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Pick Up The Bones (Brutal Planet, 2000)

“Pick Up The Bones” Lyrics:

Collecting pieces of my family
In an old pillow case
This one has a skull

But it don’t have a face
These look like the arms of father so strong
And the ring on this finger

Means my Grandma is gone
Here’s some legs in a cloud
Where my sister once played

Here’s some mud made of blood
And these teeth are decayed
The ear of my brother

The hand of a friend
And I just can’t
Put them back together again

Pick up the bones
And set them on fire
Follow the smoke going higher and higher
Pick up the bones
And wish them goodnight
Pray them a prayer and turn out the light

There are stains on the floor
Where kitchen once stood
There are ribs on the fire place
Mixed with the wood

There are forces in the air
Ghosts in the wind
Some bullets in the back
And some scars on the skin

There were demons with guns
Who marched through this place
Killing everything that breathed
They’re an inhuman race

There are holes in the walls
Bloody hair on the bricks
And the smell of this hell
Is making me sick

Pick up the bones
And set them on fire
Follow the smoke going higher and higher
Pick up the bones
And wish them goodnight
Pray them a prayer and turn out the light

Pick up the bones
And set them on fire
Follow the scope going higher and higher
Pick up the bones
And wish them goodnight
Pray them a prayer and turn out the light

Now maybe someday
The suns gonna shine
Flowers will bloom
And all will be fine

But nothing will grow
On this burnt cursive ground
Cuz the breathe of the death
Is the only sound

This week we again revisit the ‘Brutal Planet’ LP, released in 2000. As mentioned before, this is one of our favorite albums. The honest approach to the world’s most poignant issues is delivered with a barrage of industrial Metal. Simultaneously, the concept and music combine to deliver one of Alice’s darker albums (which reveals so many hard truths).

Pick Up The Bones” is this week’s focus and lines up perfectly with so much of what is going on in the world. This song was written at a time when more than 72 wars or altercations were taking place in the world, and genocide was at an all-time high.

“Pick Up The Bones” was written basically about; I was watching CNN while I was doing an interview, and I’m literally sitting here watching a guy, with the sound down. He’s got a pillowcase, and he’s going through all these ruins, and he’s picking up ribcages, skulls, and he was basically coming back to his village and collecting his family. I just went, “That is the most horrific thing I’ve ever seen in my life.” – Alice Cooper

Can anyone living in a civilized nation (with little violence in comparison) ever really understand anything like that? Can you even imagine such a scenario? Gruesome, raw, and to the point, “Pick Up The Bones” paints a vivid image of just how cruel this life can be.

Collecting pieces of my family
In an old pillowcase
This one has a skull

But it don’t have a face
These look like the arms of my father, so strong
And the ring on this finger

Means my Grandma is gone
Here’s some legs in a cloud
Where my sister once played

Here’s some mud made of blood
And these teeth are decayed
The ear of my brother

The hand of a friend
And I just can’t
Put them back together again

Pick up the bones
And set them on fire
Follow the smoke going higher and higher
Pick up the bones
And wish them goodnight
Pray them a prayer and turn out the light

The lyrics are powerful – this song has so much to say. There are so many meanings and proverbial messages found within these lines. In this post, we will be focusing on three of those themes. They are as follows: 1) Warfare, 2) Family Dysfunction, and 3) A Call for Unity.

Warfare.
The song screams of warfare. It’s obvious; the narrative points to a significant amount of destruction, leaving nothing but death – a wasteland of shattered bodies and debris. This violent altercation has left a family in ruins. The lyrics horrifically point to the casualties of war.

“There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.” – Hosea 4:2

The lyrics combined with this verse rain down like a ton of bricks on humanity’s heart and soul. Hosea had witnessed two assassinations for Israel’s throne, and King Menahem also destroyed an entire city because it refused to accept him as king (2 Kings 15:8-16).

In these verses, God shows us that man’s hunger to rule and thirst for power can lead to careless destruction, murder, and chaos. Only through HIS guidance and wisdom do we find good leadership examples – leadership through love, acceptance, peace, and humility.

Humanity, alone, repeatedly proves incapable of ruling or leading appropriately. Freedom and authority come from HIM, not our fellow man. As the nations rage, blessed are those that take refuge in HIM (Psalm 2).

Family Dysfunction.
We know Alice intends for the listener to focus mostly on the horrific storyline as he portrays the events he saw in the news. However, we also find another narrative within the song as well.

Stop and think about family interactions for a moment. How many families have been ripped apart, not by violence or death, but instead by their words? Do these lyrics also point to that? In them, can you also see a family torn apart and destroyed by a “non-violent” altercation?

Words can be weapons. They can devastate those that give and receive them. Lies, rumors, and slanderous stories are all forms of warfare.

Gossip – information picked up through the ‘grapevine’ that slithers its way into the dynamics of a family, friendships, and relationships – is a form of murder. It kills and destroys the mind, heart, and soul. Families, communities, and entire bodies of people wind up demonized and attacked because of the actions, inaction, or reactions of those directly and indirectly involved in the original altercation.

“Love is patient; love is kind. It does not envy; it does not boast; it is not proud. It does not dishonor others; it is not self-seeking; it is not easily angered; it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”1 Corinthians 13:4-7

We must instead choose LOVE. We must NOT be so quick to judge (Matthew 7:1-5) We must NOT be so quick to react (James 1:19-20). And we must NOT give way to misinformation (Colossians 3:8). Instead, we should focus on the Love of our Lord, reciting those verses from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 in our mind and let them reside in our conscience.

We must then work towards communicating our frustrations and problems with one another, focusing instead on reparations rather than division and destruction. Words can be weapons, but they can also bring peace and healing.

A Call for Unity.
We also see these lyrics from one other narrative as well – The Body of Christ. In many ways, the body is shattered, dismembered, and walking separately. We have become so caught up in doctrines, creeds, laws, and opinions on how it ‘should be done’ that we’ve missed out on the bigger picture.

The simple fact that Christ’s blood was spilled and poured out for all humanity covered those things listed above. His resurrection and Spirit bring Freedom, NOT Bondage. Use the lyrics of this song to visualize the Body of Believers.

There are 206 bones in the human body. The smallest bone, the ossicles, comprises three parts and is found in the inner ear, while the largest bone, the femur, is the thighbone and connects your leg to your hips. What’s interesting about these two bones is their functions.

Without the ossicles, we would not be able to hear correctly, and without the femur, we could not walk. In a nutshell, the body requires these bones (although entirely different) to work correctly and in their proper position. Thus, allowing the body to function as created. The Body of Christ operates the same way.

“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ, we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to a1ll the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” – Romans 12:4-8

Our God has given each of us specific abilities, gifts, and strengths to be used together as ONE moving body. We should cherish that, knowing that each of us, as a body, need one another, and by working together as ONE, we may show and share with the world what it means to be valued and favored by our Lord (1 Corinthians 12:15-26).

What does that mean? It means it is TIME to put away our differences -embracing and accepting them instead. We should embrace all races and embrace all denominations and theologies that place Jesus Christ at the cornerstone of their faith.

Embrace the white-collared worker, the blue-collared worker, the unemployed, and the disabled. Embrace the men and women who do and don’t have tattoos, piercings, and colored hair. Embrace the country folk and city slickers alike. Embrace the educated and uneducated. Embrace those with different ideologies. Embrace the FULL Body of Christ.

If we don’t unite, we will be ‘picking up the bones’ of Christianity and wondering what happened to our Faith. Jesus’s words in Matthew 12:22-28 were unambiguous, “…Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand…

It’s time for all Christians to unite against the enemy. Against his lies. Against hate. It’s time for us to lay aside our differences and unify together amidst His Love.

Wrapping up this week’s post, we have been called to unity. The enemy wants nothing more than to “tear us apart.” Not just within our personal lives but even more so as a body. Stop and think about what the church and Christianity would look like if we set aside what divides us – instead, lifting Him up together, the one that unites us.

One body working together to shelter and accept the abandoned. One body working together to heal the sick. One body working together to feed the hungry. One body working together to clothe the naked. One body working together to bring the Love of Christ to ALL peoples and ALL nations. (Philippians 2:1-5). AMEN.

If we, as Christians, would work together in UNITY to correct society’s wrongs (i.e., providing shelter, food, medicine, clothes, etc.), would we even need words to preach the Gospel? Or would Christ’s Spirit radiate off of us just enough for others around us to see and want to know Him themselves? Something for us to think about as we continue to walk with Him (and each other).

In conclusion, Alice admits this album is dark and concludes that he’s most likely just singing about what everyone thinks is coming.

“I wanted to write something that was very apocalyptic. I wanted to write something that we all know is coming, but we don’t want to say it. It is fiction, but maybe not so much fiction.” – Alice Cooper

May God grant us the strength, guidance, and wisdom to endure what lies ahead, and may we further strive to unite and walk together within the confines of His Love. The planet may be a “spinning ball of hate,” but it has been offered the redemption of His Love. As an inhabitant of this world, which have you chosen – Love or Hate?

That’s it for this week – be well and catch you next week.

Until then, Keep Walkin’ in Faith and Rockin’ with Alice!

Have you accepted Christ as your Savior?

If you would like to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, please pray the following prayer:

"God, I believe in you and your son Jesus Christ.  I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save me. Today, I invite Jesus into my heart to stay.  I make you Lord over my life. Make me new. Wash me, Lord, and cleanse me. In Jesus Name, Amen"

If you have just prayed that prayer, we want to celebrate your new victory with you.  Please contact us at prayers@oceanfloorministries.com so we can welcome you into the kingdom.  We don't want you to have to walk alone and we have some resources we would like the opportunity to share with you.

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