Welcome to the Future

If you've been reading along with my unfolding book The Varieities & Illusions of Religious Experience, well, God bless you! You must be as crazy as I am.

Here's a bit of a break from weeks of heavy intellectual lifting as we head into a holiday weekend.

I'm a native Pennsylvania boy from the city. I now find myself living in West Texas having a slowly growing romance with country music and cowboy boots (I was already sold on "dress jeans," sweet tea, straw hats and barbeque). I don't like a ton of country music but the one artist I follow religiously is Brad Paisley. I love Paisley's voice, guitar skills, intelligence, humor and wry social commentary. Plus, he seems like a legitimately nice guy. So, two days ago when Paisley's new album American Saturday Night came out, I drove by WalMart to buy it.

You might hate country music and you might hate the track I'm about to recommend, but Paisley's song Welcome to the Future brought tears to my eyes. When I got home I played it for my wife and she started crying. I cried again.

It would be best to hear the song on a good sound system up really loud. In place of that here's a YouTube link which will probably go inactive for copyright violation as soon as I post it. If the link below is inactive click on this link and go to Paisley's site where you can play Track 3 Welcome to the Future on your computer.

The lyrics to the song:

When I was ten years old,
I remember thinkin' how cool it would be,
when we were goin' on an eight hour drive,
if I could just watch T.V.

And I'd have given anything
to have my own PacMan game at home.
I used to have to get a ride down to the arcade;
Now I've got it on my phone.

Glory glory hallelujah.
Welcome to the future.

My grandpa was in World War II,
he fought against the Japanese.
He wrote a hundred letters to my grandma;
mailed em from his base in the Philippines.

I wish they could see this now,
where they say this change can go.
Cause I was on a video chat this morning
with a company in Tokyo.

Everyday is a revolution.
Welcome to the future.

Look around it's all so clear.
Wherever we would go and well we...
So many things I never thought I'd see...
happening right in front of me.

I had a friend in school,
running-back on a football team,
they burned a cross in his front yard
for asking out the home-coming queen.

I thought about him today,
everybody who's seen what he's seen,
from a woman on a bus
to a man with a dream.

Wake up Martin Luther.
Welcome to the future.
Glory glory hallelujah.
Welcome to the future.

Obviously, it is the last part of the song that catches me. I know there's a lot of concern from people in my life (again, I live in West Texas one of the reddest areas in the US) about President Obama. But as a Christian and an American I'm just grateful that I got to see, live, the election of the first African-American President. From slave ships to November 4, 2008. What a sad but heroic journey. I wish MLK could have seen it. As well as the unnamed souls who were brought in chains to this City on a Hill.

Welcome to the future.

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5 thoughts on “Welcome to the Future”

  1. A country music song that talks about change and the future. I like that. The musical style is not my cup of tea, though I did like the guitar riff, but the words and sentiment were great.

  2. I've always loved Mary Chapin Carpenter. Here is an incredible song of hers I only found on Youtube:

  3. If asked for my favorite country song, I suppose I'd say "Torn & Frayed" by the Rolling Stones. I guess that outs me as not being a real country music fan.

    But I liked the playing in this song and the thought at the end. But the song didn't really work well for me for lyrical reasons. During the early verses, I was actually suspecting that the cheers for modern developments were ironic & that the song was really seeing the past as better. You know, now his kids watch TV on their long drives, but it occurs to him that it was actually better when the family talked during trips; it occurs to him that it was better to be with other kids down at the arcade than sitting home alone playing games on his phone; that kind of thing. (Maybe my preconception of country music as conservative was inclining me toward such an understanding. But more likely it was my own dim view of the role of current electronics in kids' lives.) Even the verses about his grandparents: Maybe the point was that though those letters took a long time to get where they were going, they were far more valuable than the "video chat" he had, I was thinking. But then at the end, he of course really is happy for the changes mentioned there -- and seemingly also (though not to the same extent) then for the changes mentioned earlier??

    I guess I needed better set-up examples for the song to work for me.

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