The Stories Behind the Songs on Our 14th Single
Fri., Aug. 27. 2021 6:43pm EDT
J. Jackson, lead singer and lyricist for ApologetiX here again.
Here are the stories behind the songs on our 14th single of 2021:
I've wanted to spoof Pseudo Echo's "Funkytown" (sometimes also spelled "Funky Town") for years. It hit #6 on the U.S. pop chart in July 1987 but had already gone to #1 in their native Australia in late '86 and stayed at the peak position for seven weeks. Of course, that song was a cover version of a U.S. #1 hit from 1980 performed by the American group Lipps Inc.
I remember trying to imitate the effects on the chorus of the original by singing into the fan of my neighborhood friend's outdoor heat pump! Interestingly, both versions went to #1 in Australia and Canada. I like both, too, but Pseudo Echo's version allowed us to rock out and to showcase the screaming guitars of Wayne Bartley.
Late at night on July 30, 2021, I texted Wayne a list of four songs I was considering spoofing and asked him to tell me the one he'd most like to play. He chose "Funkytown." Now the pressure was on me to come up with a good parody idea. Thankfully, God provided the theme, title, and chorus shortly thereafter — probably less than half an hour later. I ran it past my wife, and she liked it, too.
This parody is based on the trumpet sound accompanying Christ's return, which the Apostle Paul mentions in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:52. Later, it dawned on me that the keyboards on Pseudo Echo's version sound a bit like trumpets ... or at least like the trumpet sound on the keyboard my mom had in our living room back in the 80's. So that made the new title even more fitting.
SOMETHING OF VALUE
On June 27, 2021, I went to church and heard Tom Milnes preach a sermon in which he talked about doing his "level best." He used the expression three different times; I couldn't remember ever hearing it before then.
That afternoon, while looking for more 80's songs ApX could spoof, I started leafing through a book that listed the 100 biggest hits for each year. When I got to 1986, I came across "Something About You" by Level 42 (a song I remembered fondly) so I went to iTunes to buy it. The first place I checked was their greatest hits album, which I'd never seen before. The title of the album? Level Best.
A little over a month later, on the afternoon of July 31, I was working on the lyrics and got the line "gold, diamond rings, and fancy kinds of jewels. That evening, I saw a Simpsons episode, and Homer was fantasizing about a reward and said, "Gold, diamonds, and jewels." So a sermon and The Simpsons helped me feel like I was on the right track. I got the title in between, on July 12.
"Something of Value" contrasts mankind's inherited depravity with our inherent dignity. Man was made in the image of God, so there is something of value in each of us. Because of that, God demands an accounting not just from humans who kill humans but even from animals who kill humans, although not vice versa (Genesis 9:5-6). But we're all descended from Adam; therefore we're all sinners. Nevertheless, God gave something of infinite value to save us — the life of His only begotten Son.