I’m going to make a bombastic statement here, but I think Rex Orange County’s newest single, “Keep It Up” is already a prime candidate for song of the year. I would love the music and lyrics on their own, but the music video takes this song to the next level. It’s so (intentionally) dorky and cheesy. But I actually found myself weeping through my first watching of the video. It really touched a nerve.
The Amsterdam imagery definitely put things over the top. Just seeing the city flag and the tourist tchotchkes and the canals and the coots… It all reminded me of that special place where our family lived during a special time in our lives. But the lyrics of the song are especially on point for some of the things God did in my life during those Amsterdam years:
You no longer owe the strangers… It’s enough… Now I’m here, and I wish that I wasn’t. I’m in a place in front of a dozen people I’ve never met. And I don’t know if this is correct — oh, I guess I’m blessed. I never give myself respect. Most my life I’m asking, “Why?”
Our family’s Amsterdam years were an exercise in establishing identity. Cross-cultural dynamics were certainly a part of that. But even more so, Amsterdam was the place where I learned how to be a leader. I learned that I need to depend on God for His direction, rather than simply trying to please people. And something about this song (and its silly music video) seems to speak to that in a really powerful way. And still, somehow, it makes me want to dance, too. What more could a person want in a song?