For Wed 4/29

Read Reese Okyung Kwon’s “There Must Be More”—a somewhat ironic close reading (interpretation) of David Ruis’ Christian Rock song, “There Must Be More”.  In Kwon’s text she painstakingly unpacks the singer’s decision to use the word “because.”  In your response below, I want you to

a) tell me what you think the importance of this word “because” is (in the context of the song, or you can interpret this prompt more broadly)

b) tell me one word from the song you’re writing Essay 2 about that you could write a paragraph about.


8 thoughts on “For Wed 4/29”

  1. a) To me, the word because is an extension to a statement. Because insists on reasoning or cause behind an idea, an expression, an emotion. The absence of the word will obit the context of the situation: Ex. I am hungry because I missed lunch -> I am hungry. You’re left wondering why you’re hungry without the backstory or the initial reason behind the feeling. In terms of the song, “There Must Be More,” because is an important word. There needs to be a reason behind why the artist is holding onto hope, waiting for something real to come or else why would they continue on down this path of suffering if it’s only currently bringing pain? As Kwon concluded, it’s wishful thinking that keeps the hope alive, and with the absence of that hope, it wouldn’t be a Christian contemporary song. The lack of faith would change the dark optimism of the song.

    b) For my Essay 2, one word that describes the song “Teen Idle” From Marina and the Diamonds is Vanity. I’d be focusing on the issue of youth vanity or teens’ obsession with their appearance to the public/social media. In this decade, teenagers are growing more aware of their body image and seeking approval of others regarding their appearance thanks to the easy access to technology. Kids as young as 13 are asking their parents for plastic surgery, modifying their bodies towards the standards of a fully grown “unrealistic” adult. What’s shown on media are adults playing teens on television and social media influencers constantly promoting their go-to surgeon resulting in pressure to change all across the board. The most impressionable age group has to be 12-16 and they’re more likely to do something told by their idols, in order to seek their approval as well as their peers. It’s harmful to teenagers to undergo risky and unneeded procedures in the early stages of their development. Not only it’s dangerous to their overall body growth, but there will also be no stopping the need for more cosmetic changes if you aren’t comfortable with who you are on the inside. It’s common to not who you are or not feel confident in your body as you’re growing up, but it’s not normalized or publicly expressed how these feelings of uncertainty should be shared among family, friends, and social media. These open conversations would allow for others to come forward about the awkwardness of being a teen during the new age of tech. I’ve linked two articles I quickly found related to the issue below.

    1. As always, glad to read you Shanice. A couple thoughts:
      –I love your work with the word “because” and your insistence on the necessity of avowing one’s faith in the context of Christian-genred music. That said, there is an irony to Ruis’ faith: if he didn’t have doubts in God, why would he be insistent on praying to that God. What do you make of this?

      –For your essay, I would like to see you play with and analyze a word that is IN “Teen Idle”—not simply a word that “describes” the song. Apologies if this wasn’t clear, but I want you to do something like what Kwon does with “because”: choose a word from the lyrics of the song you’re working on and play with its different (possible) meanings. Does that make sense?


      1. My bad! I tend to read over words a little too quickly.

        One word from the song “Teen Idle” I’d focus on that’s similar to vanity is Idle. What does it even mean, anyway? Normally, I automatically think it’s someone who doesn’t act or engage in work activities. While so many teenagers are active in their school studies, extracurricular activities, home life, and even jobs or internships, they can be considered to be idle during that age period. Teens have lots of ambition and drive to take control of their life, but are given limited means to do so. In other words, being young, broke, impulsive means you can’t contribute much to a capitalist society. But also, in the context of the song, I also think it’s supposed to allude to the word idol – which is something or someone that receives praise and worship. It would relate greatly to the song surrounding youth’s desire to be admired because I believe there’s a high tendency to idolize your peers and influent members of society during the teenage years. Either way, idle.. idol.. it works in both ways, and maybe that’s the reason why Marina cleverly chose the word in the first place?

  2. A)
    In the English language the word “because” is used to express the reason behind a motive/ feeling. But in the context of the song and the anecdote Kwon gave us; I believe that the lack of the word “because” emphasizes the irony in Ruis’ faith.

    “just keep hangin’ on/ ’cause there must be more”.
    In these lines of the song, Ruis eloquently speaks of “there must be more”, to which I believe creates a setting of uncertainty to the listener. As Kwon highlighted throughout her writing, a Christian song wouldn’t exist if not for the blind optimism that keeps hope alive. She also said, “Wanting something does not make it so; the petition is rooted in doubt”.

    -“Boys don’t cry” by The cure
    I chose the word “would” for my essay 2 because, in its context, it shows there is potential to fix the problems in his relationship… but he doesn’t apply his resolve because he doesn’t believe in his own motives.

  3. a) Why does he keep holding on? Because there must be more. Despite his weakness, his pain, or anguish, he knows that there is more to come and so he holds on. Because of what is to come, he presses on.

    b) Ironically, the word I would select from J.Monty’s “My God” is ‘why.’ In his song, Monty talks about all the ways he has actively rebelled against God. He recounts the times he stole, shot and killed for his gang, sold drugs, and smoke and drank for himself. Yet God still saw fit to call on him and take him to a different place where he would be safer. For that he asks why. Even when he continued to run from God and dive head first into his filth, God would never give up on calling him and fetching him out of his problem. For that he asks why. Why is he worthy of God’s time? Why does he deserve God’s persistence? Why should he even get God’s attention? Why should he have a second chance of success? He may never know, but until he does, he will ask ‘why’?

  4. Personally, when I hear the word “because”, It intrigues me to see what the author has on the other side of that word. It’s a word that is an introduction, in the middle of the paragraph. In the context of the song, it seems to be used in a place of reasoning and explanation.

    The song I chose for my essay was “Angel Down” by Lady Gaga, and the word I want to hone in on is “Down”. It took me a while to realize that the phrase “Angel Down” was a reference to phrases like “Man Down” or “Officer Down” which are used when someone is on the ground due to them being hurt or wounded. This play on words solidified the meaning of the song, which is the “Angel” in question, are being harmed and killed because of racism and police brutality.

  5. To me the word “because” means reasoning and explanation behind your words and statements. Sometimes we use it as persuasion to help others understand and make sense of where we’re coming from. But in the song, I felt that the word “because” meant hope as the singer kept holding on to that “because” to make himself see that there could be more and that giving up now means giving up on better things to come. The “because” in the song also held pain and suffering as it was the only thing keeping the singer sane and want to see what is next to come, but it’s hard holding on when you feel as though your’e alone. So he found that one thing, a simple word, that makes him want to live again and get through the pain, “because”.

    In the song I chose, “Do Better” by Lil Donald, I can write a whole paragraph on the word “Better”. That word makes you want to get back on your game and see what the future holds even if there’s nothing left now. In your hardest times, it makes you hold on to that hope that things will get better, that there is a purpose for you after all. To me, the word meant that things happen for a reason but that doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the world, it’s just another lesson to not make the same mistakes again.

  6. A)
    The word ”because” in English is used to introduce a word or phrase which stands for a clause expressing an explanation or reason. It gives a whole explanation behind a motive or an action as well. When I heard the word ”because” in the song I knew it would have a meaning, and the meaning is the action behind the dream or hope in this case. In the song ”There Must Be More” by David Ruis, there is a lyric that used ”because”, and it is ”Lord I’m tired, yes I’m weak I need your power to work in me But I can’t let go, just keep hangin’ on because there must be more”. In these lines, the singer is saying that he is about to give up, but he is not giving up, because he believes in God and thinks that God will offer something in the future.

    The song that I have chosen for my essay 2 is ”Besabryaan” which is a song mostly about motivation, and the word that I would choose to write about is ”Besabryaan” which if you translate it in English is ”impatient”. The reason I have chosen this word because the singer mentions a lot and it’s meaning is the heart of the song. It basically tells why the cricketer is always hungry for success.

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