The Modern Lament Psalm

October 23, 2006 at 9:34 pm (Song Lyrics/Poems By Me, Theology and the Bible)

Calvin and I just recently picked up Skillet’s newest albulm, “Comatose,” which I think just has some excellent lyrics. But one song in particular interested me, because after pondering the lyrics for awhile, I decided that it sounded very much like a lament Psalm. Now you might think, “Sure, alot of hard music sounds lamenty in nature,” but I mean really really, this one sounds like a lament Psalm, put in modern words, even down to some parallelism (though keep in mind it is a song), the intense emotion, some metaphors you’ll see used in lament Psalms, and some very interesting thoughts you don’t see used in Christian music too often, directed at God…

Observe:

Falling Inside the Black
by Skillet – Comatose

Tonight I’m so alone
This sorrow takes ahold
Don’t leave me here so cold
Never want to be so cold

Your touch used to be so kind
Your touch used to give me life
I’ve waited all this time,
I’ve wasted so much time

Don’t leave me all alone
Cause I barely see at all
Don’t leave me alone I’m

[chorus]
Falling in the black
Slipping through the cracks
Falling to the depths can I ever go back
Dreaming of the way it used to be
Can you hear me
Falling inside the black
Falling inside falling inside the black

You were my source of strength
I’ve traded everything
That I love for this one thing
Stranded in the offering
Don’t leave me here like this
Can’t hear me scream from the abyss
And now I wish for you my desire

[chorus]
Falling in the black
Slipping through the cracks
Falling to the depths can I ever go back
Dreaming of the way it used to be
Can you hear me
Falling inside the black
Falling inside falling inside the black

Don’t leave me alone cause I barely see at all
Don’t leave me alone

Now I’m not entirely certain whether or not the song is supposed to be about someone who has gotten themselves into this situation because of sin/backsliding, or just they are just going through a hard time (that may be somewhat up to the intepretation of the person listening). Given the theme of the album as a whole, which I had the opportunity to hear the band talk about in person – the overwhelming number of Christians who are apathetic/not living for God and need to turn back to him, it could be meant to be about someone who has gotten themselves into the situation of being far away from God by walking away and now they feel it’s “too late” and are crying for God to return to them. Irregardless, the lament Psalm theme still works, as it’s about separation from God.

Now, observe some themes from Scripture. Obviously the whole feeling alone and sorrowful thing is there:

Tonight I’m so alone
This sorrow takes ahold
Don’t leave me here so cold
Never want to be so cold

Ps. 6:3, 6
My soul also is greatly troubled.
But you, O Lord—how long?
I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping

Ps 13:1-2
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?

And then the words of utter desperation and abandonment, paying special attention to the wondering if God can hear the cry:

Falling in the black
Slipping through the cracks
Falling to the depths can I ever go back
Dreaming of the way it used to be
Can you hear me
Falling inside the black
Falling inside falling inside the black

Ps 22:1-2
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.

Ps 28:1a
To you, O Lord, I call;
my rock, be not deaf to me,

Then there is the eye metphor:

Cause I barely see at all

Ps. 6:7a
My eye wastes away because of grief;

Ps. 31:9
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
my eye is wasted from grief;
my soul and my body also.

But even more fascinating:

Don’t leave me here like this
Can’t hear me scream from the abyss

Ps. 6:5
For in death there is no remembrance of you;
in Sheol who will give you praise?

Ps. 28:1b
lest, if you be silent to me,
I become like those who go down to the pit.

Elements that talk about when God used to be near, but now he is far:

Your touch used to be so kind
Your touch used to give me life

Dreaming of the way it used to be

Ps. 77:1-9
1 I cry aloud to God,
aloud to God, and he will hear me.
2  In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
my soul refuses to be comforted.
3 When I remember God, I moan;
when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah
4 You hold my eyelids open;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
5 I consider the days of old,
the years long ago.
6 I said, “Let me remember my song in the night;
let me meditate in my heart.”
Then my spirit made a diligent search:
7 “ Will the Lord spurn forever,
and never again be favorable?
8 Has his steadfast love forever ceased?
Are his promises at an end for all time?
9 Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger shut up his compassion?”

And finally, this line:

I’ve traded everything
That I love for this one thing
Stranded in the offering

I don’t know as there’s a direct correlation to a verse, but the direct accusation of God “stranding” the person in their offering of love to him, is very bold for Christian music and Christians, though not so bold for the writers of the Psalms, and I haven’t even touched on Job, so I thought I’d throw it in there, ’cause I think it relates.

Anyways, so I admit maybe I’m overanalyzing, but I just really liked this song because it sort of reminded me of the lament psalm…a modern one. ‘Course, I guess it’s in the category of Psalm 88 since there’s no, “God will save me after all” caption at the end. 😉

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2 Comments

  1. jhaas said,

    i like skillet, but i only have the really really old album.
    great post!

    i miss you… we need to schedule an outing.

  2. KrisMich said,

    I stumbled across this post as I was looking for these lyrics. I LOVE this song but never thought about this. Way to go look up the verses and find a similarity! I will have to save a link to this page. And I think I like this song even better now. It is great to see the power of scripture, even if it only the themes and not the direct words.

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