Travis Atria is an author and musician, and it’s work as the latter that we’re going to talk about today. Performing as Atria – if you’ve got as excellent a name as that you may as well use it – his latest single, ‘Lucky’, was released on Friday 22 January, and is taken from his upcoming debut solo album, ‘Moonbrain’, which will be out 2 April via Gold Robot Records.
It would be super easy to get distracted by the old-time footage infused video that comes with the song, but there’s so much more to ‘Lucky’ than quirky frames. The song is upbeat and fun too, held together with a staccato rhythm and a spacey, whistling synth that comes ahead of Atria’s vocals.
But it’s the lyrics that we need to take notice of, as the Atria takes an often scathing look at the Beatitudes: you remember, Jesus standing in front of his followers, telling them that
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
And it’s all well and good Jesus saying it, but it seems a lot of the time the Beatitudes are really platitudes, and in any case, most of those people who were agreeing with Jesus when he spoke, in this which later became known as the Sermon on the Mount, turned against him a few short weeks later, and plotted his destruction. Atria puts it well:
“This is a take on the Beatitudes, and I guess religion in general. I didn’t mean for it to be so cynical—like another hero of mine, Kurt Vonnegut, I am not a religious man but I still think the message of the Beatitudes is beautiful and is something worth fighting for. But it’s also such a naïve way of thinking. It has nothing to do with reality. I guess I was trying to warn my niece and nephew: don’t take these things literally, because the meek will not inherit the earth, as nice as the idea is, and you’ll just end up with a broken heart. In the end, it comes down to power. And most of that comes down to who gets lucky.”
Atria truly has a writer’s heart, and is gifted when it comes to making lyrics that cut deep and cause the listener to think. If where we are is because of some divine plan, then what of those who are born into hardship and poverty? Sure those people can look to the Beatitudes and aspire to their reward in heaven, but what benevolent God would allow his faithful to suffer? Surely the truth is more likely that we just won the jackpot when it comes to our birth, and we should seek to be altruistic, and help out the less fortunate.
Hmm…Maybe that’s what Jesus was on about after all.
Listen to ‘Lucky’ by Atria below. You can stream and download the single here.