WARNING: Video contains violent imagery which may be inappropriate for children.
Fall Out Boy currently have the number 10 song in America with their track Centuries which was the first main hit off their new album released last month. It’s an interesting battle cry of a song asking to be remembered. Let’s look at the lyrics (here) and delve into the song as well as it’s theological implications.
The song begins with a bunch of “du’s” to start out. Not much to say on that. This is followed by the chorus which reads, “Some legends are told / Some turn to dust or to gold / But you will remember me / Remember me for centuries / And just one mistake / Is all it will take. / We’ll go down in history / Remember me for centuries / Hey, hey, hey / Remember me for centuries.” First question I have to ask is – why does the singer want to be remembered for centuries and why will we remember them? What is this mistake they will make which will make us remember them through the ages? Normally in a song like this where the singer is asking to be remembered for some reason, I think of arrogance or pride (Proverbs 16:5, Proverbs 26:12, Romans 12:3) – but that does not seem to be the case here. Instead, what the singer is saying is that he will be remembered forever for his failure, his mistake. Just one mistake is all it will take for him to go down in history, he says. Now, the Bible is clear that we are all imperfect, all have sinned (Romans 3:23, 1 John 1:8,10). Does that mean our failures at obeying the Lord will be remembered forever? If we ignore Christ – yes. If we acknowledge Him as Lord and seek His forgiveness, He will remember those mistakes no more (Isaiah 43:25, Hebrews 8:12). Will our mistakes be remembered for a century? Well, they have consequences and impact our children & children’s children (Exodus 34:7), but the Lord will forgive us if we are His. So – both yes and no.
The Bible is also filled with examples of people making poor choices which have been remembered for generations and have had impacts on future generations. Consider the sins of the people during the time of Judges, or the sin of David where he slept with Bathsheba, or the people of Judah falling into cannibalism under King Mattaniah. All have been remembered for generations. Consider the evil of Judas which has been remembered for generations. Yes, your sin will have ripple effects. Yes, it will hurt future generations. Yes, your failures may be remembered for centuries. The question is – do you want that? Or would you rather have your inequity cleaned by the Lord? But, I digress.
They continue singing the first verse, “Mummified my teenage dreams / No, it’s nothing wrong with me / The kids are all wrong / The story’s all off / Heavy metal broke my heart / Come on, come on and let me in / The bruises on your thighs like my fingerprints / And this is supposed to match / The darkness that you felt / I never meant for you to fix yourself.” As I noted before, there is something wrong with him – there’s something wrong with all of us. We are all imperfect, sinful humans based on our own lustful desires which make us further away from the Lord. We fall far short of the glory of God. So yes, there is something wrong with all of us. What he’s saying in this verse is that he’ll be a hero that everyone’s wrong about his imperfection. But, in the end – he is wrong. His imperfection is on display every day. All of ours is on display. Does that mean we will not have an impact on the world around us? Certainly not. Does it mean the Lord can’t use us for His ends? Certainly not.
The second verse begins to borderline on the haughty, as they sing, “And I can’t stop ’til the whole world knows my name / ‘Cause I was only born inside my dreams / Until you die for me, as long as there is a light, my shadow’s over you / ‘Cause I am the opposite of amnesia / And you’re a cherry blossom / You’re about to bloom / You look so pretty, but you’re gone so soon.” I’m awesome, I’m unforgettable, and I won’t stop until they know who I am. Who are they? Everyone. That’s the crux of this verse. But, fame isn’t everything. This is glory seeking, plain and simple. But, who deserves the glory as King of King and Lord of Lords? Jesus (1 Timothy 6:15, Revelation 15:3, Revelation 19:16). Much like Aloe Blacc, Fall Out Boy want to be remembered as “The Man.” But, the glory doesn’t belong to us. When we’re self serving, self seeking – we are seeking a glory which belongs to the Lord. The Lord calls us to be humble (Matthew 23:12, 1 Peter 5:6).
When asked about this song, Pete Wentz said it was about getting back up and that anyone can become a legend. He’s right, but that’s self-seeking. We should not want to be remembered for centuries. We should want the Lord remembered, given the glory, and as time passes the memory they have of us be a memory of how we pointed others to the one who is far greater in every single way.