The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
Sat., Feb. 26. 2022 12:03am EST
J. Jackson, lead singer and lyricist for ApologetiX here again.
Here are the stories behind the songs on our third single of 2022:
IF YOU REALLY WANNA GET TO HEAVEN
This parody is penned from the perspective of a person on Pentecost and portrays his progression from baffled bystander to bold believer.
In Acts 2:40, Peter urged the crowd, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." He wasn't saying they could secure salvation on their own, because he'd already told them "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Acts 2:21). If you wanna get to Heaven, you've got to raise a little help (actually, a lot of help) from the only One who can raise you.
I started working on this parody in 2019. The original was released in 1973 and hit the Top 40 in '74, but I first heard it in high school on a 1980 K-Tel compilation called Southern Fried Rock. I liked the sound of the song, but even back then I thought the theology was a little ludicrous: "If you wanna get to Heaven, you got to raise a little hell"? It made no sense.
But that didn't stop me from singing it (and suggesting it) while in my last secular band in '87. In fact, I even played the harmonica parts on my melodica, a free-reed instrument that is kind of like a combination of a piano and a harmonica (it's closer in size to a harmonica than a piano).
For the ApX version, however, we got ourselves a genuine, professional harmonica player, Charlie Barath. That's him on the single cover. He was recommended to us by our keyboardist Rich Mannion, although it turns out Charlie jammed with us onstage once at a concert in Monaca PA in 2006, a dozen years before I even met Rich.
SIN CAN BE RESISTIBLE (2022)
When we first decided to redo our 2000 parody "Sin Can Be Resistible," I didn't intend to revise the lyrics; I just wanted stronger vocals and tighter instrumentals. However, as I listened to our old recording, I had some issues with the wording. For example, our 2000 version starts by saying, "We cannot be invincible." I'd written that along the lines of James 3:2, but what about Romans 8:31-39?
Also, in our 2000 version's bridge, I said "Sin's unavoidable," when I really meant "temptation's unavoidable" (Luke 17:1, Matthew 18:7). Yes, we all sin (Romans 3:10, 23) but specific instances of sin are avoidable (1 Corinthians 10:13). Moreover, in our 2000 version's third chorus, I said "even Christ could have fallen," which could be controversial, depending on the listener's theological perspective.
On top of all that, some lines in that chorus didn't rhyme at all with Robert Palmer's original. Then I started noticing other lines elsewhere that could have matched Robert's rhyme and rhythm better. Before I knew it, I had the whole thing taken apart on the garage floor! I started rebuilding it, still using the frame from 2000, but installing replacement parts as needed.
A key passage for both versions is James 4:7b: "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you," but the 2022 version also alludes to Genesis 4:7b, where God warns Cain, "sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it." You might as well face it: No matter what you're addicted to, every kind of sin is resistible.