The cover’s a little crooked, sadly, but still a beautiful album cover for a beautiful bit of musical art.
“Life in a Northern Town” by the Dream Academy was a nostalgic song even when it was first released in 1984; and old thoughtful, sad songs like the Alan Parson’s Project’s “Time” and “Old and Wise”, or “Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometimes” by the Korgies, still remind me of how little time there is, before death and judgement… and just how many regrets most people will have, standing before that fierce, fearsome, just, and holy Throne.
(This understanding of the transience of life is part of what attracts me to Japanese culture. From the Wikipedia:
The modern study of Japanese aesthetics only started a little over two hundred years ago in the West. The Japanese aesthetic is a set of ancient ideals that include wabi (transient and stark beauty), sabi (the beauty of natural patina and aging), and yūgen (profound grace and subtlety). These ideals, and others, underpin much of Japanese cultural and aesthetic norms on what is considered tasteful or beautiful. Thus, while seen as a philosophy in Western societies, the concept of aesthetics in Japan is seen as an integral part of daily life.[
It is depressing that the West — while it still had a hope in a holy victory on earth, and a joyful eternity in heaven — could beat Japanese aesthetics hollow. But all that’s gone now.
And whose fault is that, Christian?)
In a world full of sin and tragedy, sad songs do have a place: but in a postmillennial universe, it’s a shrinking place. But right now, we tend to attach the idea of “thoughtful”, “deep” and “serious” with “sad”, “depressing”, and “hopeless.”
What happens when “thoughtful”, “deep” and “serious” is tied to the ideas of “joy”, “hard-fought victories”, and “blossoming, promising future”?
- When “Time” isn’t about the inevitable end of all things, but the unstoppable rise of all that is good, true, and beautiful… forever?
- When “Everybody has to learn sometimes” isn’t about regret, but about good lessons, fruitfully applied?
- When “Life in an Northern Town” isn’t about good things that are lost forever, but good things that are ours forever?
I don’t know. We are still waiting for the Christian Church to finally comprehend that Satan has lost definitely, and Christ is victorious definitely — as well as progressively in history.
That’s when I will get to hear the music, and see the beauty, I’ve really been waiting for!