Changing Arranging (Pretties For You, 1969)
“Changing Arranging” Lyrics:
I’m changing, arranging
Things I never thought I’d move before
I’m changing, arranging
To your personality I asked for it for
I need a soul who’ll never say what I feel
Just fearing that I will accept the ideal
I look up high and I swear all I see
Is a carbon copy image of me
I’m dying, half trying
Baby, baby, for the rest of my life
I’m trying and dying
Maybe, maybe`s tryin’ be my life
I fight a never ending battle inside
Just trying to rectify my personal pride
I swear I don’t know what it’s got over me
But I know it doesn’t want to be free
“Pretties For You,” the Alice Cooper Group (ACG) debut album, was released in 1969. After ACG moves to L.A., they are introduced to Frank Zappa, producer and co-founder of Straight Records. With minimal direction, the band records the album and Zappa uses Edward Beardsley’s painting entitled Pretties for You as the cover art. The music on the record is loosely compared to the Beatles and is also laced with psychedelic undertones. The finished product is a bizarre composition of highs and lows and fails to produce any hits or memorable tracks. However, this album (and the next) coupled with the band’s stage antics, will have just enough gravitas to catch the eyes and ears of Warner Bros. executives. This would ultimately lead the group to the next chapter in their history.
Oddly enough, the album resembles the book of Psalms – the highlights and struggles of David which parallel the ups and downs of our walk with the Lord as well. The peaks and valleys of our lives so to speak. For instance, there are places on the album where the band gels (representing glimpses of what they would later become on future records), yet in other areas, they struggle to find their stride. As if pure chaos erupts and shatters what was shaping up to be a well-defined song. Isn’t our life like that at times? We are moving forward with no care or worries…everything is fine. Then, BANG! It all just sort of falls apart, back into a state of confusion. Luckily, there is a plan.
There are many intriguing songs on the album. The most notable ones are: “Titanic Overture,” “Today Mueller,” “Living,” “Fields of Regret,” and “Reflected.” (NOTE: “Reflected” would later be used as the basis for the hit song “Elected” found on the “Billion Dollar Babies” album released in 1973). In this post, we will be focusing on the final track from the album. “Changing Arranging” is one of the stronger songs both lyrically and instrumentally. It’s short, to the point and without too much deviation from the initial melody. It fits perfectly. With the band now living in California, they find themselves in the middle of change – “arranging things (they) never thought (they’d) move before.” While the overall message of the song may seem vague, it’s obvious the band knows things are moving in new and different directions – observing things they’ve never seen or experienced before. Times are “changing.”
A life walked with Christ is full of transition and change. It can be quite a roller coaster. As mentioned in previous posts, it would seem that life is filled with seasons or stages before, during, and after a storm. The calm before, intensity during, and repercussions after the rains change our lives. However, we have to decide how we are altered and influenced by such events. It’s during these moments that our faith can be challenged, strengthened, or lost. Instead of fearing these events and occurrences, we must learn to know that He has a plan. We must understand that there is a reason for everything that happens in this world (Ecclesiastes 3:1-15). Often, we are frustrated with the timeline of our lives, yet hindsight frequently depicts the reasoning behind such things – His reasoning. It reveals the thought process behind where, what, and why things transpired as they did.
There are some key elements to think about when looking at “change.” Perspectives that help us look at life and its events with a broader lens as those circumstances arise. The following paragraphs will touch on those things and offer scriptural reference to them.
First, we must know that God doesn’t change. Hebrews 13:8 states, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Conversely, humans are ever-changing…governments, styles, music, fads, etc. are consistently “evolving” and “changing” (sometimes overnight). However, the Truth remains the same. The Word of our Lord endures. He has been, is today, and will forever be the answer for tomorrow’s questions and concerns. We must fix our eyes on Him. It can become confusing to witness and process the unrest we see in our own lives, and in the lives of those around the world. But we must know that His Word is constant, and so are his promises. In a “changing” world, we must learn to trust our “unchanging” Lord.
Secondly, we must not get discouraged when things don’t happen according to our timing or motivation. 2 Peter 3:9 reads, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Isn’t that mind-blowing? Stop and give that some thought. How many times do you cry out wondering, “God, isn’t it about time?” or “Lord, I don’t know what’s keeping you from moving or showing up but now would be a good time.” How often do we “think” we know how the timing of things should come to pass? It turns out; He’s often waiting on us, waiting for us to “change” our hearts or our perspectives on life. Waiting for us to say, not my will but Yours be done (Luke 22:42). We must know that He is our Father. He knows what’s best for us. He seeks to make our lives more prosperous and more fulfilling through Him. We must remember these things when we feel like His timing doesn’t match ours. Instead of expecting Him to move, we should work on preparing ourselves for the day when He does move.
Finally, we must be willing to release all fears and anxieties to Him. Jeremiah 29:11 affirms, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Why do we worry? Why do we care about tomorrow? If we truly believe in Him and His Word, then we must know that He has our best interest in mind, right? When we reach that point, that’s when things start to change. When we read verses like Psalm 9:10 and comprehend that He will never forsake those that seek Him, we begin to find our paths straighten. We start to notice that submission to Him and His Ways will not always be understood (especially not during periods of unrest or heartache), but it will still offer up the best solutions to life’s challenges and hurdles. Such devotion will shape us, guide us, and mold us into better people (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Wrapping this up, “change” will always be present in our lives. Some change is good, some not so good, but we must find a way to navigate the “storms” of our lives. We must not lose sight of Him during the darker moments. We must remember that His promises will never change. His timing is perfect. And that He has a plan for us all. The best way to pass through the tougher moments is by finding an anchor. By allowing Him to be your Rock, your Fortress, and your Deliverer…your Refuge. (Psalm 18:2). Doing so will enable you to find comfort and strength in some of the most unlikely places, people, and circumstances in your life.
In conclusion, “Pretties For You” was the beginning of the journey for ACG. Although the band had already been playing together for a few years, this was the turning point. The “we’ve got a chance to prove ourselves” moment. It would prove to be effective. The mystique and intrigue surrounding them would force Warner Bros. to investigate them further. Sending out young, inexperienced Bob Ezrin, he and the band would soon gain worldwide notoriety with a stage show and songs that would literally “change” and ultimately create a new genre in Rock ‘n’ Roll. Much like our walks with Christ, success comes with stamina. Vigor. Strength. Endurance. The willingness to take what you’ve learned and refined the things that didn’t work. In music, that means “changing” and “arranging” lyrics, notes, sections, beats, etc. In our walk with Christ, it means “changing” and “arranging” our priorities. It means we do our best to apply His Word to our ways. That’s it for this week. Be well and catch you next Friday.
Keep walkin’ in Faith and rockin’ with Alice!
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"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"
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