Monday, April 18, 2011

The Flood by Take That

Every once in a while a song introduces a viewpoint on life that I’ve never considered.

I’m not going to claim that the subject of “The Flood” by Take That is completely original, who knows where they came up with this idea for this song. Regardless this song and video had an immediate impact on me commenting on our perception of our own lives and others.

Robbie Williams one of the biggest pop starts on the planet started as a member of Take That, a British boy band. Probably their most famous song was “Back For Good” which was released in 1993.

Recently Take That reunited as a five piece group for the first time in 15 years to record an album, Progress and released the lead single “The Flood” last November.

After listening to “The Flood,” I was comforted to hear the similar pop production and melodies that I was used to from Take That’s earlier days but what surprised me were the lyrics.  These words aren’t the normal sappy boy band schlock. There’s something deeper going on here.

I listened to this song over and over and I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was so interesting about this song. The lyrics are reminiscent, talking about other people not understanding what they were trying to do. There is a sense that Take That is  misunderstood as others critcized them saying “we’d never dance again.”

The music video illuminates the meaning of the song showing a crew race which Take That looses.  During the race everyone thought that Take That’s goal was the end of the race but as they keep on rowing beyond the finish line, we realize our own perceptions of Take That.

Often we look at other people and see them work towards goals and we think we understand where they are going, but rarely do we understand their true goals. In the same way, people often do not understand what is most important in our lives.

This instant we feel as we truly understand someone’s goals and their views on life we doom ourselves to misunderstanding them. We never truly “get” people and if we allow ourselves to feel like we do then we stop engaging them, stop trying to get to know them and loose the sense of wonder, interest and fascination that makes human contact meaningful.

We struggle everyday to make ourselves understood and sometimes it’s easier to define ourselves through short-term concrete goals like getting a pay raise or running a marathon. When we do this, we limit people’s understanding of who we are and who we want to become. Be brave. Tell people where you really are trying to go to, and if you’re not sure, tell them that as well.

None of us are simply trying to get to the end of race. There’s always something beyond. What’s ahead of us is uncertain, sometimes it’s scary, but it’s full of possibility and excitement.

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