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Overlooking The World

If you're reading this post, thank you.

It's the first of many more to come and we appreciate you taking the time to check it out.

The basis of Lyrical Worldview is simple. Every time we record and release a new song, we'll breakdown the backstory behind the lyrics and how they relate to everyday life, culture, and issues of faith. We’ll also post randomly whenever we think there's something to say that can add value to you.

So here we go…

We decided to release "Overlooking the World" first for one reason—it’s ultra relevant (Read song lyrics). To be honest, I didn't really want to put this one out there first. But the song speaks to the current social climate so it made sense that this song would be the first one we shared.

The song is catchy and it grooves, but the vibe is a little different from most of our other music. Our style is more of an indie folk sound mixed with a bit of alternative and some soul. I added a spoken word element to this song which isn't typical either. But it felt natural and it just seemed to fit.

The Inspiration Behind the Song

We live near the Sierra Mountain range in California. The picture you see above is from the backside of where we live, where on a clear day or night you can see for miles. As you’re looking out, it feels like you’re literally overlooking the world. It was while observing this view circa 2018 that I came up with the melody and the hook.

However, I didn't actually sit down and attempt to write the song until 2020 hit. In that moment when we were all getting bombarded with Covid, lockdowns, protests, wildfires (we had to evacuate for a week), and an unprecedented and divisive political war, the song was just begging to be written. I was overlooking the world, and it wasn't pretty.

This was not an easy song to write and it took me several months to complete it. There are a number of lyrical layers to the song that I could talk about, but I'll highlight just three main ideas.

Difficult Conversations and Isolation

The song starts out positive and describes what someone might normally see while walking around a city...people, cars, bikes, kids buying snacks at the store, a park, and a cramped city bus. While the character in the song is watching all of these mundane happenings, he/she (take your pick) realizes that they have no one to talk to about this stuff. The one line that repeats throughout the song is, "all I'm missing is you." And as the song increases in intensity and the observations get more distressing and negative, a conversation partner is desperately needed.

It's always been hard to have difficult conversations…especially with difficult people. But last year proved that having safe conversations about the most significant events shaping our world seemed almost impossible, even with normal and sane people.

Everyone was triggered and everything was a trigger. Discourse was mostly online due to Covid restrictions and this is where volatility was the worst. Add to that Cancel Culture and deep divisions over the pandemic, race, the police, and the election etc, and you have a perfect storm. Families, friends, and neighbors found themselves socially, physically, and conversationally distanced with very few people to help them process through an ugly year. No wonder mental health issues have gone up.

Not Knowing What To Do

As the tension grows in the song, the character frantically concludes that they are struggling to know what to do about the rapidly changing scenes in front of them. We all know what it’s like to glue our eyes to the digital world and get overwhelmed with all of the craziness that’s happening. We doom scroll, shutter in fear, and itch to do something about what we see. But we can’t muster much action beyond clicking the next news article, post, or YouTube video. We’re paralyzed...or at least I was in some respects.

I found that in writing this song I had somewhat of an outlet for expression besides gobbling down more information about protests and politics, increasing my screen time stats, and avoiding arguments. Sometimes it can be hard to do anything except for the easiest thing...pull out the iPhone or pull up the Netflix account and forget the real world exists. We numb ourselves so that we don't have to feel or think or act.

The human predicament

At the end of the song, the music slows down and introduces an introspective interlude. It then offers humanity two suggestions. The lyrics advise, “maybe we should find out who and whose we are.”

The idea behind this is that the problems we see as we are overlooking the world are massive. If there are solutions to be found, it'll take some deep soul-searching on a global, national, and personal level. But, that's not the only thing. My belief is that our human issues are so deep that we are in over our heads when it comes to trying to resolve them ourselves. I also think that maybe the conversation partner we all have really been missing is not another person...but God. I honestly believe that He has an invested interest in the world and in the suffering and social concerns we are experiencing. It seems to me that mankind has not proven itself remotely capable of handling all of the world’s problems on its own. We need some help. And whenever I find that I'm in over my head, I come to the conclusion that God is the answer. God has not always changed the circumstances in my life, but He used the the circumstances to change me.

There has been a lot of conversation over the last year about systemic change. My take is that systems are controlled by people. People are innately mistake prone and sometimes downright evil. I think it's a good conversation to have, but what if we focused more on how to change the human heart? If hearts are transformed, then the systems can be transformed. But who or what can truly change the human heart? In my own narrative (which is riddled with errors, regrets, and personal problems), it wasn't until I encountered Jesus that I found a change of heart. I'm still a work in progress, but I'm not who I was.

Ok, so what now?

I'll leave you with some practical things to do or at least to consider:

1. Find safe people you can talk to. Look for conversation partners who like to listen more than they like to talk. And then choose to be a conversation partner that listens and empathizes. Take a risk at having difficult dialogue rather than avoiding it. Check your biases as you talk. When you find yourself helplessly surrounded by toxic people, move on. Or when you find that you’re the one who’s toxic, take a break from heated discussions for a time and then try point #3.

2. Search for something you can do that impacts the real world. Help feed hungry people, encourage someone, donate money to a worthy charitable organization, get involved in your church (if it's open), or start a movement that does good for others. Put down your screen and trade the digital world for the analog experience. Do something meaningful.

3. Think about what you need to change in your own life. Maybe you’ve been doing things on your own for too long. Maybe you've numbed yourself, you’re a screen addict, you're lonely, and you need some help making sense of your life. Maybe your problems are piling up and you, like our world, are in over your head. There is help beyond yourself. I encourage you to open your heart to God, and let it be changed.

Tell me what you think...


Song Lyrics:

I’m standing on a mountain

Overlooking the world

I see planes and bikes, and trains, and cars

Going far

I don’t know who they are

And all I’m missing is you

Ms. Jones is at the stop light

She’s running late for work

I see the boys on the corner

At the market buying sodas

Cause it’s hot I hear the people at the park

But all I’m missing is you

I’m overlooking the world

I’m overlooking the world

When it’s me minus you

I don’t think that the view

Is as good

I’m overlooking the world

I’m overlooking the world

When it’s you and its me

I can speak and be free

And it’s cool

Because there’s so much to say

The city bus rolls down the block

But you can’t find a seat

The music lovers don’t mind

Cause they’re standing in line

At the door

Of the vinyl record store

But all I’m missing is you

I’m overlooking the world

I’m overlooking the world

When it’s me minus you

I don’t think that the view Is as good

I’m overlooking the world

I’m overlooking the world

When it’s you and its me

I can speak and be free

And it’s cool

There’s a party at a house

And it’s drawing crowd cause it’s loud

But there's a mother breaking down

At the loss of her newborn child

There’s a preacher in a church

And he's preaching his heart

A little girl wide awake

Cause she’s afraid of the dark

Two lovers tie the knot

Two others are giving up on love

I’m overlooking the world

I’m overlooking the world

When it’s you and its me

I can think and be free

And it’s cool

I see the poor without a home

Who are lost and alone on the streets

And busy people walking by

With their phones and their eyes on their screens

And 6ft apart is as close as they get

Look at the man on his face with a knee in his neck

I feel the fire, and the rage, and the gas, and the smoke

From a nation fast asleep but pretending it’s woke

And the coming civil war when they count up the votes

I see the world about to crumble Into iron and the clay

Coming down like a statue

Getting weak at the base

And I’m standing on this mountain

But I’m struggling to know what to do

What should I do?

I’m standing on a mountain

Overlooking the world

I see the city lights and the distant stars

It’s getting dark

I'm thinking maybe we should start

To find out who and whose we are

And all I'm missing

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