Story Behind The Song: Rose Petals
Often times the hardest part of writing lyrics stems from a wrestling match between the artist and a truth they have yet to fully grasp. And then, there is Rose Petals. A song created from a reality so known, so deeply ingrained into the fiber of your life that the struggle becomes presenting the truth in a loving and unoffending way.
That is impossible.
I usually say I was angry when Rose Petals was written, but that is not completely true. I was heartbroken too. The brother of a really good friend had recently passed - gunned down leaving a party. Along with what felt like the new trendy accessory: black bodies adorning city streets and sidewalks.
I sat in my in-law’s basement not knowing how to exercise my emotion. Not knowing what would come out. I don’t know how long it took to pen the first line. But I remember what it felt like when the light bulb came on. I was reminded of a poem by the great Tupac Shakur, “The rose that grew from concrete”. A stunning visual. I knew that was the imagery I needed not just for the opening line, “The blood of my brother was spilled on the street. He was the rose that grew out of the concrete.”, but for the entire song.
From there the words spilled out. Along with tears. Firmly rooted in the imagery of precious life lost, taken, disregarded and made into props for a political blame game. It was hard to remain in neutral, because it’s very simple to turn anger into snarkiness and sharp comments. Especially, if words are your tool of choice. But the best chance of this song reaching as far as it can, is to keep the focus on humanity. The image of God laying lifeless in the street. To me that sight is undeniably wrong and should be seen removed completely from commentary and spin.
If you were to see a dozen roses suddenly dropped without warning, petals spread on the ground. You likely wouldn’t look for a person to blame - much less blame the roses themselves. You would observe, feel and respond to what you see. Even if it’s just “oh that’s too bad”. Life is too precious, blood is too precious, the human form is too precious for us to see it and create a narrative around what we see instead of weeping and asking God for mercy.
My hope is that you hear this song while laying down your blinders and removing yourself from your tribe.