new favorite – so i’ll go ahead and do so. If you change some of the words to Beyoncé’s “Halo” it’d totally work for “special music” time (the part of the Sunday service where, uh, we all get special):

    • Aaron Armstrong

      That’s a good point – I did forget that one.

      Anyone else got one they want to share?

  • William

    How about the perennial pick-me-up, “You Raise Me Up”, preferably sung by Josh Groban’s poperatic voice. Also, read once that someone on death row in Indonesia chose to proclaim his faith in God and plead for mercy by singing “Better Man” by Robbie Williams. I think he was still executed.

    • Aaron Armstrong

      “You Raise Me Up” is epic – great choice, William. I’ll have to give “Better Man” a listen as well.

  • Aron Utecht

    U2 is a bit of an enigma.  Bono makes clear statments about following Christ, as well some powerful quotes about grace.  Yet they make no illusions about being a Christian band.  They obviously want to appeal to a broad audience too, so being a little vague suits their business plan too.

    In the example you gave here, the lyrics talk about God’s sovereign pupose, the power of love (presumably the cross) to heal such a scar (our sin?) and leave such a mark (give us a new purpose to life?), and refering to God as “the” Magnificent, and our job to praise him.

    You could potentially take these in a different direction, though I don’t think it would make much sense applied to another religious framework.  And knowing Bono’s previous statements, I take it for what it is.

    The video leaves me with questions however.  Is the symbolism of the Spirit lifting the veil off of a generic middle eastern city meant to indicate that God will ultimately reveal himself to Muslims?  Or is it trying to indicate that the Muslim God is the same as the Christian God?  the later would seem to be more in line with postmodern sensibilities that dominate the marketplace.  And the former would be a bit radical for rockstars. Perhaps, as artists and businessmen they’re trying to have it both ways.

    Personally, what bothers me more than secular artists deifying human relationship, is self-styled Christian artists who make Jesus sound like their girlfriend.