Toronto’s Upwood Avenue are being pretty straightforward on their new single, “If I Was God”. Taking aim at ‘religious hypocrisy’ and ‘the absolute greed of money and power,’ the band uses an otherwise unpretentious rock song to underscore aggressive lyrics about politicians and organized religion.
Musically, the song is simple. It’s driven by piano, drums, and bass, with some meandering lead guitar. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of early 2000s rock, very unadorned and, at risk of sounding derogatory, stock. The lyrics, on the other hand, are anything but. They contemplate problems in the world, from poverty to politicians, and posit that if the singer were God, he would solve all these issues with the wave of a hand.
Is this song overly earnest, or a little bit cringe? To an uninformed listener, it might easily seem like the latter, however, I get the sense that Upwood Avenue is proud of the religious undertones they’ve woven into “If I Was God,” and – having been exposed to a good deal of Contemporary Christian Music myself – I know that writing lyrics that are very much on the nose is par for the course.
Interestingly, though, I don’t see any specific reference to a CCM influence in Upwood Avenue’s bio, and they do explicitly attack the notion of organized religion in the song. Is it more of a general protest song against the institutions of society that have broken down in the 21st century, using a light coating of CCM to snag an unsuspecting listener into paying attention to a more socially conscious, angry piece of music?
The production quality of “If I Was God” is a little rough, though the vocals do have a prominent place in the mix, which helps get the lyrics through and emphasizes the sincerity of the message Upwood Avenue is trying to convey.
While this song might not be breaking any new ground, it’s still a bold exploration of religious and political themes presented through a standard-issue rock lens. And there’s nothing wrong with that, provided it’s done right – and Upwood Avenue has done it quite well.
Listen to "If I Was God" on Spotify here -
You can check out Upwood Avenue's website here:
A brilliant addition to the repertoire -