292) I Like That Old Time Rock and Roll

OLD-TIME ROCK AND ROLL  by Bob Seger

Hear it at:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62diHTKQ-N8

Just take those old records off the shelf
I’ll sit and listen to ’em by myself
Today’s music ain’t got the same soul
I like that old time rock and roll

Don’t try to take me to a Disco
You’ll never even get me out on the floor
In 10 minutes I’ll be late for the door
I like that old time rock and roll

(Chorus) Still like that old time rock and roll
That kinda music just soothes the soul
I reminisce about the days of old
With that old time rock and roll

Won’t go to hear ’em play a Tango
I’d rather hear some blues or funky old soul
There’s only one sure way to get me to go
Start playin’ old time rock and roll

Call me a relic call me what’cha will
Say I’m old fashioned say I’m over the hill
Today’s music ain’t got the same soul
I like that old time rock and roll. (Chorus)

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     What a great tune and what great words!– a Rock and Roll song about the good old days of Rock and Roll.  But think about it.  Bob Seger wrote that song in 1977– 37 years ago; and way back then he was already looking back on the good old days.  The Baby Boomers are getting old (see photo below)!

     And I do agree with the song: ‘I like that old time rock and roll,’ and ‘I’ll sit and listen all by myself,’ and ‘Today’s music ain’t got the same soul.’  But there is one line that I don’t agree with.  In the refrain Seger says ‘that kind of music just soothes the soul,’ but I don’t think it can do that.  Even though Classic Rock can be very good at pointing out what is wrong in your soul, it seldom offers anything that will really and truly soothe the soul.  I do love those old songs and they can do a lot for me.  That music can bring back old memories and put me in a good mood, it can wind me up and it calm me down, it can give me a sense of well-being and it can inspire me, and it can even make me want to ‘twist and shout’ (remember that one?).  But those things are all on the surface of life, and while they are all important and enjoyable aspects of our lives, they don’t go all the way down into your soul.  This music cannot touch that soul of yours in any significant way.  Your soul is the deepest part of you, it is the eternal part of you, and not even the good old Rock and Roll tunes can soothe that.  That requires something more.

     Our deepest problem, that which is at the root of all our other problems and needs, is that we will die.  There is only one thing that can soothe our soul’s anxiety about that, and that is Jesus.  The only one who can really ‘soothe your soul’ is the one who gave you your soul.  St. Augustine prayed, “Our hearts are restless, O Lord, until they rest in you.”  I don’t get that kind of rest or peace of mind from Rock and Roll, but only from the Rock of Ages.  The body and the mind, and the ears that hear the music, will last only a little while.  But the soul lasts for all eternity, and so we must know and look to that eternal hope we have in Jesus.  Jesus once said (John 14:27):  “I give you peace, the kind of peace that only I can give. It isn’t like the peace that this world can give.  So don’t be worried or afraid.”  Those are the words that can truly ‘soothe your soul,’ and we hear them from Jesus and no one else.  Music is a real blessing and delight, but the pleasure of it, like life itself, lasts only so long.

     A friend of mine was at a concert in the Twin Cities.  He said it was a good concert, but he was disappointed that the performer used his platform to mock Jesus and make fun of Christianity.  And then the performer said an interesting thing.  He said, “Music will save you.”  What he seemed to be saying, in the context of his other remarks, was that you do not need Jesus to save you because music can do that.  Really?  Can music do that?  Save you? In what way?  It can, perhaps, soothe you and help you bear the burdens of this brief life in this sad world for a little while.  But the Christian message is that Jesus saves you by giving you a new life that is not brief, but eternal, in a new world that is not sad, but perfect.  No music can do that.

     That musician was not a Christian.  Neither was the ancient playwright Euripides, but he had more sense.  Euripides died 400 years before Jesus was born.  He wrote these words in the play Medea:

It is right, I think, to consider
Both stupid and lacking in foresight
Those poets of old who wrote songs
For parties and dinners and banquets,
Pleasant sounds for men living at ease;
But not one of them has discovered
How to put to an end to grief
with their singing and musical instruments;
Bitter grief, from which death and disaster
Cheat the hopes of a house. Yet how good
If music could cure men of this!…

     Everyone experiences what Euripides describes as that “Bitter grief from which death and disaster cheat the hopes of house.”  And then not even the old time rock and roll can soothe your soul.  Euripides asks how one can put an end to grief.  Poetry and music cannot do it, he says.  

     Something else is needed.

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John 14:27–  (Jesus said), “I give you peace, the kind of peace that only I can give.  It isn’t like the peace that this world can give.   So don’t be worried or afraid.” 

Matthew 11:28-30  —  (Jesus said), “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Psalm  119:50  — My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. 

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O Lord, never allow us to think we can stand by ourselves and not need you, our greatest need.

–John Donne

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Bob Seger today (age 68)

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