Posted by: Bob Clark | November 9, 2004

A Scream-O Life

Music moves me. I love listening to music. I try to keep up with new musical trends and make an effort to appreciate all genres (admittedly, that is sometimes difficult). Through the years I have had several brushes with musicians — some famous, some not. My friend Ronnie Caldwell played keyboards for the original Bar-Kays (he died in the plane crash with Otis Redding). As a kid I took drum lessons from Tommy Boggs, drummer for The Box Tops.

My sixth grade school teacher was the wife of Al Jackson, Jr., legendary drummer for Booker T. and the MG’s. There were numerous brushes with Elvis (you wouldn’t believe most of them if I told you). Though I don’t fly much, I have been on an airplane with the drummer for Shaded Red, country star Kenny Chesney, jazz guitarist Larry Carlton, and the lead singer for Candlebox. I even met the Christian band The Benjamin Gate at the exit 20 Exxon off I-40.

So when I found myself in the North Jackson Chick-fil-A rest room with a guy who looked like a musician I asked him, “You in a band?” He told me he was and named the group. I can’t remember the name of the band. I got rattled when he answered my question about what kind of music he played. Scream-O. Screamo-O? Here I am thinking I am well-informed about the latest styles and I have never even heard of Scream-O.

So I did a little checking and found that Scream-O is described as hard core music with fast guitars accompanying raw, emotional, ear-splitting screamed lyrics. Music is a window to the heart and mind. Praise music overflows from a thankful heart. The blues painfully escape from a heart that knows trouble. My love for music translates into a love for the Psalms which include both praise (117) and the blues (69).

So what do you see when you look into hearts through the window of Scream-O? My guess is you see a heart full of anger, frustration, and disappointment. I have never actually listened to any Scream-O (I have read some lyrics). Really have no desire to do so. But I was thinking about Psalms that might provide good lyrics for the genre and came up with a few – 2, 10, 60, 64, 74, 79, and 83. Problem is – even the darkest of Psalms usually has at least a hint of hope. Maybe Ecclesiastes, an examination of life without God, would be a better text for Scream-O. But wait, folk-rock already claimed Ecclesiastes with The Byrds’ classic, Turn! Turn! Turn! The Psalms are full of passion, disappointment, even anger, but you just don’t find the hopelessness that seems to be expressed in Scream-O.

I’m glad I ran into that guy at Chick-fil-A. I pray that the church will be faithful in proclaiming the good news of Jesus so that everyone, even those who living a Scream-O life can find hope.

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