BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#288 - "One Day Too Late" and "Lucy" by Skillet
A personal struggle and a widespread pain fuel these two rock ballads, as NRT's Kevin Davis discovers.

By KevinDavis_NRT

BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS, #288 -
John Cooper: “I realized that if I had died that day, would I look back on my life and say 'that was good' or would I look back and wish I could have done things differently?”
William Wilberforce said, “And, sir, when we think of eternity, and of the future consequences of all human conduct, what is there in this life that should make any man contradict the dictates of his conscience, the principles of justice, the laws of religion, and of God?”

One of Christian music’s top-selling rock bands, GRAMMY®-nominated Skillet, returned with its latest recording capturing the raw energy and multi-textured sonic landscape for which they have become known. A mixture of dissonant chords, anthemic builds and memorable vocal interpretation combine to form a progressive, yet classic rock-influenced sound that’s all their own. Skillet’s straightforward message and innovative sound has garnered the band an avid fan base.

Experience pounding, classically influenced rock with a progressive edge, colored by dissonant chords, and gutsy vocals are all found on Skillet’s latest release, Awake. The album hit the ground running debuting at No. 2 on Billboard’s Top 200, selling more than 67,000 units and peaking at No. 1 on iTunes® overall “Top Albums” chart and “Top Rock” chart. After two years, the album remains on the Billboard Top 200 with only a handful of other mainstream acts claiming the same honor.

Relevant, innovative and unforgettable, Skillet continues its tradition of a straightforward, in-your-face Gospel message of hope. I had the great opportunity to interview Skillet front-man John Cooper in person before Winter Jam in Reading, Penn. about his songs “One Day Too Late” and “Lucy” from Awake.

Please share the personal messages behind the songs “One Day Too Late” and “Lucy.”

I wrote the song “One Day Too Late” after a period where I had been writing for the album for what seemed like ages. It can become all-consuming. There’s so much pressure when you’ve had an album do well. I was coming off the success of Comatose and I felt a lot of pressure. We were playing a lot of shows and I was writing, traveling and feeling a lot of stress. I realized that I wasn’t doing the things I wanted to in my life. I realized that if I had died that day, would I look back on my life and say “that was good” or would I look back and wish I could have done things differently? It hit me that I wasn’t spending the amount of time I wanted to with my family—my wife and my kids. I wasn’t being a terrible dad, but I wasn’t being a great dad. I don’t think I was really putting my priorities in line. That’s what I wrote the song about.

“Lucy” is a really special song to me. When I was writing the song, I felt it was one of the most important songs we’ve ever written and I don’t think the song has reached its full potential. Here’s what “Lucy” is about. It’s not about me. It’s based on a story that I read about a young high school couple who had gotten pregnant. They didn’t know what to do, so they decided to terminate the pregnancy. After that--and we’re seeing these stories throughout the whole world, not just in America--these women are saying that nobody ever told them the traumatic effects that their abortion would have on them. Many women who have had abortions and are going through emotional trauma months and years after they’ve had an abortion, who are depressed and suicidal, are counseled to have funeral services for the aborted child and name the child. That’s what the song is about, and in this story they named the baby Lucy. This song takes place at her birthday, a year after it happened and wishing they could do things differently. The bridge of the song: “Here we are, now you're in my arms / Here we are for a brand new start / Got to live with the choices I've made / And I can't live with myself today,” is about regrets and thinking about how God will make all things new in Heaven.

Please tell me about any Bible verses that connects to the songs.

Matthew 25:13: “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”

What's the take-away message for listeners?

All of us have a theoretical way that we’d like to live our lives and our priorities. Then, there are our actual priorities. There’s a part in both songs about forgiveness. We theoretically forgive people, but we still hurt and dwell on mistakes. The cool thing about “One Day Too Late” is that you can take it different ways. People outside of the Christian faith can relate to not wanting to have regrets. Life’s too short to live with regrets. Christians can relate to the message that they “do not know the day or the hour” that God’s taking us home. You don’t want to wait to live for Christ or do what’s right and to have a relationship with the Lord. We need to forgive others as Jesus has forgiven us. We’re told in the Bible to “love our enemies.” Everyone loves people who love them. Jesus tells us even the pagans do that, and He tells us to pray for our enemies.

I read the book The Reason for God by Tim Keller recently. He made an interesting point that because we are human we want to be rewarded for doing good or punished for doing bad. Because of those human concepts, people outside of the Church focus more on doing good deeds. The good news is that the Gospel is Good News that we’re not saved by good deeds. We as Christians have the mentality to “make the world a better place” because we believe in Christ.

Sometimes we can forget that God wants us to show our faith by doing good works for Him. We aren’t trying to earn salvation. We’re excited because of Christ’s Love and we want to leave a legacy for Him. Really both songs are about making a change and making your life count for something. Don't wait to help the world be a better place. Don't wait until to make a difference for Jesus on this planet!

“One Day Too Late” lyrics:
Tick tock, hear the clock countdown
Wish the minute hand could be rewound
So much to do and so much I need to say
Will tomorrow be too late?

Feel the moment slip into the past
Like sand through an hourglass
In the madness, I guess, I just forget
To do all the things I said

Time passes by, never thought I'd wind up
One step behind, now I've made my mind up

Today, I'm gonna try a little harder
Gonna make every minute last longer
Gonna learn to forgive and forget
'Cause we don't have long, gonna make the most of it

Today, I'm gonna love my enemies
Reach out to somebody who needs me
Make a change, make the world a better place
'Cause tomorrow could be one day too late
One day too late, one day too late

Tick tock, hear my life pass by
I can't erase and I can't rewind
Of all the things I regret the most I do
Wish I'd spent more time with you

Here's my chance for a new beginning
I saved the best for a better ending
In the end I'll make it up to you
You'll see, you'll get the very best of me

Time passes by, never thought I'd wind up
One step behind, now I've made my mind up

Today, I'm gonna try a little harder
Gonna make every minute last longer
Gonna learn to forgive and forget
'Cause we don't have long, gonna make the most of it

Today, I'm gonna love my enemies
Reach out to somebody who needs me
Make a change, make the world a better place
'Cause tomorrow could be one day too late

Your time is running out
You're never gonna get it back
So make the most of every moment
Stop saving the best for last

Today, I'm gonna try a little harder
Gonna make every minute last longer
Gonna learn to forgive and forget
'Cause we don't have long, gonna make the most of it

Today, I'm gonna love my enemies
Reach out to somebody who needs me
Make a change, make the world a better place
'Cause tomorrow could be one day too late

One day too late, one day too late
One day too late, one day too late


“Lucy” lyrics:
Hey Lucy, I remember your name
I left a dozen roses on your grave today
I'm in the grass on my knees, wipe the leaves away
I just came to talk for a while
I got some things I need to say

Now that it's over
I just wanna hold her
I'd give up all the world to see that little piece of heaven looking
back at me
Now that it's over
I just wanna hold her
I've gotta live with the choices I made
And I can't live with myself today

Hey Lucy, I remembered your birthday
They said it'd bring some closure to say your name
I know I'd do it all different if I had the chance
But all I got are these roses to give
And they can't help me make amends

Now that it's over
I just wanna hold her
I'd give up all the world to see that little piece of heaven looking
back at me
Now that it's over
I just wanna hold her
I've gotta live with the choices I made
And I can't live with myself today

Here we are
Now you're in my arms
I never wanted anything so bad
Here we are
For a brand new start
Living the life that we could've had

Me and Lucy walking hand in hand
Me and Lucy never wanna end
Just another moment in your eyes
I'll see you in another life
In Heaven! Where we never say goodbye!

Here we are, now you're in my arms
Here we are for a brand new start
Got to live with the choices I've made
And I can't live with myself today

Me and Lucy walking hand in hand
Me and Lucy never wanna end
Got to live with the choices I've made
And I can't live with myself today

Hey Lucy, I remember your name


Matthew Henry’s commentary on Matthew 25:13: “Our great duty is to watch, to attend to the business of our souls with the utmost diligence and circumspection. Be awake, and be wakeful. It is a good reason for our watching, that the time of our Lord’s coming is very uncertain; we know neither the day nor the hour. Therefore every day and every hour we must be ready, and not off our watch any day in the year, or any hour in the day. Be thou in the fear of the Lord every day and all the day long.”

As I’ve discussed four songs with John Cooper from this album (“Believe”, “Awake and Alive”, “One Day Too Late” and “Lucy”), one of the main themes throughout this album is about making a decision to live for Christ and not for ourselves. John’s description of being at war with the world is exactly the battle we face every day as a Christian. Jesus assures us in Matthew 6:32-34 to “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” This album fires me up about my faith in Jesus. I want to run the race for Christ and not live for the world. Do you have something you are seeking that is of this world? Seek Jesus and He will make you “awake and alive.” As Matthew Henry says, “Be awake, and be wakeful.”

A theme found in both “Believe” and “One Day Too Late” is having an attitude of forgiveness and still believing in each other even after we’ve done wrong. That parallel applies to our relationships with loved ones and in our relationship with Jesus. We don’t know the day or the hour that the Lord will take us home. Display forgiveness and believe in each other, and try to live out these profound lyrics: “Today, I'm gonna love my enemies / Reach out to somebody who needs me / Make a change, make the world a better place / 'Cause tomorrow could be one day too late.” Amen to that!

Jan. 22 was the anniversary of the controversial Roe. v. Wade decision. As the song “Lucy” reminds us, as Christians we need to decide to stand up against abortion. More than 50 million abortions have taken place in the United States since 1973. Forty percent of minors that have abortions in the United States do not tell their parents. Fifty-one percent of women having abortions in the United States are under the age of 25. (Source: Abortion Blackout.) 

Abortion Blackout
was founded in 2010 to help educate an online generation about the prevalence and devastating effects abortion has on our society. We believe that increased awareness of abortion realities, education for women experiencing unplanned pregnancies, and distribution of financial resources to pregnancy resource centers across the nation will enable this generation to help end abortion by 2020!

The founders of this website are a Christian couple who are passionate about life. One of the founder’s lives was saved by the grace of her mother’s choice of adoption, instead of abortion. The other founder’s fathers was also adopted. The founders of this site would not exist without women who were educated about alternatives to abortion at the time of their unplanned pregnancy. The founders feel strongly about the power of prayer, the power of education, and the power of people to rise up and make a change in the world!
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Posted January 31, 2012 | NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ.

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Rated 5 Stars
Great interview... | Posted July 12, 2012
Skillet is my favorite band. Don't wait to make a difference, "because tomorrow could be one day too late!"
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