Are YOU a real man –or woman? What’s “real”? Is it the TV or movie image? Paisley Yankolovich tackles subjects in his Real Man album not often approached in Christian music. Like the last of his CDs I heard, Does God Sleep, Real Man is a thinker’s album. Yankolovich raises questions on image, betrayal, deception, human frailty, inadequacy and failure, and hints at the obvious answer in Christ, but doesn’t rub the listener’s noses in it.
Quoted from his MySpace site:
Paisley performs alone in a VERY theatrical style. Imagine "Jesus Christ Superstar" done (successfully) as a one-man-act, add some Billy Graham and Rocky Horror and you've scratched the surface on the force of nature that is Paisley!
On hearing his music, and seeing his performance schedule, then pondering the above, about all I can say is, “Wow! I would love to see how he puts all that together!”
There are eight tracks on the CD and the lyrics (even after reading) beg for the album to be listened to over and over. Without God, life is a gamble. We’re given dreams, time, gifts, relationships and so much. This first track, “Gambling Dreams” seems to ask that we embrace God and not just poke him to see if we can figure Him out. Track two explores our putting up false fronts. The third track attacks faddishness. We try to follow all the rules, and often lose track of where our sights should really be.
In “Mistakes”, the fourth track, Paisley ponders old mistakes of his. I can’t help but think of Jaci Velasquez’s song, “Show You Love” and its, “I don’t want to be the one to push you out of reach.” Paisley admits his own errors in young-Christian zealousness. But Steve Taylor sings in, “I Want to be a Clone” when the young Christian wants to tell his friends, “…What!? He’s still a babe. He has to grow. Give it twenty years or so…” It’s a fine line to walk, but God’s Word has to get out. (You didn’t do wrong, Paisley, you may well have planted a seed somewhere.) Track five sings of so many people who know there’s right and wrong, but are spiritually asleep in the Light. Often evil lurks where people try to avoid the light, and as in the song, it can erupt into abusiveness. The line, “Do you believe in Hell? -- ‘Cause Hell believes in you” is strong. It always makes me flinch for others. I pray the flinch isn’t a self-righteous one.
“Take a Bow”, track six, gives an analogy that at first, I thought was a bit irreverent, but on subsequent listenings, it’s true. Buying a car is a commitment, as is giving your life to Jesus. And being reborn isn’t as complicated as lots of people want to make it.
You have the right to be saved. It’s like buying a car.
You can walk right in -- Say, “It’s my turn now” -- Lay down your sin
And in the Throne Room bow -- Now Take A Bow
The title track contrasts living like a real man against the false images we’re constantly barraged with. The question dances around all over the song, “What’s a real man?” I hear only one Answer, though it remained unwritten in the song. The final track, “Die in My Arms” is on abusive relationships where one wallows in another’s muck. The message is don’t be pulled down into the muck. Rise above it.
Paisley Yankolovich’s unpretentious electronic one-man-band style is refreshingly different, to say the least. He doesn’t try to sound like anyone but Paisley Yankolovich. Listen to his work, and read his lyrics. You might acquire the taste. I know I did. Mr. Yankolovich, if you’re reading this, I may not make it down to the Southwest to see you in concert, so when’s your DVD coming out?