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.