Monday, December 10, 2007

The Music of the Way Things Are

I've been listening to Radiohead's latest album In Rainbows (if you must know, I paid £5 for it) alongside Amnesiac, which has been my favourite for a few years now. In Rainbows is definitely more accessible musically, but the themes are similar.

Musically, Radiohead are at times discordant, even chaotic. Lyrically, they are dark, challenging optimism about life in the world. I sometimes wonder why I like their stuff so much?! But for me, to borrow Beuchner's language, this is the Music of The Way Things Are.

In Orwell's 1984, Winston stands at an open window, listening to one of the proles singing...

one of countless similar songs published for the benefit of the proles by a subsection of the Music Department. The words of these songs were composed without any human intervention whatever on an instrument known as a versificator...she knew the whole drivelling song by heart it seemed.

When so much music is escapism, like the opium administered by the Ministry of Truth, the Music of the Way Things Are grounds us in realism. Our task as disciples of Christ is to bring the Hope of the Way Things Will Be, the Hope of the Coming Kingdom of God alongside and to work for the triumph of that hope over the lostness of the world.