“There Must Be More”
by David Ruis
Gertrude Stein once noted that Hamlet continues to be discussed not because of what is understood about it but because of what is not. David Ruis’s “There Must Be More,” a staple of Christian contemporary music since its release, in 1994, is hardly Hamlet; still, despite its inclusion in a genre of music not known for its complexity—a genre known, if at all, for a simplicity not always distinguishable from vapidity—it remains both baffling and beguiling.
The argument the song’s narrator makes is more or less as follows: I am crying out for something real because I know, deep in my soul, that there must be more. I am tired and weak, but I keep hanging on—“just keep hangin’ on/ ’cause there must be more.” The speaker is in manifestly bad shape—groaning, kneeling, and perhaps in danger of what centuries of Christian thought have designated the worst of sins: despair. But not yet, because each stanza offers an uplift from dejection at the conjunctive pivot. Because.
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—Reese Okyong Kwon