Music Discussion: Rootless Tree by Damien Rice

The original plan was to post one song per day, but it’s looking like Friday could be goofy for many in light of it being good, and all. I’m going to go ahead with the third song right now, but don’t forget about the other two. All the songs can be accessed easily from the main music discussion page. This song was selected by Claudia. Here we go!

Damien Rice: Rootless Tree
what i want from you
is empty your head
they say be true,
don’t stain your bed
we do what we need to be free
and it leans on me
like a rootless tree
what i want from us
is empty our minds
we fake a fuss
and fracture the times
we go blind
when we’ve needed to see
and this leans on me
like a rootless…
so f*** you
and all we’ve been through
i said leave it
it’s nothing to you
and if you hate me
then hate me so good that you can let me out
let me out of this hell when you’re around
what i want from this
is learn to let go
no not of you
of all that’s been told
killers reinvent and believe
and this leans on me
like a rootless…
so f*** you
and all we’ve been through
i said leave it
it’s nothing to you
and if you hate me
then hate me so good that you can let me out
let me out of this hell when you’re around
let me out…
and f*** you, f*** you, i love you
and all we’ve been through
i said leave it
it’s nothing to you
and if you hate me
then hate me so good that you can let me out
let me out…
it’s hell when you’re around

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10 thoughts on “Music Discussion: Rootless Tree by Damien Rice

  1. rob says:

    megan, your circumstances probably wouldn’t warrant language like that. the scenario i’m talking about is not yet to the point where we talk about forgiveness. you can’t forgive someone if you can’t see the sin involved. victims of horrific, repeated sexual and physical abuse are so marred by the sin against them that they often cannot see how they’ve been sinned against, they often cannot see past their own shame, fear, and self loathing. they blame themselves when there is real evil that needs to be blamed. when someone like this gets to the point where they can experience other centered anger towards their abuser then they might be able to move towards forgiveness otherwise they’ll make excuses for their abuser or they’ll say something like, “if i hadn’t done …. then he wouldn’t have …” and if that’s where you are it’s not forgiveness. forgiveness looks the sinner clearly in the eye and says, “you’ve wronged me, what you did was evil” (all sin is evil, no matter how small)”yet i can forgive you, not because I’m lessening what you did in any way but because i too have been forgiven.”
    the problem here, which i hear in your response, is that we want an answer that applies to all circumstances, we want all our morals to be clear cut like the 10 commandments, but they’re not, life requires wisdom, biblical wisdom that will allow us to navigate these tricky waters.
    the good news is that God promises to give it to us, Jam 1:5

    Like

  2. travis says:

    Jen,
    First, let me say that I think it’s great that you are willing to have this discussion. Many who hold the same conclusions as you would just write off anyone with a differing opinion so I greatly respect your respectfulness when it comes to interacting with this different opinion.
    Second, I think you’re approach to your daughter’s music is a good start. So many parents today are removed from their children’s lives and especially their listening choices that I think your commitment to be involved is awesome.
    However, I do think that by itself the exercise you described above of printing off and reading lyrics isn’t enough. If it’s all that you do with the music then I don’t think you’ve been truly discerning. The fact that beat and musical style aren’t an issue for you would be my first area of concern. The actual music of a song is a very powerful communicative tool and often is the means by which a particular message gets embedded in our heads. I would encourage you, top of having your daughter print off the lyrics, to actually sit down and listen to the song. Oftentimes detached lyrics fail to convey the true message of a song because they are decontextualized which makes it harder to pick up authorial intent.
    As to your question, “I’m not sure if I agree that there is biblical precedent to say something like F you. I’d be interested to see scripture that supports that assertion.” Please note that I never said that the Bible uses the equivalent of the F-bomb.
    Here’s what I said: “if we had more literal translations of several passages in scripture we’d find that many biblical use crude, coarse, and shocking language when appropriate.”
    I was simply saying that at times the Bible uses what many modern evangelicals would consider inappropriate and coarse language. The example I listed above is the perfect example. An extremely literal translation of Phil 3:8 would go something like this, “I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as s**t, in order that I may gain Christ.” You also have in the Song of Songs poetically explicit descriptions of sex acts and sexuality in general. In confronting idolatry one fo the prophets graphically describes the women of Israel as lusting after the genitals of a bull. Many parts of the Old Testament including the Psalms which were used in worship are graphically and explicitly violent. Psalm 58:10 for example praises God in the hopes that he will bathe his feet in the blood of wicked people. Even some of our most cherished evangelical verses are crude. If you do a study of Isaiah 64:6 you may be shocked to find out just what the prophet is alluding to when he compares our righteous acts with filthy rags or polluted garments.
    At the end of the day I’m not advocating a particular type of language or a specific word. I’m not saying, “Go talk like this.” Rather, I simply saying that we are often more linguistically conservative and reserved (and dare I say prude) than Scripture itself. And if Scripture is God’s words then it’s safe to say that God doesn’t always use church language.
    Sorry for the ramble (and sorry for hijacking the original discussion Meagan).

    Like

  3. Bethany says:

    I haven’t listened to “9” nearly as much as “O,” but I will say that I’ve never liked this song much, since the first time I heard it. It just seems immature in comparison to most of his other songs – songwriting-wise, I mean.

    Like

  4. kateortiz says:

    as with claudia, 9 had to grow on me. i liked “rootless tree” right away, though. the verses pose such a contrast, musically and lyrically, to the chorus. that contrast is abrupt and shocking. and i believe it is shocking regardless if that word is part of your vocab or not. he sets it up that way and i think wants us to be taken off-guard.

    Like

  5. Denis Haack says:

    Listening to music always reminds me, as does visiting Best Buy, that we live in a pluralistic world. Whether it’s the ever-growing assortment of stuff on sale or the ever-wider variety of ways and words we can use to express ourselves, the choices seem to proliferate without much regard to what I happen to think best. I hear raw pain in this song, pain that wrenches strong words and striking chords from heart and imagination to make plain.
    I am impressed and interested in what Claudia wrote: “I am drawn to music that helps me feel and struggle. I like angst. I like to feel that I am in a dirty bar with a cigarette and a drink. I like to feel raw-that every ounce in me want to scream out this chorus.” And I’d like to hear more.
    Perhaps this isn’t what you mean, and I certainly don’t want to presume–but I share a deep need to name the brokenness of this world. Just this week I read a story in the NY Times about 3 suicides on Nantucket, a small (population 4000) island community, all three high school students. My sister lives on the island and I emailed her–this is the painful stuff of reality that I can’t afford to withdraw into a gated community (whether real or metaphorical) to ignore.
    Rice is speaking of a relationship, a breakup. As a Christian I believe we were made for relationships, and are lost in the cosmos (to use novelist Walker Percy’s wonderful phrase) until we find one that will not walk away. I hadn’t heard this song until today (though I have and like O a great deal), but I would guess he used this language here, and not in other songs, because this song touches on something so deep, so raw, so in touch with the deepest longings of his heart, that no other word would do.
    What I also like is that this song, to me, signals Rice’s determination to name his struggle without yielding to the easy options of either sentimentality or cynicism. May I be that courageous.
    Thanks for the song choice, Claudia.

    Like

  6. rob says:

    megan, your circumstances probably wouldn’t warrant language like that. the scenario i’m talking about is not yet to the point where we talk about forgiveness. you can’t forgive someone if you can’t see the sin involved. victims of horrific, repeated sexual and physical abuse are so marred by the sin against them that they often cannot see how they’ve been sinned against, they often cannot see past their own shame, fear, and self loathing. they blame themselves when there is real evil that needs to be blamed. when someone like this gets to the point where they can experience other centered anger towards their abuser then they might be able to move towards forgiveness otherwise they’ll make excuses for their abuser or they’ll say something like, “if i hadn’t done …. then he wouldn’t have …” and if that’s where you are it’s not forgiveness. forgiveness looks the sinner clearly in the eye and says, “you’ve wronged me, what you did was evil” (all sin is evil, no matter how small)”yet i can forgive you, not because I’m lessening what you did in any way but because i too have been forgiven.”
    the problem here, which i hear in your response, is that we want an answer that applies to all circumstances, we want all our morals to be clear cut like the 10 commandments, but they’re not, life requires wisdom, biblical wisdom that will allow us to navigate these tricky waters.
    the good news is that God promises to give it to us, Jam 1:5

    Like

  7. travis says:

    Jen,
    First, let me say that I think it’s great that you are willing to have this discussion. Many who hold the same conclusions as you would just write off anyone with a differing opinion so I greatly respect your respectfulness when it comes to interacting with this different opinion.
    Second, I think you’re approach to your daughter’s music is a good start. So many parents today are removed from their children’s lives and especially their listening choices that I think your commitment to be involved is awesome.
    However, I do think that by itself the exercise you described above of printing off and reading lyrics isn’t enough. If it’s all that you do with the music then I don’t think you’ve been truly discerning. The fact that beat and musical style aren’t an issue for you would be my first area of concern. The actual music of a song is a very powerful communicative tool and often is the means by which a particular message gets embedded in our heads. I would encourage you, top of having your daughter print off the lyrics, to actually sit down and listen to the song. Oftentimes detached lyrics fail to convey the true message of a song because they are decontextualized which makes it harder to pick up authorial intent.
    As to your question, “I’m not sure if I agree that there is biblical precedent to say something like F you. I’d be interested to see scripture that supports that assertion.” Please note that I never said that the Bible uses the equivalent of the F-bomb.
    Here’s what I said: “if we had more literal translations of several passages in scripture we’d find that many biblical use crude, coarse, and shocking language when appropriate.”
    I was simply saying that at times the Bible uses what many modern evangelicals would consider inappropriate and coarse language. The example I listed above is the perfect example. An extremely literal translation of Phil 3:8 would go something like this, “I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as s**t, in order that I may gain Christ.” You also have in the Song of Songs poetically explicit descriptions of sex acts and sexuality in general. In confronting idolatry one fo the prophets graphically describes the women of Israel as lusting after the genitals of a bull. Many parts of the Old Testament including the Psalms which were used in worship are graphically and explicitly violent. Psalm 58:10 for example praises God in the hopes that he will bathe his feet in the blood of wicked people. Even some of our most cherished evangelical verses are crude. If you do a study of Isaiah 64:6 you may be shocked to find out just what the prophet is alluding to when he compares our righteous acts with filthy rags or polluted garments.
    At the end of the day I’m not advocating a particular type of language or a specific word. I’m not saying, “Go talk like this.” Rather, I simply saying that we are often more linguistically conservative and reserved (and dare I say prude) than Scripture itself. And if Scripture is God’s words then it’s safe to say that God doesn’t always use church language.
    Sorry for the ramble (and sorry for hijacking the original discussion Meagan).

    Like

  8. Bethany says:

    I haven’t listened to “9” nearly as much as “O,” but I will say that I’ve never liked this song much, since the first time I heard it. It just seems immature in comparison to most of his other songs – songwriting-wise, I mean.

    Like

  9. kateortiz says:

    as with claudia, 9 had to grow on me. i liked “rootless tree” right away, though. the verses pose such a contrast, musically and lyrically, to the chorus. that contrast is abrupt and shocking. and i believe it is shocking regardless if that word is part of your vocab or not. he sets it up that way and i think wants us to be taken off-guard.

    Like

  10. Denis Haack says:

    Listening to music always reminds me, as does visiting Best Buy, that we live in a pluralistic world. Whether it’s the ever-growing assortment of stuff on sale or the ever-wider variety of ways and words we can use to express ourselves, the choices seem to proliferate without much regard to what I happen to think best. I hear raw pain in this song, pain that wrenches strong words and striking chords from heart and imagination to make plain.
    I am impressed and interested in what Claudia wrote: “I am drawn to music that helps me feel and struggle. I like angst. I like to feel that I am in a dirty bar with a cigarette and a drink. I like to feel raw-that every ounce in me want to scream out this chorus.” And I’d like to hear more.
    Perhaps this isn’t what you mean, and I certainly don’t want to presume–but I share a deep need to name the brokenness of this world. Just this week I read a story in the NY Times about 3 suicides on Nantucket, a small (population 4000) island community, all three high school students. My sister lives on the island and I emailed her–this is the painful stuff of reality that I can’t afford to withdraw into a gated community (whether real or metaphorical) to ignore.
    Rice is speaking of a relationship, a breakup. As a Christian I believe we were made for relationships, and are lost in the cosmos (to use novelist Walker Percy’s wonderful phrase) until we find one that will not walk away. I hadn’t heard this song until today (though I have and like O a great deal), but I would guess he used this language here, and not in other songs, because this song touches on something so deep, so raw, so in touch with the deepest longings of his heart, that no other word would do.
    What I also like is that this song, to me, signals Rice’s determination to name his struggle without yielding to the easy options of either sentimentality or cynicism. May I be that courageous.
    Thanks for the song choice, Claudia.

    Like

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