The Stories Behind the Songs on Our 10th Single
Fri., Jul. 2. 2021 3:15pm EDT
J. Jackson, lead singer and lyricist for ApologetiX here again.
Here are the stories behind the songs on our tenth single:
I got the idea for this on May 29, while listening to a bunch of #1 songs from the 80's, looking for something to spoof. I never expected we'd do Billy Ocean's first #1 song, "Caribbean Queen," although I had spoofed that song for a journalism department banquet in 1987. Anyway, I'd been wanting to do a song about Athaliah, the only female ever to rule over God's people in the Old Testament.
She was the daughter of wicked King Ahab of Israel and, presumably, his infamous wife, Jezebel, who introduced Baal worship to Israel and murdered most of the LORD's prophets. The Bible doesn't specifically say Athaliah was Jezebel's daughter (kings could have multiple wives), but most commentators seem to believe Athaliah was Jezzie's girl. She certainly acted like her.
By the time Athaliah came to power (841-835 B.C.), Israel had already been divided for almost a century into a northern kingdom, Israel (or Samaria), and a southern kingdom, Judah. Israel/Samaria suffered a succession of consistently wicked kings, but Judah had some good kings, though the majority were bad.
Athaliah first became queen when she married King Jehoram of Judah as part of treaty between Israel and Judah. After King Jehoram died, Athaliah's son Ahaziah became king at age 22. He reigned for one year but was assassinated by General Jehu, who took over the throne of Israel. With Ahaziah dead, the kingdom of Judah was ripe for the taking.
Athaliah killed all the royal offspring and seized the throne. She ruled for six years but didn't realize her infant grandson Joash had survived the slaughter. He was secretly raised and protected by the high priest, Jehoiada, who eventually led a revolt, executing Athaliah and coronating Joash at the tender age of six.
As I told Rich on June 3, after a fruitful lyric session: "Got more lyrics for Billy Ocean on this morning's walk. 'No more love on the run,' but lots more words on the walk." I sang the vocals on June 16. There were a lot of parts, so it was a long day. On my way home from the studio, I stopped at the grocery store, and they were playing Billy Ocean's second #1 song, "There'll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)."
I know the cover of the single is a little scary, but so was Athaliah. I see that picture as capturing her at this moment from 2 Kings 11:13-14:
When Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people, she came to the people in the house of the Lord. She looked and behold, the king was standing by the pillar, according to the custom, with the captains and the trumpeters beside the king; and all the people of the land rejoiced and blew trumpets. Then Athaliah tore her clothes and cried, "Treason! Treason!"
IF YOU BELIEVE
I got the first verse and half of the chorus to this parody in the last 15 minutes of my daily walk on May 29, 2021, the same day as "Arrogant Queen," and they wound up on the same single.
"If You Believe" was inspired by a Christian brother on social media who was posting things I felt were careless and insensitive. The Gospel is controversial enough (1 Corinthians 1:23) without us making it more controversial by certain things we say and do. I'm not talking about watering down the Word, mind you, but Jesus said, "Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves" (Matthew 10:16).
The song we spoofed here, "If You Leave," was written for and prominently used in the film Pretty in Pink. As those of us who were in high school and/or college in the 80's know, before there was Brad Pitt, there was Brat Pack.
"If You Leave" was part of the soundtrack of the sunset of my college career at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). It hit #4 in May 1986, shortly before I graduated. I remember going to a club with some girls I knew and dancing to it. I still had a summer internship to do, but most of my friends were leaving.
My daughter Janna and I saw Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark in concert along with Howard Jones and Barenaked Ladies (two other artists ApologetiX has spoofed) in Pittsburgh on June 20, 2016. ApX released this parody exactly five years and one week later, on June 27, 2021. I hope the guys in Barenaked Ladies appreciate that we added "one week."