The Music of Kelly Van Shaar

The One To Tell You

~ rock, electric guitar, religious ~ 2011-05-12


All of us at one time or another in life have probably used the phrase, "Sorry that I have to be the one to tell you." It's usually the start of an uncomfortable (and sometimes dangerous) conversation.

Lyrics

VERSE 1
Jonah was a happy guy, living out his happy life,
Preaching goodness to good people; no one ever got annoyed
Then he heard a voice that said, "You must go to Nineveh
And tell them if they don't repent that they will be destroyed."

Well Jonah took off in the wrong direction
But a whale gave some essential course correction
Soon he was smellin kinda fishy there on Nineveh's shore.
And he heard that voice again, saying "Do like I told ya before."

So Jonah dragged his feet off into town,
And cried, "Straiten up, or it's all coming down!"
And then he looked around at their icy stares
And said, "I don't mean it... I really don't care."

So he left the town and went up on the hill
He watched for their destruction and he thought he'd get his fill
In the shadow of a gourd, feeling angry, hot and bored,
He said, "That's what you're gonna get for not listening my word."

CHORUS
Sorry that I have to be the one to tell ya
Tell ya that I'm sorry that I have to be the one
It ain't too much fun to have to be the one to tell ya
So I'll tell you that I'm sorry but I have to be the one.

VERSE 2

Abinadi stood tall and strong in King Noah's court
And laid down the law 'til their tempers got short
"Like a garment in a furnace, your life has no worth
And you will be wiped off the face of the Earth.

"How can you pretend to teach this people
And yet you know nothing but how to do evil?"
The guards tried to take him and make him be quiet
He had them so mad they were ready to riot

He said, "It's plain to see that you're angry with me
When I have done nothing but speak to you truthfully.
But don't try to touch me 'til I'm done with my speech
Of you'll find that your survival is just out of reach

And after I've spoken and said all the rest
You can tie me and fry me if you think it's best
But I have one more prophecy, bound to come true:
What you do unto me will be done unto you"

CHORUS

And I'm sorry that I have to be the one to tell ya...


VERSE 3

Samuel stood on the top of the high city wall,
And said, "Repent right now or this city will fall.
How long will you scorn all that is good and is kind
And be led around by the foolish and blind?

You spend all your time on your money and clothes
Ignoring the truth that's right under your nose
You are cursed! You will lose all the things that you hold
'Cause your hearts all set on your treasures and gold

You have looked all your lives for what you couldn't get:
To be happy with sin, and it hasn't worked yet
Now, I've told you just what the angel said,
And you're kicking and screaming and wanting me dead

You're trying to stop me, to chase me, to get me
But you see that your arrows and stones cannot hit me
Now I've said my piece, and I'm out here
Because I'd rather that you do not shoot the messenger."

CHORUS

And I'm sorry that I have to be the one to tell ya...

And I'm sorry that I have to be the one to tell ya...

Notes / Back story

As with many of my songs, the melody came to me as I was thinking the words to the chorus line in my head and notice that they had a rhythmic feel. Then I got to thinking about how that must have been exactly what so many guys in the scriptures were thinking when they were called to preach repentance to the unruly masses. I got the idea for this one back in 2005; a year or two ago I opened the file again and worked on the words, then finally within the last few weeks I got around to recording it.

The things the prophets say in these verses - especially Abinadi and Samuel - are taken as accurately as possible from what is actually recorded. I studied the chapters and then tried to condense them down into just a few lines that fit the rhyme and meter. For instance, Abinadi actually says, "Are you priests, and pretend to teach this people, and to understand the spirit of prophesying, and yet desire to know of me what these things mean? I say unto you, wo be unto you for perverting the ways of the Lord! For if ye understand these things ye have not taught them;" (Mosiah 12:25-26) In my version he says, "How can you pretend to teach this people and yet you know nothing but how to do evil?" Pretty close, I say.

In Samuel's speech, a whole lot of it is about their hearts being set on their worldly possessions, so I applied that general theme to several lines. In another part Samuel says, "...ye have sought all the days of your lives for that which ye could not obtain; and ye have sought for happiness in doing iniquity, which thing is contrary to the nature of that righteousness..." (Book of Mormon, Helaman 13:8) and I modernized that into "You have looked all your lives for what you couldn't get: To be happy with sin, and it hasn't worked yet."


I guess I could go through and tell you exactly which verses inspired many of the other lyric lines, but it would be so much more rewarding to find them for yourself, wouldn't it? (hint hint, nudge nudge)



One more little tidbit for those who have read this far: There are pieces of LDS children's primary songs in the background just before the end of the second and third verses. Can you name them?



References:

Old Testament, Book of Jonah

Book of Mormon, Mosiah Chapters 12 - 16

Book of Mormon, Helaman Chapters 13 - 16

Visitor Comments

KCVS ~ 2012-01-28 09:14:17 ~ I love how you switch between singing and talking but it's still a AWESOME song!

KNVS from United States ~ 2011-11-09 11:11:42 ~ one of the catchiest and funniest songs created in all of history! I love the part when the whale gives some essential course correction. HA!

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