In The Right Measure

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Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword! ~ Matthew 10:34

Oh, I can’t take another heartache
Though you say you’re my friend, I’m at my wits end
You say your love is bona fide
But that don’t coincide with the things that you do
And when I ask you to be nice, you say
Maybe it should be said that conflict, not absence, makes the heart grow fonder. There’s just something about the drama that often ensues from conflict in a relationship, that warms – more like heats – the heart. There’s nothing like a good spirited spat to get the blood racing. Yeah, a little gunpowder thrown in the fire can be a good thing.
You gotta be
Cruel to be kind in the right measure
Cruel to be kind it’s a very good sign
Cruel to be kind means that I love you
Baby, you gotta be cruel to be kind
I’ve never been one of those who needed such stimuli to keep relationships strong; quite the contrary, I prefer the placid pond. Though I know there’s plenty out there who would disagree on this with a resounding jeer – how boring!
I do my best to understand, dear
But you still mystify and I want to know why
I pick myself up off the ground
To have you knock me back down again and again
And when I ask you to explain, well, you say
And what would Jesus say about such foibles? Interestingly enough, the Prince of Peace says that when we next see Him, He will be swinging a sword. And this time it won’t just be tables at the Temple getting knocked over. There will be all kinds of destruction and division, even among family member and close relationships.

You’ve gotta be cruel to be kind in the right measure
Cruel to be kind, it’s a very good sign
Cruel to be kind means that I love you, baby
(You’ve gotta be cruel)
You’ve gotta be cruel to be kind
“Cruel To Be Kind” has always been one of my favorites from the self proclaimed “Jesus of Cool”, Nick Lowe. It was his highest charting single in the U.S., reaching #12 on the Billboard charts in 1979. Interestingly enough, it reached #12 on the U.K, Australian and Canadian charts, as well.
Here’s a few interesting notes about the song:
  • “Cruel To Be Kind” was one of 206 videos that were played on MTV’s very first day of broadcasting, August 1, 1981
  • The video re-enacts his wedding with Carlene Carter (June’s daughter) and also features Rockpile bandmate, Dave Edmunds, as the limo driver.
  • The song was originally written for Nick’s earlier band, Brinsley Schwarz, but never got released
  • It also appeared – in a different, slower version – as the B side to the single “Little Hitler”
 Well, I do my best to understand, dear
But you still mystify
And I want to know why
I pick myself up off the ground
To have you knock me back down
Again and again
And when I ask you to explain, you say
Nick was no stranger to conflict and chaos himself; he earned his nickname “Basher” due to his unique style in the recording studio, both as producer and performer. He was known to urge his bands to just “Bash it out…we’ll tart it up later” to get the raw, rough sound that his record label, Stiff Records, became so well known for.
So, if you are one of those who prefers a dash of drama to liven your day and a few tears mixed with your laughter, or if you prefer a more peaceful union, either way, the Basher is sure to get your blood flowing with this one every time.
Enjoy the original here

Source for this post included:
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The Fruit Of Another

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For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are. – Hebrews 4:15

Squeeze, not nearly as big here in the states as in the U.K., was headed by the latest songwriting duo of the late 70’s/early 80’s to wear the “next Lennon & McCartney” moniker. The driving forces behind the band were Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook; in this case with an album (East Side Story) produced by Elvis Costello (EC also sings background vocals on the track) and powered by the ever-soulful Paul Carrack (Ace-“How Long”, Mike & The Mechanics-“The Living Years” and his own “Don’t Shed A Tear”) standing in on lead vocals.

“Tempted” was their breakthrough hit in the U.S. and, according to Difford, was written during a cab ride on the way to the Heathrow Airport to go on tour. As Chris explains “I was obviously envisioning a good time on the tour, as the (song’s) chorus suggests.”

And they just kept on squeezing out super sweet, superbly crafted, hook-laden grooves for a decade. This one, in particular just has that low, funky groove you just can’t help but sing along to. It’s the bass line, the punctuated percussion, and then Paul’s vocal melody inserted in perfect time. Just like a sweet temptation always seems to come along at just the perfect time.

And why not, certainly we’ve all had our temptations in life. No one can resist them all. Except one…and we all know who that was.

I bought a toothbrush, some toothpaste

A flannel for my face
Pajamas, a hairbrush
New shoes and a case
I said to my reflection
Let’s get out of this place

And oftentimes when we’ve succumbed to that temptation, that’s what we all want to do: run. Put on our best Forrest Gump imitation and boogie. But we really can’t…its always there, no matter where we go; haunting us.

Passed the church and the steeple

The laundry on the hill
Billboards and the buildings
Memories of it still
Keep calling and calling
But forget it all, I know I will

The mind will try to convince itself that we’re going to put this all behind us. Sure we will.  Just put a little space and time between us, and you’ll see.

Tempted by the fruit of another
Tempted but the truth is discovered
What’s been going on, now that you have gone

Nothing new here. The truth will out. And then the game is lost.

Alarmed by the seduction, I wish that it would stop

It’s like we’re traveling down this long road and we can see it stretching out ahead of us for miles and miles. And we know that it’s going to happen again. We can see it looming there on the horizon. And we wish that it would stop, but at the same time we eagerly await the next time. We are helpless. The car doors are locked and we can’t get out.

I bought a novel, some perfume

A fortune all for you
But it’s not my conscience
That hates to be untrue
I asked of my reflection
Tell me what is there to do

No matter what the mind commands, the body fails to obey. And, you can’t cover it up or make good with gifts or sweets. What’s done is done.

Yes, it’s tragic. But there is hope. Even though Jesus never gave in to earthly temptations, He understands the human condition, all our frailties and failings, and holds out His hand anyway. His is a love many times scorned, but offered unconditionally.

As The Boss once sang:

They say Eve tempted Adam with an apple, but man I ain’t going for that. I know it was a pink Cadillac…

So, jump on in and climb in the back. Because the road to temptation…well, it goes on forever.

The Element Within

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So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. – Matthew 19:6

It’s the element within her
Something under her skin
That is shining out through the face of the girl

The click.

Ever wonder what causes that almost instant attraction you have for certain people? And it does not always have to be the opposite sex. Just someone that we connect to. It’s rare, but it happens. And when it does, you can’t always put your finger on just exactly what it is about them.

It’s just a part of it
Like your fine tresses
You know what my guess is

It’s that whole “find your soul-mate” thing. Nowadays you can just order it up online. Or at least that’s what they advertise. Some call it chemistry. And I guess it is chemical. Something elemental within us.

I’m so glad to be happily married (for 26 years this past week). I’d hate to be looking for love on the internet. It seems so…clinical.  So impersonal. It’s a procedure now, for crying out loud. It just doesn’t seem to me that it would be quite the same as back in the day.

This love in my heart
Let no-one set asunder
Sometimes I wonder

But even when (and if) you find that “soul-mate”, you’ll still sometimes wonder. Is it real? Will it last? Certainly this is God’s plan for us. You have to set aside those doubts and go with it.

“The Element Within Her” is one of many Elvis Costello penned songs that passed me by, until I heard it covered by another artist. The other artist In this case, Marti Jones. It was a hidden gem on 1983’s “Punch The Clock”, overshadowed by the Top 40 success of “Everyday I Write The Book” and the haunting tones of “Shipbuilding”.  But mostly, I was still totally hooked on “Imperial Bedroom” as it had just been released the prior year.

It wasn’t until I heard Marti’s cover version on her “Unsophisticated Time” in 1985 (which is itself a fantastic album) that I really started to take notice. And, like I have with many Costello songs, I came to appreciate his original version more, after getting attracted by the cover. Like Linda Ronstadt’s versions of “Party Girl” and “Girls Talk”.

And isn’t that surely the way it is? We start to take for granted those closest to us in favor of someone new? It’s only when we hear someone else echo those sentiments, that we realize that it was here in front of us all along.

Yes, sometimes the click is right…just trust it and go with it.

Marti Jones’ cover: