He’s an award-winning speaker, emcee, writer, and musician, moonlighting as half of the hip-hop duo The Iccsters (pronounced ‘icksters’) and director of worship at Irvington Covenant Church.
June 17th, 2011
Tye Tribbett, Fresh, “Only Help”
So I’m going through some things.
Like, the kind of “going through” that you might hear from one of the saints who’s been around the block a few times and is waiting on the Lord to get their breakthrough… that kind of “going through.”
One of the things I’ve noticed is that when I’m going through something big, or maybe not even anything that’s a super-big deal, but if I’m just in a bad mood or whatever, the music I’m playing tends to fall into one of two camps.
1.) I’m really not doing okay and I want to listen to something languid and full of melancholy and ennui that expresses a measure of the blah feeling that is plaguing me… or,
2.) I’m going to be a grown-up, practice what I preach as a professional Christian and worship-leader-type, and listen to something that will encourage me and/or help me to worship, despite whatever I happen to be feeling.
Many times I’m quite aware that the right thing to do, the thing that will promote the most edification and be the best for me long-term is option number 2, but sometimes I just can’t stand doing option number 2, because sometimes it just feels so doggone FAKE. It’s like, no… I don’t feel like being a happy, shiny, good Christian. My life sucks right now, and *I* suck right now, and I feel like garbage, so I’m not trynna hear all that bless-the-Lord crap.
Into the void comes, “Only Help,” this tune by Tye Tribbett, from his 2010 release, “Fresh.”
I love it because when it starts out, it’s a great confessional tune. Like David the psalmist laying his soul bare before the Lord, Tye holds nothing back:
I can almost tell you each time I’m gonna fall
Devil always paint the same picture, sweet frame and all
I wanna change
And you would think by now I’d catch the scenario
Sorta like a old sitcom playing the same show
I wanna change
I’m listening to this and I’m like yep… that’s me. THAT’S ME. *I* feel that way, yes, thank you. Thank you for voicing these feelings!
But he doesn’t stop there. As a response to his own futility and brokenness, a desperate plea of praise and adoration wafts out…
I lift my hands to You
You’re my only help.
And just like that, Tye Tribbett has done what few songs can do for me… help me to get from where I am, to where I need to be.
What a tremendous gift.
And apart from the emotional and spiritual dimensions to the song, I like how the accompaniment really sets the mood. The verses are sparse, with a few bass notes and a few chords and sound effects scattered about, like hardwritten scribbles in a journal.
But when the chorus comes, the vocals usher in a soft, floating ascent into a different musical space, and even though it’s auto-tuned, it’s anything but cold or antiseptic. And at the end of the tune, the Hammond organ swells and takes over, providing the only accompaniment, and after the vocals fade, it keeps going, like a testament to the rock-solid faith of saints who have gone before and made the same plaintive cry… yes, Jesus, you are our only help.
I had to put that one on repeat for awhile.
(And by the way, if you’re really blessed by this song, don’t just use the first link. Use the second link, too.)
You can listen to Tye Tribbett talk about the song here: