The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
Thu., Sep. 7. 2023 3:15pm EDT
J. Jackson, lead singer and lyricist for ApologetiX here again.
Here are the stories behind the songs on our 18th single of 2023:
When we released the 10-song "80's Medley (Octagon but Not Forgotten)" on our Wise Up and Rock CD in 2011, the last two parody portions, "James 1:3" and "Wicked," proved to be two of the most popular parts. Although I never intended to do a full-length version of anything in the medley, constant requests from fans finally wore us down, and we released an all-new extended edition of "Wicked" in June 2023. But that only increased the demand for more.
We finally wrote and recorded a full-length version of "James 1:3" in August 2023. Our keyboardist, Rich Mannion, was eager to do this one, and he provided all instrumentation — keyboards, drum-programming, and even the bass. Speaking as the person who had to try to do a reasonable facsimile of the acrobatic vocals in the song we were spoofing ("Take On Me" by a-ha), I wasn't looking forward to the challenge. However, I also wasn't getting any younger, so I figured the sooner, the better.
Earlier that month, I read this great line in a biography of Johnny Cash by Pastor Greg Laurie: "The faith that can't be tested is the faith that can't be trusted." That goes well with the message of "James 1:3."
Speaking of trials, tribulations, and guys named James, I recorded my vocals on August 29, almost a year to the day after ApX drummer Jimmy "Vegas" Tanner and his wife, Eve, were in their terrible motorcycle accident (August 27, 2022). We're so thankful God brought them both through that ordeal.
This parody is based on the biblical admonition, "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts," which first appears in Psalm 95:8 and then reappears three times in Hebrews chapters 3 and 4. There used to be a commercial for Total cereal that said, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life." However, today could also be the last day of the rest of your life.
When I was in college, I'd run into born-again Christians who would say, "If you were to die tonight, do you know for sure you'd go to Heaven?" I was polite to them, but I thought they were pretty arrogant to ask such a question. How could they be so sure they were going to Heaven? Back then, I didn't know the Bible says you can be certain: "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life" (1 John 5:13).
I wrote "Yes Today" in late 1995. We recorded the song live and included it on a homemade cassette called Anthropology in October '96. Then the song sat in the vaults for nine years, but we made up for lost time by releasing two renditions in 2005: an "unplugged" studio recording on Apol-acoustiX in April and a new live recording on Hits: The Road in December.
Finally, in August 2023, we did an all-new fully orchestrated version like The Beatles' original with Rich Mannion doing the heavy lifting. Through it all, our lyrics have stayed the same since '95, because they apply as much today as they did yesterday.