I discovered the European rock band Muse when I heard they were opening for U2 on their 2009 tour (Kelly and I saw the concert in Atlanta). Popular with teens and twenty-somethings (one of their songs was on the first Twilight movie soundtrack), they are one of the most successful new bands of the decade (some videos on YouTube have millions of views). Once you listen to them for awhile, you start hearing their music everywhere: background music at NBA games, intro music to college football games on TV, etc. Their biggest hit is “Starlight” – off their 2006 album Black Holes and Revelations. I love the song and have thought a lot about its meaning. Here’s are some of the key lyrics followed by my analysis.
I will be chasing your starlight
Until the end of my life
I don’t know if it’s worth it anymore
I’ll never let you go
If you promise not to fade away, never fade away
Our hopes and expectations
Black holes & revelations
Hold you in my arms
I just wanted to hold you in my arms
It’s clearly a relationship/love song in which “starlight” represents the glory of another person – the radiant beauty that attracts us to them. This glory holds great promise (“hopes and expectations”) for it seems to be pure and constant like starlight. Yet, paradoxically, starlight is also ephemeral, fleeting. Stars are always there, but their light eludes us. We long for it deeply, but cannot hold on to it. Unlike starlight, the glory people possess fades away. Thus, relationships always come with the risk of disappointment, dissatisfaction, and pain, for the people we love, or the qualities about them we love, tend to fade away. We want the glory of the person we love to last forever, but fading glory is inevitable, and so we cry desperately, “I’ll never let you go if you promise not to fade away.” These “hopes and expectations” are not only left unfilled by the “black holes” of decay and finally death, but by “revelations” – the unlovely, inglorious dimensions of our being that we reveal to a person as intimacy increases. As we see both the beauty and the mess of a person’s soul, we start to realize that their beauty is not pure like starlight after all, and our hopes are dashed.
Scripture explains this vain, insatiable longing for glory. People were made to reflect the glory of God (2 Corinthians 10:31), which is permanent and stable like starlight. Yet all of us have failed to do this, instead seeking to exalt ourselves and radiate our own glory. The problem is that our glory fades: “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them (Isaiah 40:6-7).” Weak in our own glory we look to fill ourselves with glory from other things: relationships, precious jewels, accomplishments. Yet all finite things, by nature, possess glory that is fading with time, and thus disappoint. The only glory that will not fade away is the glory of God: “May the glory of the LORD endure forever;
may the LORD rejoice in his works (Psalm 104:30-32).”
This “starlight” that does not fade fills our souls when God makes “his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” When we see the glory of God’s justice and grace, wrath and love, reflected in the person of Christ, our purpose of reflecting God’s glory is restored and we have the sure promise of a love that will not fade away.
If you know this song, please add to my analysis. If you don’t watch and listen below and comment!