Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hard To See - my take

Hard to See
I have only heard 3-4 versions of "Hard to See live and I have tried to piece the lyrics from different sources. The sources are all really tough to discern, at parts, so forgive my misinterpretation.

HTS is without a doubt a driving rocker. The signature intro riff borders on Rock n' Roll but is a more straight ahead runner. I LOVE when Ian just throws a balls-to-the-wall-burner our way. Like Fall Through the Cracks from the Big Wreck days in that it has that one two beat which allows Ian to ad tasty flourishes in between the beats. These little nuances are what does it for me. A good strong riff is like the architecture on which you can embellish and decorate. That's why the blues is such a broad form for guitarists. Hard to see follows this rule.

I'm sure the studio version will carry all of the power that it delivers live. I can't wait to hear what nick raskulinecz heard in this song.

Just fire away, just fire away
and lets begin
In spite of me, in spite of me
I let you in

Ian is such a good "relationship" writer. His point of view always seems to reflect a very REAL situation. Whether they are personal or imagined he writes with the authority of one who's been there. HTS is about a reluctant intervention. Like a guy forced into a discussion about his flaws, pointing the finger at his accuser/intervener. "Lets get this over with", "Go ahead, take your best shot" After all, I LET you go ahead with this, even though it's against my better judgement. Even though my character flawed ego has built up this protective wall, I will let you in... just to remind you who's in control. He's so tough when he starts.

Don't you think your word
is tied to the mess thats inside of me
by now

Then the finger of blame get thrown toward the accuser. We never look inward first. It just ain't our nature. Don't you think that you had something to do with this mess you see me as? Who's to blame here? Me or you!?

It's Hard to see the better side of me
It's time to find a better way to be
Can't figure it out
It's Hard to see the better side of me

The chorus is a tacit admission, that as I look at myself, as you see me, it ain't pretty. I guess, you're right, there's gotta be a better way. I am helpless within myself, or at least at this moment, I see no solution. The beginning of change is the admission of a problem.

Now close the door, now close the door
Lock me in!

Then sign me up, sign me up
for counselin'

But the dysfunctional ego fights tooth and nail for it's survival. Remember, I'm a dangerous animal, you better restrain me or I might run! Go ahead and use that tranquilizer dart gun called "counseling". It's one thing to admit in conversation that you might need to "talk" to someone, it's a whole 'nother thing to actually go through with it, and I DON'T LIKE IT!

Don't you think you're trying to see?
The tragic mess inside of me by now?

Perhaps you are digging a little too deep. Like as you are on the operating table, knowing you need to have a tumor removed, but without anesthesia. That initial cut to break the skin hurts and you pull back. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea. Maybe you are wrong about me.

It's Hard to see the better side of me
I'm trying to find a better way to be
Can't figure it out
It's Hard to see the better side of me

Each time I stop and I turn around
My foot gets stuck in the earth (mud? jungle?)
Each time I stop and I turn around
It always gets stuck

Finally comes the admission that all your attempts at change have failed. EVERY time I try to change, I get bogged down. You finally conclude that you cannot get it done by yourself. The frustration in the way this line is sung seems personal.

I know this is a music review but I look at things through my spiritual grid. Sorry if I offend. The issues that Ian writes about are common to us all in one way or another. That's why we relate to him so much.

Paul the Apostle in Romans (kind of confusing but if you work it out in your head it will be valuable):
We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Now Paul's conclusion is to thank God for salvation. God sees the better side of us, even when we don't. That's why he has the desire to Save us. That's why it's so hard for us to see our better nature because we inherently KNOW our own failings and mortality. Deep down we recognize that no good lives in us by our own flesh. It's all about the pleasure and the greed from our natural side. Our spiritual side, at least what we let dwell inside us, is the only non-selfish part.

I love how Ian refers to his foot getting stuck in the earth (I think that's what he's saying), as in the "earthly". He desires to step into the heavenly, but keeps getting bogged down on the earthly. Such a human condition.

It's Hard to see the better side of me
Time to find a better way to be
Can't figure it out
It's Hard to see the better side of me
Time to find a better way to be
Can't figure it out
It's Hard to see the better side of me

A life well examined, and consequently well lived, is a life worth living. I admire Ian's "self" examination even if it's NOT really about him. It's really about US. That's why Ian is such a genius. On one level it ROCK's, on another it rocks your conscience. Genius I say!

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