An Open Notebook

State Your Peace (Piece)

S

Darius Rucker has now had a long and illustrious career, starting on the airways of Adult-Contemporary, and eventually migrating to country music. Overcoming their horrendous name, his first band, Hootie and the Blowfish bowled a run of chart-topping songs in 1994, accompanied by their bluesy-upbeat style, yet slowly fading into practical irrelevance by 2005.

There’s even an industry catchphrase named after it–‘the Hootie Effect’. When your sound becomes so popular that people get tired of hearing it. 

So, Darius moved on to country, where his current songs have had splashing success, even if not at his former pace, and a string of hits. Ironically, despite all this, the two most-popular recordings, split between both bands, might happen to be covers of other songwriters (‘I Go Blind,’ which appeared on Friends and ‘Wagon Wheel,’ the Bob Dylan track).

Two songs are interesting, because of the way they view ‘history’–the flow of time. Hootie’s last attempt at producing an album yielded an oft-forgotten tract, called ‘State Your Peace,’ nearly a re-run of their early hit ‘Time’ yet with a more optimistic ending.

Though the first of these song possesses better wordplay (a conflated pun, between ‘make your peace’ and ‘state your piece’), and a better ending, the band’s last gasp never matched the success of the early years. In part, I consider, because this song gives too somber of an impression from the start. The hopelessness gives the listener no good reason to think their actions can ‘change the world.’ 

Why am I always the last one to say how i feel? 
It’s like driving down the middle of the road 
with no hands on the wheel 
And I keep hearing stories about the guy who was killed while he prayed 
Well you should go ahead and say it ’cause we’re all gonna die anyway…

State your peace, 
go ahead and say it i swear it can’t get much worse 
Make a piece of history, 
a blessing from a curse… before it gets worse .

You can try and be a hero but people keep dying everyday 
You can keep earning money but your money keeps burning away 
And it feels like the future’s always waiting on the tip of my tongue 
Like a cat holding back ’till it’s too late the damage is done.

State your peace, 
go ahead and say it, 
I swear it can’t get much worse 
Make a piece of history, 
a blessing from a curse… before it gets worse.

You can try and change the world by showing everyone a better way 
But the world’s gonna do what the world’s gonna do at the end of the day 

State your peace, 
go ahead and say it, 
I swear it can’t get much worse 
Make your peace with history, 
a blessing from a curse 
State your peace 
blow it wide open, did you find you an oyster pearl 
Make your piece with history 
you just might be the one who can change the world 
Can you save the world 
You can change the world.

Time

As fatalistic as both songs sound, the tone being fairly mournful, they’re no more drear than Ecclesiastes

Time why you punish me
Like a wave bashing into the shore
You wash away my dreams…Time why you walk away
Like a friend with somewhere to go
You left me crying…

Can you teach me ’bout tomorrow
And all the pain and sorrow running free
‘Cause tomorrow’s just another day
And I don’t believe in time

Time I don’t understand
Children killing in the street
Dying for the color of red…time there red and blue
Wash them in the ocean, make them clean
Maybe their mother won’t cry tonight

Can you teach me about tomorrow
And all the pain and sorrow running free
But tomorrow’s just another day
And I don’t believe in Time is wasting time is walking
You ain’t no friend of mine
I don’t know where I’m goin’
I think I’m out of my mind
Thinking about time
And if I die tomorrow
Just lay me down in sleep…

Time is wasting time is walking
You ain’t no friend of mine
I don’t know where I’m goin’
I think I’m out of my mind
Thinking about time…Time you left me standing there
Like a tree growing all alone
The wind just stripped me bare
Stripped me bare…Time the past has come and gone
The future’s far away
And now only lasts for one second, one second…

Can you teach me ’bout tomorrow
And all the pain and sorrow, running free
‘Cause tomorrow’s just another day
And I don’t believe in time

You ain’t no friend of mine
I don’t know where I’m goin’
I think I’m out of my mind…Walking, wasting
You ain’t no friend of mine
And I don’t know where I’m goin’
No don’t know…Time without courage
And time without fear
Is just wasted, wasted
Wasted time…Time why you punish me

Time & State Your Peace

Both songs muse over the direction of history. The first, ‘State Your Peace’ encourages its hearers to make a difference in history before they meet their end–an expansion upon the famous Latin phrase Momento Mori, remembered by many for its inclusion in the children’s books, A Series of Unfortunate Events.

The second, (‘on the other hand’) Time, is far more fatalistic about social evils, transferring them to personal evils, and then lamenting the harsh realities of life. The author asks ‘time’ to teach him about life, but time is not in the teaching business. ‘Father Time’ is not personal. To ‘not believe in’ time is not to acknowledge its reality, but not to invest hope in it.

Can you teach me 'bout tomorrow
And all the pain and sorrow, running free
'Cause tomorrow's just another day
And I don't believe in time

There is a lesson to be learned between all these lyrics. Time cannot save anyone on its own. If one depends on the progress of history for its own sake, on the shoulders of humanity, it will let you down.

Yet, if you depend on a good and guiding God, one who will enact posthumous justice and save those who ‘state their peace’ on the blood of his son, you’ll naturally look at the world far differently, ‘stating your piece’ with far more optimism. You actually will have peace. 

Christians ‘state their peace’ and ‘state their peace’ by confessing the gospel; and, in this, they can and do change history.

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By Ryan
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