Music and Discernment: The Freshman


I didn't get to add an entry for last week's song, and adding this now seems after the fact. I knew well over a week ago this was the song I wanted to post, but now that I'm in a different state of mind it gives the feeling that I like to dwell on my mistakes.

Please don't think me a constant downer, as I do love to be inspirational and helpful. Just this evening, I spoke with a young man who still had issues with his mother being Protestant as he began RCIA. I like to think about myself in a positive light; there are just times when I need to not only remind myself of my sins, but to find that one song that embodies my feelings.

Maybe it's my unique form of closure: using music to contain my feelings. It's like a picture of a summer on the beach; each time you pick up the frame and stare at the image, you're taken back to that place. You can almost feel the sand under your feet, can faintly hear the cry of gulls flying overhead. If you think real hard, you'll remember the songs you listened to that year, who your best friends were, and where the focus was in your life. Perhaps Photograph by Nickelback would have been a better choice.

Regardless, I will leave the pictures and photo albums to those from the last generation. My memories are contained on my mp3 playlist.

This particular song, written by Brian Vander Ark (another native of Grand Rapids), alludes to many issues and problems in the search of a relationship. My search of the song's actual meaning has lead me to the story of an abortion, rape, a fling with a buddy's girlfriend, even a car accident. I've never seen an absolute truth to the meaning of this song. That may be Brian's ultimate gift: to allow people to interpret and identify with his music without parameters.

That's the type of songwriter I like.

For me, The Freshman represents our misguided attempts to find happiness with the opposite sex, as well as our mindsets about heartache. Not every object we chase is material. My life has shown that we chase ideas, self-created ideas, about what happiness and love should be. The "I was young and dumb" excuse will serve me well the rest of my days, but the important thing for me to remember, as well as to share, is that no matter what happens in our lives we will get through it. God does not give that which we cannot handle.

I'm reminded of the movie Evan Almighty where Morgan Freeman/God says: "Do you think God zaps us with courage, or does he give us opportunities to be courageous?"

Other than the words, this is quite simply a beautiful song. I hope you enjoy. As always, the song is on the playlist below.


When I was young I knew everything
She a punk who rarely ever took advice
Now I'm guilt stricken, sobbing, with my head on the floor
Stop a baby's breath and a shoe full of rice

I can't be held responsible
She was touching her face
I won't be held responsible
She fell in love in the first place

For the life of me
I cannot remember
What made us think that we were wise and we'd never compromise
For the life of me
I cannot believe we'd ever die for these sins
We were merely freshmen

My best friend took a week's vacation to forget her
His girl took a week's worth of valium and slept
And now he's guilt stricken, sobbing, with his head on the floor
Thinks about her now and how he never really wept. He says:

I can't be held responsible
She was touching her face
I won't be held responsible
She fell in love in the first place

For the life of me
I cannot remember
What made us think that we were wise and we'd never compromise
For the life of me
I could not believe we'd ever die for these sins
We were merely freshmen

We tried to wash our hands of all of this
We never talk of our lack in relationships
And how we're guilt stricken, sobbing, with our heads on the floor
We fell through the ice when we tried not to slip

I can't be held responsible
Cause she was touching her face
And I won't be held responsible
She fell in love in the first place

For the life of me
I cannot remember
What made us think that we were wise and we'd never compromise
For the life of me
I cannot believe we'd ever die for these sins
We were merely freshmen

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1 Response to Music and Discernment: The Freshman

March 28, 2008 at 3:09 PM

It's an excellent song, I can only assume you're a fan of Brian's current solo work as well.

Check out the Brian VAnder Ark Fan Forums, a web site I put up because the verve pipe message boards suck so much.