BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#170 - "Dear X, You Don't Own Me" by Disciple
Our Kevin talks with Disciple's Kevin about the latest single from Horseshoes & Handgrenades.
 


The growth shown with each Disciple album instantly is noticeable, but the evolution between their previous trio of projects for INO/Columbia Records and the brand new Horseshoes & Handgrenades is exponential. The Dove Award-winning band honed in on its heavy rock n’ roll roots for several of their most explosive offerings to date, while also exploring the more melodic side of the dial, attracting the previously unfamiliar.

“Every time we write a song, one of our goals is how it will affect somebody, not just the lost, but believers who also need to be encouraged, guided and shepherded,” says lead singer Kevin Young. “I feel like it’s very important for us to be honest in everything that we say and to create art that’s true to who we are to reach people as clearly as possible.”

That very vision weaves its way into the assertive title for the new album, which was originally spotted on a tattoo bearing the saying “close ‘only’ counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.”

“I’d say every other night we meet at least someone who’s dealing with some sort of self-destructive behavior, and one guy in particular said to me, ‘I cut myself because I feel like nobody listens to me or looks at me, so it’s basically my way of saying can you hear me now?’” explains an empathetic Young. “The guy’s feelings were real and he was feeling all alone, but the Word of God says He loves us beyond measure. The song talks about how He’s given us talents and we’re here for a reason to combat and fight those feelings of worthlessness, which are really nothing more than lies.”

The scalding lead single “Dear X, You Don't Own Me” follows suit, coming from the perspective of a person writing an all-encompassing letter to pain, shame, hate and anger. “All of those negative things can chase us, this song says you can chase me all you want, but I’ve moved on,” says Young.

I got the opportunity to interview Kevin Young from Disciple about “Dear X, You Don’t Own Me,” and this is what he shared with me.

Tell us the story behind the song “Dear X, You Don’t Own Me.”

The song has received a lot of response from our fans. We wrote it as if we were writing a letter to the things of our past. I believe the Bible teaches that God wants to have relationship with us. You can see that from even a negative point of view when Jesus says, “Depart from Me; I never knew you.” The positive part of that Scripture is that Jesus wants to know us. We have relationships with the things of our past as well. Jesus describes that as “anyone who sins, is a slave to sin.” Then He says, “who the Son sets free is free indeed.”

The Bible tells us that once we are saved sin doesn’t have any power over us. I hear people say they were saved by grace but they still struggle with sin. The Bible says sin has no more control over us when we are born again, we are a new creation. Sin can’t enslave us or manipulate us anymore. So this song is written to our past, dear pain, dear shame, dear hate and dear anger. We are saying to those things you used to have me, own me, and manipulate me but you don’t own me anymore. When we were recording the song, I said it sounds like we are singing to an ex-girlfriend. Then someone said instead of ex, it could be written to the letter x. That way the song can apply to addictions, or other sins that people want this song to address.

Do you have any Bible verses that go with the message of the song?

Genesis 4:7: If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."

1 Corinthians 6:9-11: Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Hebrews 4:14-16: Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

What do consider to be the take-away message for listeners?

Past sins can stalk us like an ex-girlfriend. Past emotions and things we dealt with just wait and tempt us, like hate and anger. Those sins don’t own us anymore but lie in wait. In the New Testament we know that Jesus conquered sin on our behalf. That Hebrews 4 passage tells us that we can boldly approach God by putting all of our faith and hope in Jesus. “Jesus was tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin.”

We all deal with lies all around us that we need to have a perfect body, lots of money, and popularity. If we believe these lies and put our faith in those things, we’ll always be empty and dissatisfied. I think the best example of that lie is the story of Kurt Cobain of Nirvana. He changed music in such a dramatic way and he had so much power and success. He sold millions of albums, and had tons of power and money. Yet, he killed himself. Even if we reach the apex of what the world has to offer us, it is just a lie. Billionaires all around the world end their own lives because they are in misery. Everything the world offers us is a lie. The Truth we are all looking for is Jesus. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Here are the lyrics:

Dear pain, oh it's been a long time
remember when you were holding me tight
I would stay awake with you all night

Dear shame, I was safe in your arms
you were there when it all fell apart
I would get so lost in your beautiful lies

I let you go, but you're still chasing

Go ahead, you're never gonna take me
you can bend but you're never gonna break me
I was yours, I'm not yours anymore
Oh, you don't own me

Dear hate, I know you're not far
you would wait at the door of my heart
I was amazed at the passion in your cries

Dear anger, you made me so high
you were faithful to show up on time
such a flame that was burning in your eyes

Go ahead, you're never gonna take me
you can bend but you're never gonna break me
I was yours, I'm not yours anymore
Oh, you don't own me

Go ahead put a target on my forehead
you can fire but you've got no bullets
I was yours, I'm not yours anymore
Oh, you don't own me

You're tempting me to look back
But everything that we had together was a lie



Here’s Matthew Henry’s commentary on Hebrews 4:14-16: “We should encourage ourselves by the excellence of our High Priest, to come boldly to the throne of grace. Mercy and grace are the things we want; mercy to pardon all our sins, and grace to purify our souls. Besides our daily dependence upon God for present supplies, there are seasons for which we should provide in our prayers; times of temptation, either by adversity or prosperity, and especially our dying time. We are to come with reverence and godly fear, yet not as if dragged to the seat of justice, but as kindly invited to the mercy-seat, where grace reigns. We have boldness to enter into the holiest only by the blood of Jesus; he is our Advocate, and has purchased all our souls want or can desire.”

This song is one of my favorite rock anthems of the year. I can’t get enough of the musical style and it reminds me of one of my “Dear X” bands of the 1980’s, Def Leppard, which is so poignant. I wasn’t saved as a teenager when I listened to songs that weren’t edifying, with messages filled with promiscuity and self-fulfillment. I can personally assure those who don’t know Jesus that those things will never fulfill or satisfy you. I love how Disciple doesn’t compromise their Christ-filled messages while still belting out culturally relevant rock songs.

Even if you don’t normally listen to hard rock, you really must check out this amazing song and I guarantee you’ll be hooked by the music and Kevin’s passionate vocals. Say goodbye to the vices that have enslaved you in the past and lay them at the feet of Jesus. The Bible tells us that “you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” As we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus, tell sin “Go ahead, you're never gonna take me, you can bend but you're never gonna break me, I was yours, I'm not yours anymore, Oh, you don't own me.” What a great gift, freedom from sin. Share that gift with someone this Christmas.

Here’s a video with Kevin talking about the story behind the song.


Kevin Davis is a long time fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. Kevin also writes reviews for ChristianMusicReview.org. He currently lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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