The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
Tue., Feb. 21. 2023 3:01pm EST
J. Jackson, lead singer and lyricist for ApologetiX here again.
Here are the stories behind the songs on our fourth single of 2023:
EIGHT WAYS TO BE (2023)
For years, whenever somebody has told me, "Good luck," my standard response has been, "Who needs good luck when you've got the good Lord?" Seriously, think about it. It was nice to be able to allude to that in opening lines of our third version of this parody.
At the very beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, the good Lord told us eight ways to be happy and blessed (Matthew 5:3-10). I love the Beatitudes, and I've always liked the title of this parody, but I was never satisfied with our 2005 acoustic version. The performance seemed stilted and uneven to me. That's one of the reasons we didn't include it on any of the ApologetiX Classics series CDs in 2010.
But it wasn't just that ... there were some lyrics I didn't like as well as the ones in our original 1992 live version, which had appeared on our first mass-distributed homemade cassette, Get Your Wigs. However, I still liked some of the revisions I'd made for the 2005 version. I ended up taking the best of each and then wrote some more lines for our 2023 version. And that's why there are now three ways to sing "Eight Ways to Be."
The word beatitude comes from the Latin word beātī, which can mean happy, rich, or blessed. Some scholars count Matthew 5:11 as a ninth beatitude, but most go with eight. Good thing for me. If you want to count that extra one, you can write your own Beatles parody. Just put on "The White Album," and start with "Number nine, number nine, number nine, number nine …"
EVERY CROWN HAS ITS THORNS (2023)
This is the third time we've spoofed "Every Rose Has its Thorn" and the second time we've called it "Every Crown Has Its Thorns," although all three contained that phrase and dealt with suffering. Speaking of which, the 1992 version suffered from a variety of musical and lyrical deficiencies.
My main issues with the 2000 version centered around the vocals (all sung by yours truly), which were recorded at a time in ApX history when we used to rush through several songs in the same late-night session, sandwiched between concerts with inadequate stage monitors. That approach isn't conducive to high-quality studio singing. I just knew we could do so much better 23 years later.
I wasn't taking any chances, though, so we got Rich Mannion to do all the backing vocals aside from the lines where actual words were being harmonized. So all those pretty "ooh" and "ahh" parts you hear were sung by him. Wayne Bartley played all the guitars, both acoustic and electric.
I only made one major change to the lyrics this time, replacing the line "had chosen to run away" with "had chosen not to pay" (i.e. to pay for our sins by dying on the cross for us). The old line contained too many syllables to match the rhythm of Poison's original without rushing through it, and it didn't actually rhyme with the end of our follow-up line, "to take the narrow way." I hadn't noticed back in 2000 that I'd rhymed "away" with "way," which is really more repetition than rhyme. Now it's fixed.