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"Feed the Machine" by RED

posted Jun 6, 2011, 5:33 PM by Sarah Brehm   [ updated Jun 8, 2011, 6:57 PM ]

Formed in 2004, RED quickly gained fans with their unique symphonic heavy rock—almost every song incorporates orchestral strings and ethereal voices, giving their music a cinematic feel. Their debut album, End of Silence (2006), and the follow-up, Innocence & Instinct (2009), were each nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Rock Gospel Album. Their third album, Until We Have Faces (2011), which debuted at number 2 on the Billboard charts, is certain to gain RED another nomination (and hopefully a win). “Feed the Machine,” RED’s current single, can be heard on Christian and mainstream radio. With the release of the intense music video today, the song’s popularity will definitely rise.

 

“Feed the Machine” is the perfect song to open Until We Have Faces—the album’s theme is about finding your identity, discovering who you are, and this song details what happens when we choose to conform to the world.

 

Turn around, they might be watching

And you’ll never disappoint them

Hide your innocence before they see right through

You mustn’t disappoint them

 

The opening verse describes a person who is determined to conform. “And you’ll never disappoint them.” Think of the “them” as the world, or as a specific group you want to belong to. This membership, this acceptability is attaining; but you have to “hide your innocence before they see right through.” To conform to the world, you must give up your identity; you must give up who you are.

 

You need the danger just to feel your heart beat

You need to die just to find your identity

You need the knife just to know that you can bleed

You need the pain now just to feel anything

 

When you give up your identity it doesn’t take long for depression to seep in, to have this sense of emptiness fester inside you. Suddenly you don’t know who you are, and “you need the pain now just to feel anything.” You are trapped.

 

We fall in line, we live the lie

Give up, give up and feed the machine

It grows inside, nowhere to hide

Give up, give up and feed the machine

Give up, give up and feed the machine

 

Because we are trapped, “we fall in line.” We don’t see any other way to live. Conforming is like having tunnel vision—all you can see is the path in front of you filled with people all acting the same, all conforming to please each other. There’s nothing else to do but “give up and feed the machine.”

 

They pull you faster, the cadence calling

And you never fall behind

So choose a face, you’re only crawling now

You mustn’t fall behind

 

Again, the desire to conform consumes you, “and you never fall behind.” You’ve given up your identity, and the world continues to pull you down.

 

You need another death just to have a life to save

You need a master just so you can beg

You need a light just because you’re so afraid

Now bow and learn to be a good slave

 

This is the one section I’m not entirely sure how to interpret, however I love the first line: “You need another death just to have a life to save.” When we are baptized into Christ, we are “dying” to the world. So this line, in my opinion, means just that—you are so lost in conformity that it’s time to die to the world, so your life can be saved! The other three lines explain how you’re so afraid that you “master” and a “light” but you’re looking at the wrong place, you’re still attached to following the world.

 

We fall in line, we live the lie

Give up, give up and feed the machine

It grows inside, nowhere to hide

Give up, give up and feed the machine

Give up, give up and feed the machine

 

Sleep, shhh, go back to sleep

Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up!

 

The chorus is repeated followed by “go back to sleep.” The world, the machine, wants you to be this empty shell of a person who has no identity. It wants you to ignore those who might be helping you. But then, lead singer Michael Barnes screams, “Wake up!” It’s the first jolt of life in the empty shell, but is it enough?

 

We fall in line, we live the lie

Give up, give up and feed the machine

It grows inside, nowhere to hide

Give up, give up and feed the machine

Give up, give up and feed the machine

 

Wake up, wake up and kill the machine!

Wake up, wake up and kill the machine!

Wake up, wake up and kill the machine!

 

The chorus is repeated again, but the song ends with the repetition of “wake up, wake up and kill the machine!” It’s time for you to stop conforming, to find your true self in Christ and not be afraid to be different. Instead of letting yourself feed the machine, it’s time to “kill the machine!” If this isn’t a battle-cry for Christians, then I don’t know what is.
 
 
Words by: Sarah Brehm
Photos by: Sarah Brehm 
 
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RED "Feed the Machine" Music Video

 

 

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