Whenever I hear a story about an person at the end of his life, I picture a sad, old gentleman on a hospital bed, surrounded by a couple close family members. He’s got glazed eyes, a plastic tube under his nose, and looks horrible in a blue and white hospital gown. Most of the time, I hear what one realizes when facing death is that he’s failed in so many ways. He wished he wouldn’t have worked so much overtime at the expense of time with his children. He regrets abandoning friends in times of need or self-absorption. He’s disgusted by how he used people and loved money, instead of loving people and using money.
Money is a pretty hot topic, probably due to the fact that we all want more of it. [Except my friends D and James. D lives in the slums in India, and James wants to give away everything he owns. I think he’s traveling somewhere in Europe right now.] I suppose it’s always a talking point because in first world America, we need it for basic cost of living expenses, paying bills, and keeping ourselves entertained. Oh, where would we be without the green? [Depressed to no end, and much more.]
Concrete, vagabond, van telling stories
Humbled by the road, I’m realizing I’m not important
See, life’s a beautiful struggle, I record it
Hope it helps you maneuvering through yours
And that’s why we stay in the lab at night
I’ve been staring into this pad for over half my life
A true artist won’t be satisfied
So I guess that’s the sacrifice and I say,
Make the money, don’t let the money make you
Change the game, don’t let the game change you
I’ll forever remain faithful
All my people stay true
Take away the dot com, name, love
Fans, Twitter followers, and the buzz
See, you keep the issues but you take away the drugs
And I had to find out who I really was, who I really wasn’t
So sick of who I was becoming, yeah, tired of running
Time to look at the man in the mirror
Until I can learn to love him
Shadows of Truth
- This is a track with which Macklemore defiantly confronts empty pursuit of wealth and success. Of course, these things need not be written off as evil, but one must cautiously navigate the world of money and fame. Jesus reminds us that we cannot serve both God and money; one will be our master, and we would do well to avoid getting caught up in that which is merely temporary.
- I like that Mac’s eyes were opened to his small, yet valuable role as he reflects on his life and travels. Traveling is one of my favorite things to do, party because while traveling, I get clearer thoughts and vision for how my life should be realigned. “Humbled by the road, I’m realizing I’m not important.”
- Life isn’t all good. Life isn’t all bad. Some people experience more of the good than others. Some people have more insight to share and to lead others in better ways of life. In this way, Macklemore is a prophet to listeners, offering wisdom and warnings for the benefit of the audience. He knows that he’s serving people. “See, life’s a beautiful struggle, I record it, hope it helps you maneuvering through yours.”
- Art and creation, as we’ve seen in Mac’s other tracks, engage people in something productive, putting flesh to vision, building on dreams. The artistic drive is relentless, because art is created out of the abundant inspiration and expressions one feels the need to share. A driven artist will keep pushing himself forward, to more products and more substance. Don’t get lazy, grow complacent – for that will kill the inner artist.
- Props to Macklemore for recognizing the danger of not only ravenous addiction to money, but also the danger of “the game:” the system of how things are, how people can be manipulated in the music industry and beyond. Faithfulness is among the best of qualities Jesus demonstrates to us, just like his Father. Even the concept, being full of faith, is rich in implication for living abundantly with Jesus as our treasure, and nothing else.
- Macklemore readily admits, as in other songs, that when the veneer of drugs or status or bright lights is stripped away, one’s identity is less about the externals and more about the internals. Is my identity in what I can do or appear to be? Or is my identity more in who I’m becoming, my core self manifest accurately by my tangible living? “And I had to find out who I really was, who I really wasn’t, so sick of who I was becoming, yeah, tired of running.”
How does money or fame or status effect who you are, who you’re becoming?
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