- Adam Lorenz
Daniel Powter, Crazytown, The Cardigans, The Polyphonic Spree, Verve Pipe, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.
What do these artists all have in common?
For many of them, they are known as one-hit wonders. For others they were unable to attain the same success as their first album, otherwise known as the dreaded ‘sophomore slump’. A friend once explained it as these artists losing their ‘edge’. They had finally arrived and unlike with their first release, they did not have to earn the privilege of getting their music heard through grueling months or years of touring. To no fault of their own, all the hard work had paid off but at the expense of some thing.
There is some thing about the pouring out of our blood, sweat, and tears, our time and talents fully into some thing. In the struggle we find meaning and we find ourselves. Our lives mirror the one-hit wonder, we are in the midst of the struggle to be heard, seen, and known.
The question will always be: Are we willing to engage the hard work of living a life of meaning where we may never get to see the world’s response to our one and only album? Are we willing to do this even though we might only have one track of our lives even heard during our lives?
That reality is hard to swallow.
If we are able embrace the posture of striving daily to remember our place in this great anthology, we then fully join with the chorus voices helping to bring forth some thing greater. We echo individuals like Martin Luther King, Jr. in seeing the larger story of what all of life is going towards when he said:
Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!
Dr. King knew that no matter how far he was privileged to see things unfold, even he was limited. He saw where it was all headed – this promised land. A place where the vast and eclectic mix of voices would live harmoniously. He dedicated and ultimately gave his life, his one album, to this reality. His words challenge and encourage to us to find ourselves as part of the larger catalog of albums – that though we are individual artists, it is the full collection of humanity together that allows us to step into what’s next.
So may we be willing to be humbled and to embrace the hard work of creating an album worthy to be heard for the world is longing to listening.
Adam Lorenz is a rider, a thinker, and a lifer. His passion and belief in the power of young people has led him to work with high school and emerging adults for the past 8 years and is currently serving as the Youth Minister at Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids, MI. He is nearing the completion of his Master of Divinity at Western Theological Seminary and writes at www.adamlorenz.net. Follow his daily thoughts on Twitter at @adamlorenz.