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Becoming a Slave

October 19, 2009
Derek Webb

Derek Webb

How often do you see a songwriter tackle Christopher Columbus and the effects of the expansion into the “New World”?

Never.

But I love this song by Derek Webb off his latest album Stockholm Syndrome.  “Becoming a Slave” recounts  the story of Christopher Columbus meeting the Arawak people on his first voyage in 1492.  The Spaniards exposed the people to weapons (for example, the Arawak people cut themselves on the swords of the Spaniards because they simply did not know what they were or what they were for), prison, and slavery.

Not exactly the Christopher Columbus you learn about in elementary school, huh?

The songs ends a little weird for my taste. And I am not sure what the third verse is talking about (anybody got any ideas?).  But I really like it, especially the phrase contained in the chorus. Very thought provoking.

I really like Derek Webb.  I know that his use of controversy (i.e using “cuss” words) to promote and sell his music is a little played out.  And some others have been critical of his lack of appeal for the Gospel as the answer in a few of his other songs.  But can’t a gospel-driven songwriter (And Derek Webb is one) have some freedom  to make a comment on a social issue or history in HIS songs from time to time?

I certainly think so.

Here are the lyrics to the song:

I admire these men
Brave and beautiful
Grabbing the blade from all the wrong sides like children

They bring skins and smoke
We bring shackles and guns
We trade with them and then we’ll take them home

‘Cause it’s simple
So simple
They’re not like us

Becoming a slave is easier than you think
Becoming a slave is easier than you think
Becoming a slave is easier than you think
Becoming a slave

There’s always a price to pay
It’s gotta hit somebody’s back
Trust me, new worlds don’t just build themselves

Progress has more than one face
Even though it’s always itself
There’s nothing you can change that doesn’t change everything else

So it’s simple
It’s so simple
If they’re not like us

Becoming a slave is easier than you think
Becoming a slave is easier than you think
Becoming a slave is easier than you think
Becoming a slave

Torn from every head
A product of every word
It’s under our feet; you know it’s over our heads

Everyone’s telling the truth
In languages that nobody speaks
You listen close you hear what you believe

To love vision
To love action
To love vision
To love action
To be what you want
To be what you want

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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 21, 2009 9:51 AM

    If anyone is interested, I am giving away a free copy of Derek Webb’s new CD on my blog.

    http://shanebertou.wordpress.com

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