10 songs about god — my playlist

quite a while ago now, i got tagged by bob carlton in a cool meme: what would be your list of 10 songs about god?

i’m not going to take the time to make it my “top 10” — that would take way too much searching and thinking! but i’ll list 10 i really like. i chose to dig a little deeper into my itunes list, and not select those from traditional ccm bands or labels; this just made it a bit more interesting for me! one or two of these don’t even have lyrics, but are still “about god” in their context, and i find, take me to a liminal place.

my playlist of 10 songs about god (in no particular order):

1. the glory of jah (dublin sessions), by sinead o’connor, from theology. such a beautiful song. o’conner’s double cd has one disc called “dublin sessions” that are intimate and acoustic, and one disc called “london sessions” that are more produced, and with a full band. track listings on both cds are the same. i lean toward the dublin sessions versions, but both are lovely.

2. cry of a tiny babe, by bruce cockburn, from nothing but a burning light. this is my favorite christmas-y song — or, my favorite song about the birth of christ. stunning lyrics, beautifully simple tune. i LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the lyric from the chorus, “redemption rips through the surface of time, in the cry of a tiny babe.”

3. and 4. movement III — hope, and movement V — grace, by jonathan elias, from the prayer cycle. probably my all-time favorite cd for contemplation and worship. i’ve often listened to the entire thing when i’m on a spiritual retreat. an orchestral, choral piece that is so outside the box and difficult to categorize. alannis morrisette and james taylor both sing on it!

5., 6., and 7. — beautiful savior and o sacred head surrounded, from christ is my hope, and i have loved you, from small planes, all by innocence mission. karen peris’s voice is a love it or “don’t get it” thing, i’ve found. but she solidly falls into the love it category for me. angelic, unique, simple. i never get bored of these songs.

8. gabriel’s oboe, from the original soundtrack to the mission. one of the most beautifully haunting musical pieces i know, played (in the movie) by jeremy irons’ eventually-martyred, peace-loving priest character. really, this song is fully capable of bringing me to tears. (i’ll throw in a bonus track here — brothers, from the same soundtrack, is simply the most beautiful piece of classical music i am aware of. i can listen to it 100x and not grow weary of it. but it’s not about god, per se, so i won’t officially include it on the list).

9. tramp and tom waits with full orchestra, by gavin bryars with tom waits, from jesus’ blood never failed me yet. please tell me you have this cd, released years ago now. it’s one of the most perfect and wonderful and outside-the-box pieces of worship music ever created. long story about its uniqueness; just trust me on this one if you don’t have it.

10. grace, by u2, from all that you can’t leave behind. my most predictable selection, i almost didn’t include it because it’s almost cliche of me to do so. but this is my list, and i love this song.

so, i’d love to hear a few things:

first, i’d love to see your additions (you don’t have to list ten, just one or two would be fine) in the comments section. you’re welcome to use regular ol’ ccm-type god-music also. don’t be limited by my self-imposed selection criteria.

second, i’d like to specifically tag a few of my audiophile friends, to see what they come up with. so, i tag: tash mcgill, rick bennett, jay howver, dan kimball, and mike king.

12 thoughts on “10 songs about god — my playlist”

  1. agh… ok, so this is like one of the ultimate ‘high fidelity’ challenges and will require some serious thought – because I will have now allow for the fact that you already used one of my songs and one of the artists most likely to feature. I had no idea you were a Cockburn fan.

    I’ll barely sleep while mulling over this list.

  2. okay here are my additions, it’s not an all time fave list (that would require much thought and reflection) these are some tunes I really like about God. Likewise I’ve tried as much as possible to dig a little deeper into my zen and select from outside of the ccm world.

    Everywhere I Go- King’s X (criminally underrated band, I love the vide of this tune)
    God part 3 – Larry Norman (gotta have a little Larry in here. And this tune like many of his is best heard solo and acoustic)
    Yahweh – U2 (yeah a predictable selection, but a glorious tune from brother bono and the boys)
    Lord of the starfields – Bruce Cockburn (I love Cry of a tiny Babe, but i wish we sang this tune in church, great lyrics)
    Every Grain of Sand – Bob Dylan (One of the finest songs of faith ever written)
    The Colour Green – Rich Mullins (This inspires me to worship with every listen)
    Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing – Sufjan Stevens (from his Christmas album… this is in my top five classic hymns and sufjan makes it sound rootsy and very cool)
    You are Mystical – Brian Houston (my fave worship song by local Belfast singer songwriter. It’s from his live Rollercoaster album)
    The Divine Image – Lies Damned Lies (precious harmonies and william blake… stunning stuff)
    One of us – Martyn Joseph (the welsh singer songwriter finds hidden depths in Joan Osborne’s song)

  3. I’d have to add “Remedy” by David Crowder Band. Right now, he’s the “Remedy” our country needs.

    I’d also add “Everlasting God” by Chris Tomlin

  4. 3 things i love about your list
    *not one artist makes their living by being a Christian
    * words are not the only way to describe God – sound & silence say so much
    * and the prayer cycle – whoa is that just a solid ray of light

    i fascinates me that not all of your songs are explicit about a Christian God, or even a known God

  5. your love is strong, by jon foreman.
    its on his myspace (ugh, myspace).
    over the years, people have tried to change the lord’s prayer, make it into a song, etc.
    this is the best of that i’ve ever seen.

  6. first…i love the fact that your list is “outside the box”. as a youth worker/musician, i feel that the christian community limits itself when it comes to the arts.

    here are a few of my additions:

    “Bigger Than Us” – by Andy Davis
    “What Sarah Said” – Death Cab for Cutie
    “So Alive” – Ryan Adams
    “Love to Sing” – Copeland
    “Glosoli” – Sigur Ros (basically anything by Sigur Ros)
    “Be Thou My Vision” – Pedro the Lion*
    “Letter From A Concerned Follower” – Pedro the Lion*

    *pedro the lion was once a “christian artist”, but was excommunicated after only one album. his are some of the most powerful and honest lyrics i’ve ever heard.

  7. hi.
    here’s some of mine.

    kyrie : by x-ray dog : a breed apart
    o hallelujah : sanders bohlke : sanders bohlke
    the 23rd psalm : bobby mcFerrin : medicine music
    thank u : alanis morrissete : supposed
    amazing grace : lisbeth scott : state of grace
    40 : u2 : war
    o praise him : david crowder band : illuminate
    veni redemptor gentium : paul schwartz : state of grace
    god is in the roses : roseanne cash : black cadillac

    oh… there are so many! here’s my partial list.

  8. Hallelujah by Cohen (J. Buckley’s version)
    Sometimes by Step by R. Mullins
    Jesus Take The Wheel by C. Underwood
    Wake Up Dead Man by U2 (everyone has to have a little U2)
    Love Song by Third Day

  9. I AM, Jill Phillips, Nobody’s Got It All Together
    Yahweh, U2 (really LOUD!)
    Amazing Grace, just about any rendition, most recently Carlos Nakai’s version from the CD Inner Peace – it was playing in the room when I had acupuncture the other day. Loved the Native American flute sounds.
    and I’m still fond of the compilation CD, My Utmost for His Highest, because it was the first “Christian-y” (non-hymnal) music I heard

  10. Here are 10.

    Restore My Soul, The Choir (Actually all of the Circle Slide album)

    Sit Down, James

    Tomorrow, James

    A Design for Life, Manic Street Preachers

    Breathe, MTK on YouTube

    Where the Streets Have No Name, U2

    Lemon, U2

    Yahweh, U2

    Statues, Moloko (not technically a God song, but oh my)

    Welcome to the Black Parade, My Chemical Romance (also not a God song, except that God talks to me through this one)

  11. i love U2, so here are a few that bring my heart into worship:
    :: all i want is you
    :: one
    :: walk on
    :: kite
    :: streets
    :: i will follow
    :: all because of you (I AM)
    :: original of the species
    :: love rescue me

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