Saturday, September 29, 2007

Surprise and Delight

If I told you how I am now the owner of the new Annie Lennox CD before its release date, I might have to kill you, but all the same, I feel somewhat smug about this and just wanted you to know that I am.

Starbucks likes to encourage its employees to "surprise and delight" the customers, and I'm afraid that's a little hard to do when you're working with a skeleton crew, all of whom have coughs and fevers, as I was yesterday. And I also feel that "surprising and delighting" might be overstating things a little here, but I still have to say that I usually am most enthusiastic about things I wasn't expecting or hadn't heard of before. This happened when I saw the Matrix (the FIRST one. I only mean the FIRST one!) and Pirates of the Caribbean (again, let me emphasise that I am referring to the FIRST movie in these trilogies). I felt this way about Blue Like Jazz. It happened with the latest OtR release. And, when I unexpectedly received Songs of Mass Destruction before the release date, I was, at least on some level, surprised and delighted.

The problem with this is that I enthuse about these things for a while and then I get embarrassed and think everyone will wonder what kind of pathetic sense of style and taste I have--and then after that the things become blockbuster hits or whatever and it's disappointing because there's nothing edgy about my liking them.

But anyway, I'm just going to put out there, before the release date, that I'm really enthusiastic about the new Annie Lennox CD. It's not like I've been an Annie Lennox fan before this, although based on the songs of hers I've heard before now, I had a hunch I might could be. ("Might could," incidentally, is a verb form I picked up from College-Roommmate-Jenne, who's originally from Alabama.) But it's nice to hear music sung by people who can actually sing. And I just like Gospel- and soul-influenced music. Even if the person singing it is kind of missing something when it comes to the Gospel. Which I think it might be accurate to say Annie Lennox is (though I'm not sure I really "get" the Gospel, either, exactly, when I think about it).

Actually, the CD is a real downer, but it's a heck of a fun downer to listen to. Wikipedia says, "The album addresses global warming, Iraq, Aids, religious conflict, global poverty and inequality." I'm afraid I'm not perceptive enough to get all that, although I do get some of it. I think mostly she just sounds really lonely and sad and sometimes angry about it, and she would like the world to be fixed.

As would I. I find the whole thing a little conflicting, because as I listen to her words I want to say, "I get what you're saying, but if you just knew Jesus . . . " And I really mean it, and I really believe it, but the fact is that I have raged with the same sentiment and almost the same words, sometimes, against that very Jesus. And I can't say that I usually feel Jesus any more than Mother Theresa did, probably. (I'm just less brave about it.) So I can't truly say why, exactly, I feel that it would make a difference to Annie Lennox in this life for her to, say, "put her faith in Him." But there is something bedrock and comforting and "nevertheless" about trusting Him anyway, or trying to. And there's something about her lyrics that remind me of Him, almost as if she were wishing He were true, but not quite willing to believe it.

Anyway. I found myself praying for her on the way home from dinner with the Molly Llama last night. And I really do like the CD.


chris said...

The problem with this is that I enthuse about these things for a while and then I get embarrassed and think everyone will wonder what kind of pathetic sense of style and taste I have--and then after that the things become blockbuster hits or whatever and it's disappointing because there's nothing edgy about my liking them.

Haha, the reverse populist approach. I find that an ounce of forceful obscurantism covers up a pound of embarrassment ;-)

"Blue Like Jazz" was better than I thought (feared) it would be - even if his writing style is a bit hard to take at times, "To Own A Dragon" was even better.

You might like 'Chasing Francis' if you run across it - it's more obviously contrived, but still a reasonable read.

Inihtar said...

I often don't feel Jesus either. . . and it's frustrating and lonely. But I guess the key is to keep going and trying to reach him again and again even if it feels like a chore and an effort -- kind of like an old-fashioned long-distance phone connection!

And I get frustrated at the way the world is and then frustrated at myself for not doing anything (much) about it. Instead of wanting and waiting for it all to be fixed, shouldn't I be doing more of the fixing? That thought nags at me more and more these days!

Jenn said...

Chris! Official welcome to the blog--thanks for commenting. As usual, I feel intellectually inferior after that "forceful obscurantism" comment, as I'm not sure what you're talking about. But maybe that's what you're talking about. Also, I love Don Miller's writing style. But I've heard that criticism (mostly from other guys) before. Do you think it's a gender thing? Maybe he's flirting.

Ini--yeah, it nags at me, too. It's just hard to see what to do instead, sometimes.

Barry Pike said...

I appreciated your comments about Annie Lennox and I'll probably have to get that album.

Not long ago, I bought "Ultimate Collection", a Eurhythmics greatest hits, and just love it. You would probably like it, too. There are some 17 songs or so on there, both vintage and recent, all excellent.

I agree with you. I think Annie Lennox is sad, mostly, and occasinaly angry. And she can sing about such emotions with a ferocity, and a tenderness, that is almost without peer.

I like Blue Like Jazz. And the writing style is what it does't bug me. That is a great book to give people, believers or unbelievers. It's good for comforting the challenged and challenging the comfortable.

chris said...

That's an oddly apt definition of flirting. Though as an aside you are presupposing its direction - perhaps it's a reader driven thing.

I liked the book. It's a great apologetics book in the real sense. The style just made it difficult to read at times - though the dialogue about lost homework a few pages in helped hook me.

"forceful obscurantism" - cover embarrassment by stating a taste/preference really forcefully and wilfully - it's easier if you mentally add a 'harrumph!' sound to the end of your statement.

To get serious; sometimes the only honest prayer is in the spirit of psalm 88. Often the only discernible difference is having someone to address the psalm to, and occasionally being able to move onto a more trusting lament.

Jenn said...

Barry--yeah. What you said. Both the "ferocity and tenderness" comment re: Lennox and the "comfort/challenge" thing re: Blue strike me as very true.

Chris--thanks for explaining. Now I get it. Also, Psalm 88. Apropos. Yep.

Stacey said...

So, I check my myspace and see your comment...and decide to listen again to the song because I've been an Annie Lennox fan since Medusa days and find her music totally depressing but so very raw and unfortunately do totally resonate with the anger and ferocity that I feel if I can't always express. (whew, insert breath). So then I decide to checkout her myspace but notice your current status is disappointed (which I hope is not a large disappointment and that your doing ok). So, at the same time as listening to A.L. I click over to your blog to see how your doing and read this entry.

All this blather to say...I'm really impressed and envious of your magical preview of her CD. And, am praying for your sense of closeness to Christ to come into focus as I find it does for all-to-brief-moments in life.

Jenn said...

Thanks, Stacey. That's the main thing. The "disappointment" thing was only sort of momentary, but I happened to be on myspace during that particular moment. I have been sort of feeling frustrated or something with life's uncertainties, however. But the prayer should help! Thanks . . .

There was an error in this gadget