by Emily Medlock
Welcome back to another Behind the Lyrics! Today, I want to talk about one of my very favorite bands. Tenth Avenue North is one of the most heartfelt Christian bands that I believe I’ve ever heard and is always a staple on my list. Their new album No Shame was released on August 2 and it is one for the books.
While there are many amazing songs on it, today I am going to break down a song called “Someone to Talk To.” Let’s go ahead and get started!
I tried to speak up in church and tell ’em where I am hurt
Tell ’em secrets I got and the temptations I flirt
Now doesn’t this hit you where it hurts? Imagine being the reason someone doesn’t want to go to church. No one wants to hear only what they can’t do, only what they are doing wrong, only what their faults are. As Mike Donehey of Tenth Avenue North says, “We really tried on this record to make the music speak as much as the lyrics, and the tone of each song to make you feel like you’re not being preached at, but just agreeing with what is being said because the music is moving you.”
That’s what we as Christians should first do. We should let the spirit move through us and it will reflect onto those around us.
They told me it’s a safe place
Hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints, yeah
We claim we welcome everyone the same, but do we? Even as Christians, we’ve all had that moment of feeling as if we’re the only one that struggle with sin. We seem to want church to be nothing more than a social gathering for Christians exiling everyone who isn’t like them.
But when I tell them where I’m at, they tell me where I ain’t
When all I needed was someone to hear about my shame
All anyone wants is someone to listen to them. Why do you think therapy is getting more and more popular? People need to open their hearts without feeling small. Our own insecurities cause us to break each other down instead of build each other up.
As I said in, “I’m Gonna Let it Go,” we need to have that heart to heart with God. But before we do that, we need a relationship with him.
Ah, can anybody hear me?
Can I say that I’m lonely
Say that I’m scared
If I tell you what I’m feeling
Will I still get to stay here
How hard is it to admit your weaknesses? As Christians, we want to speak our hearts to others. Sometimes we feel we can’t. But there’s always One that is there. Our relationship with God is the only one that will never waver.
That said, wouldn’t it be nice if we could begin to accept each other enough to listen without judgement? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could bridge the gap between God and the fear of rejection?
I got broken hallelujahs
And lies along with truth
Can you handle my confusion
I need someone to talk to
Someone to talk to. Church, Christianity is supposed to be a safe place. But as Casting Crowns says in Stained Glass Masquerade, “Are we happy plastic people, under shiny plastic steeples, with walls around our weakness, and smiles that hide our pain. But the invitations open, to every heart that’s been broken, maybe then we close the curtain, on our stained glass masquerade.”
When I was still just a kid, I learned the way that it is
The things that we can confess, but some are better unsaid
I tried to watch my heart
Wellspring of life, but then the waters got dark
Remember being a child, and words spoken coming back to bite you? We come into this world honest, fresh, and with a pure heart. But after we have it broken so many times, we begin to give up on people. The purity is contaminated, the waters turn dark. Christ is there to do that impossible job of purifying that water again. It’s something that we ask for once and He does every single day…if only we let Him.
I got addicted, conflicted, I wish that I did so much different
But now it’s just how it is
Is this just how it is?
Can I say that I’m lonely
Say that I’m scared
Is this how it is? Are we trapped by the fear of rejection? Are we forced to turn to the darker things in life because the place we’re meant to be has gotten so scary? Are we letting religion hold us back instead of letting God push us forward? Are we allowed to speak about our doubts and fears? God’s ear is always open and his heart is always pure. But what about our sisters and brothers? What about those who haven’t been blessed with the relationship that we have with God? Who can they turn to? Can you hear them saying…?
Don’t run away, away from me
‘Cause I got nowhere else to go
I want to mention that my favorite song on No Shame is “Paranoia” and I encourage everyone to listen to it first and foremost. However, “Someone to Talk To” is the song I was led to speak of today, so here it is!
While there isn’t a “music video” yet, and likely won’t be, listening to the song is really a mood booster. You can make it what you want. Just as the lead singer of Tenth Avenue North told Billboard, “We want to make things as fun and interactive as possible. The beautiful thing about music is people make it their own. So having a choose-your-own-adventure was really cool and reflects some of that. We know why we wrote the song, but at the end of the day, it’s your story. Hopefully we can be a part of your story as opposed as you being a part of ours.”
I’ll leave you with more wise words from Donehey’s interview with Billboard. Words that touched me and I hope they can touch you:
“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” “Most of us only ask one of those questions,” he says. “We either ask, ‘Where’s my deep gladness?’ and that’s all we concentrate on and then we just become narcissists, or we say, ‘What’s the world need?’ We go do that and we get burned out because we’re doing everything for everybody, but it’s not making us come alive.
“The real sweet spot that I found, when I really feel fulfilled, is when I’m asking, ‘What do I love to do? Where’s my deep gladness? Now how can I do that in a way that meets the world’s deep hunger?’ Think about how many musicians want to be a musician and then they get there and go, ‘What now?’ It’s because the music was only serving themselves, but when you make music that you believe serves other people, when you are doing what you love and you are helping people, that’s fulfillment!”
And don’t forget to listen to their album No Shame out now! If you have any suggestions for songs that you want me to cover in Behind the Lyrics, feel free to let me know in the comments below!
Emily Medlock is a freelance writer who specializes in video games, movies, viral content, Christianity, music and YouTube video scripts. Visit her online at emilymedlock.com/blog.