The Stories Behind the Songs on Single #20
Fri., Oct. 28. 2022 10:34am EDT
J. Jackson, lead singer and lyricist for ApologetiX here again.
Here are the stories behind the songs on our 20th single of 2022:
SLOW TO WRATH
This song is based on James 1:19, which says "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath" (KJV). First Corinthians 13 famously uses many phrases to define love, including "it is not easily angered" (1 Corinthians 13:5).
Furthermore, the LORD is described multiple times in the Old Testament as being "slow to anger," in places such as Numbers 14:18, Joel 2:13, and Psalm 86:15. In fact, He uses that term when describing Himself to Moses in Exodus 34:6: "The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness …"
Meanwhile, the Book of Proverbs has numerous verses about the merit of being slow to anger and the folly of being quick-tempered. Check out 15:18, 16:32, 19:11, 29:11, and 29:22 for starters.
Speaking of starts, I got the title for "Slow to Wrath" on April 8, 2019, along with some of the lyrics. At the time, it didn't fit into our plans, so I stuck it in the vault, which is appropriate, seeing as Def Leppard's first greatest hits album was called Vault.
On September 11, 2022, when I was considering potential songs we could do while Jimmy was recuperating from his motorcycle accident, I thought about "Slow to Wrath" and dug out the lyrics. Much to my surprise, I'd written a lot more of the words than I'd initially remembered; the first verse, chorus, and part of the second verse were already done. I polished those up while filling in the empty spaces.
"Why Wait?" was written as a wake-up call to folks who consider themselves Christians but take an indifferent approach to the Lord's future return and His present presence. The lyrics allude to the third chapter of Revelation, where Christ rebukes the churches in Sardis (3:1-6) and Laodicea (3:14-22).
This parody came together quickly, which is fitting when you consider the title. I mentioned it a possibility to Rich (who provided the keyboards and electronic drums) on September 13, 2022, but all I had right then was "Why wait till the Lord comes down?" I got a big chunk of the words on September 27 while driving to and from a visit with my mom.
At the time, I wasn't thinking it would wind up on the same single as our parody of Def Leppard's "Photograph," but I've always felt that song and Van Halen's "I'll Wait" were similar in subject matter, since both were about seemingly unattainable fantasy women whom the singers said they saw in magazines.
In "Photograph," Joe Elliott sings, "I see your face every time I dream, on every page, every magazine." In "I'll Wait," David Lee Roth asks, "Are you for real — it's so hard to tell from just a magazine."
Once I realized we would be releasing them together, I remembered that those two tunes had similar successes on the charts, too. "Photograph" came out in '83 and went to #12 pop and #1 rock. "I'll Wait" came out in '84 and went to #13 pop and #2 rock. The albums they came from each went to #2 and sold 10 million copies apiece.