Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Bunny Says... Recycle!

Fear not, loyal readers, March's British Actor of the Month is on the way. In the meantime, enjoy this entry I've lifted from my old MySpace blog this Passover/Easter weekend.

Songs About God.

Although which god is variable.

And these are all
good songs. None of that "inspirational" crap. And NO CREED!

"Gotta Serve Somebody" by Bob Dylan
There are plenty of Dylan songs about the the Almighty. Dylan had a three album "Gospel period" and was plagerizing the Bible long before anyone knew who the fuck Henry Timrod was. I chose this number because it works on so many different levels. For one thing, he never actually specifies whom one has to choose to serve. He sings, "it may be the devil or it may be the Lord" but there's no opinion in the lyrics of which it's got to be. (Lyrics are on his official site. Go look them up yourself if you don't believe me.) Now, in the context of Slow Train Coming, it's pretty clear which party ol' Zimmy thinks we should be serving, but the song's ambiguity has helped it survive in his post(?)-conversion career.

"Father of Night" by Bob Dylan
I'm not trying to cheat and pack this list with Dylan tunes. Honest! But, given that the little fellow is rather famous for converting, unconverting, and confusing the hell out of people (nothing new there!), I thought it appropriate to include a song about the other god he may or may not be worshipping. (Although, techincially it's the same god....) This little-heard track off New Morning is supposedly based on a Jewish prayer. Also, special props to "Neighborhood Bully" of the post-conversion Infidels which, although not specifically about God, is a fine salute to Zionism.

"Spririt in the Sky" by Norman Greenbaum
Gospel for hippies. Also, it's got one of the most awesome guitar riffs ever.

"My Sweet Lord" by George Harrison
Although it might sound suspiciously like an old Chiffons tune, this All Things Must Pass track is almost something your youth pastor could get down with. Until George turns all the "hallelujahs" to "Harre Krishnas," that is. No wonder he's my favorite Beatle.

"Jesus Is Just Alright" by the Doobie Brothers
Is this song serious, or is it making fun of all the ex-hippies who were suddenly turning to the big J.C. as their new guru? I'm not sure, but it's still a fun song.

"Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen
Everybody and their mother has covered it. (I like Jeff Buckley's version.) This song could be read as being about both earthly and heavenly love. Some singers drop verses to make it one way or the other, some sing it all the way through. Either way, it's a beautiful song.

"One Love/People Get Ready" by Bob Marley
Like the other Bob on the list, this reggae master recorded a lot of religious songs. So many, in fact, that he's considered a Rastafarian prophet. To tell you the truth, I almost went with "Redemption Song," but then I figured, since "One Love" has been co-opted by the Jamaican tourist bord, it's important to point out this song's religious content. It's "Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right" not "come to Jamaica."

"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2
The lover-as-a-metaphor-for-God device can be very tricky. The results can be awful (think of Cartman's Christian rock band on South Park) to downright nauseating (Debbie Boone's "You Light Up My Life"). But this Joshua Tree track proves that nobody does it better than U2. (Take that, Scott Stapp!) Is Bono looking for the right girl or spiritual fulfillment? Who knows, who cares. It's a good song.

"One of Us" by Joan Osborne
Not the biggest fan of this song, but it does ask an interesting question. What if God was one of us?

"I Don't Know How to Love Him" from Jesus Christ Superstar
Mary Magdellan (pre-Da Vinci Code, people) sings this in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. You could read this as a disciple/groupie trying to figure out her feelings for the messiah/rock star, or even as someone trying to figure out what to do with Jesus in the modern world. Actually, check out the entire original cast recording of Superstar. It's Godly and Groovy!

"Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" by Monty Python
Ok, I lied, this song isn't about God. But it's from my favorite movie that isn't (wink, wink) about Jesus, Life of Brian. Which is, of course, a great movie to watch on Easter. If you're not, you know, afraid of a smiting or two.

This is from three years ago, so please feel free to use the comments to update me, add your own favorites, and/or tell me I'm going to hell in a handbasket.


  1. Interesting list. Even though I'm a Christian, mind if I add two of my favourites, which are far more questioning of God, to say the least? 'Dear God' by XTC and 'God's Song' by Randy Newman. Perhaps you'll find it strange that a Christian should be promoting these songs but I think they say a lot about the human condition and the confusion and pain we all feel.

  2. Thanks, those sound a bit more sophisticated than a lot of the songs on my list. To be honest, my list was complied, like about 85% of the content on this blog, with tongue firmly in cheek. And I don't find it at all strange that a Christian would promote something questioning God. I am of the opinion that the only way to strengthen one's beliefs--whether they be religious, political, or otherwise--is through questioning. "Faith isn't faith till it's put to the test" as a motivation poster I once saw said.