Thursday, May 30, 2013

Tunes for the Month: May

I didn't really have a theme this month, either, so this is just a fun collection of songs. I bought more songs off iTunes for this list than I ever had before, but I've just found several new ones I really liked. Here's this month's list.

1. On the Turning Away- Pink Floyd


On the turning away
From the pale and downtrodden
And the words they say
Which we won't understand
"Don't accept that what's happening
Is just a case of others' suffering
Or you'll find that you're joining in
The turning away"...
On the wings of the night
As the daytime is stirring
Where the speechless unite
In a silent accord
Using words you will find are strange
Mesmerised as they light the flame
Feel the new wind of change
On the wings of the night
No more turning away
From the weak and the weary
No more turning away
From the coldness inside
Just a world that we all must share
It's not enough just to stand and stare
Is it only a dream that there'll be
No more turning away?


Ya'll. This is my new favorite song. Truly. Peyton was playing it awhile back and we listened several time because I love it and then he said "Hey, let me read you the words". And he did. And well...they sort of sound like the cries of our heart, ya know? It's almost like a social justice mantra via rock and roll. LOVE. 

2. Solsbury Hill- Peter Gabriel
Climbing up on Solsbury Hill
I could see the city light
Wind was blowing, time stood still
Eagle flew out of the night
He was something to observe
Came in close, I heard a voice
Standing stretching every nerve
I had to listen had no choice...
When illusion spin her net
I'm never where I want to be
And liberty she pirouette
When I think that I am free
Watched by empty silhouettes
Who close their eyes, but still can see
No one taught them etiquette
I will show another me

This is one of my forever favorites. In all honesty, I'm really shocked it's just now making itself onto one of these lists. Mainly I love it because it's about the catchiest tune I've ever heard in my life. But also it just speaks to life changes and finding freedom and being true to yourself and letting go of being concerned with what people think. Which is all kind of a big deal.

3. Hard Times- Eastmountainsouth
let us pause in life's pleasures and count its many tears
while we all sup sorrow with the poor
there's a song that will linger forever in our ears
oh, hard times come again no more
while we seek mirth and beauty
and music light and gay
there are frail ones fainting at the door
though their voices are silent
their pleading looks will say 
oh, hard times come again no more

The list seems just full of convicting power this go-round (see also: song one). How often I "seek mirth and beauty and music light and gay" while there are "frail ones fainting at the door". I need to be more intentional about serving, and if nothing else, praying for, the poor.

4. Hallelujah- Jeff Buckley


Well there was a time when you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show that to me do you?
And remember when I moved in you?
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

I'm pretty honest in this here space, but I'm pretty sure those lyrics there are about the rawest thing I've ever put out there. Thank goodness they're not my own words. The first half of this stanza, I take to be a mental/emotional thing. It always makes me think of how I never want to Peyton and I to get to a place where we don't show each other the stuff that's below the surface. I doubt it'll happen since I show pretty much everyone what's below the surface, but it's a good reminder not to build walls. The second part is interesting to me and forgive me if you think it's crude. I really probably wouldn't have shared those lyrics but for a conversation I recently saw between a few people I really respect on Twitter. It was about how as Incarnational people we have to believe the Spirit is present even in *that* intimate act. Which, I mean is obvious  But weird to think about. And I've been thinking about it. And without going into weird details (because gross), I'm really in love with the idea. [For the record, this is a secular (some would say blasphemous) song. So, I don't think it was the writer's intent to convey this idea in the sense I am. But I'm not into rewriting songs. I'm into seeing the sacred in the secular.]

5. Alleluia, He Is Coming- HDC Seven Band
I looked up and I saw my Lord a comin?
I looked up and I saw my Lord a comin?
Down the road
Hallelujah, He is coming
Hallelujah, He is here
Hallelujah, He is coming
Hallelujah, He is here

I was introduced to this song at Cursillo an have loved it sense. There's really not a great iTunes version of it, but I did what I could.

6. Stronger- Hillsong Live
Faithfulness none can deny
Through the storm
And through the fire
There is truth that sets me free
Jesus Christ who lives in me
You are stronger
You are stronger
Sin is broken
You have saved me
It is written
Christ is risen
Jesus You are Lord of all

I was looking for the next song and found this one. It's just gorgeous and is a new favorite. I'm glad I included a few worship songs on this list because this week I needed to hear these truths so badly. 

7. Born Is the King (It's Christmas)- Hillsong
So lift up your voice and sing out His praise
It's Christmas
Born is the King, rejoice in the day
It's Christmas
Make a joyful sound
It's Christmas
Let His praise resound
It's Christmas

I know y'all, a Christmas song. Weird. But I heard it recently (on a playlist of Peyton's) and SO GOOD.

8. Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies)- Chris Tomlin
I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies is always by my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies is always by my side

More really good words for the week. I know my God is a god of Love, but every bit as much He's a God of POWER and claiming that is something that keeps me from totally loosing it. I love the image of Him as a friend but also the one at the head of a huge army of angels.

9. H.M.S. Pinafore: "For He Is an Englishman"- The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company
But in spite of all temptations 
To belong to other nations, 
He remains an Englishman! 
He remains an Englishman! 

Again, it's alright if you think I'm a little bit weird. I heard this on an episode of The West Wing and knew I needed it for the month's collection. I never claimed I didn't love a good show tune. Also, this non-movie watching girl is determined to see a video of the play. 

10. Alright for Now- Tom Petty
I've spent my life travelin'
I've spent my life free
I could not repay all you've done for me
So sleep tight baby
Unfurrow your brow
And know I love you
We're alright for now


I resumed my old strategy of just going through Peyton's vast musical collection in alphabetical order to complete the list. Not the best I've heard from TP, but not bad and sort of a sweet message.

11. AM Radio- Everclear
The VCR and the DVD
There wasn't none of that crap back in 1970
We didn't know about a World Wide Web
It was a whole different game being played back when I was a kid...
I'd be in bed with the radio on
I would listen to it all night long
Just to hear my favorite song
You'd have to wait but you could hear it on the AM radio
Yeah, you could hear the music on a AM radio

Well, this takes me back in multiple ways. First, it takes me back to when the song was popular, but also to it makes me reminisce about my own (non AM, of course) radio experiences. I used to love listening to the hits on my little radio when I was twelve, thirteen, and fourteen. I also would fall asleep listening for my favorites. Sadly, I hardly ever listen to the radio because well...CRAP. Sorry, just an opinion.

12. Amazing Grace- Johnny Cash
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see....
Through many dangers, toils and snares...
we have already come.
T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far...
and Grace will lead us home.

A cliche favorite. And one that reminds me of funerals. But still it's beautiful and I adore it with every ounce of my being.

13. Amazing Grace Bagpipes- Catholic Classics
When we've been here ten thousand years...
bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise...
then when we've first begun.

I adore it especially when it's played on bagpipes. Also, I just adore bagpipes. Back when I went to Saint Andrew's, I always LOVED the chapel service on Saint Andrew's Day and other special occasion because BAGPIPES. I just think they're so pretty.

14. America- Simon and Garfukel
Laughing on the bus
Playing games with the faces
She said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy
I said "Be careful his bowtie is really a camera"...
"Kathy, I'm lost," I said, though I knew she was sleeping
I'm empty and aching and I don't know why
Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
They've all gone to look for America
All gone to look for America
All gone to look for America

Okay, I lied. We got a little Americana theme going on here. But it's due to the very systematic pilfering of Peyton's library. Anyway, this is a good one. I like the story it tells. And anybody that's ever been on a greyhound bus (hey, that's us!) knows you have some stories to tell. Also, let's go look for America! January sound good? ;)

15. America- Tracy Chapman
You were lost and got lucky
Came upon the shore
Found you were conquering America
You spoke of peace
But waged a war
While you were conquering America
There was land to take
And people to kill
While you were conquering America
You served yourself
Did God's will
While you were conquering America...
The ghost of Columbus haunts this world
'Cause you're still conquering America
The meek won't survive
Or inherit the earth
'Cause you're still conquering America...
You hands are at my throat
My back's against the wall
Because you're still conquering America
We're sick and tired hungry and poor
'Cause you're still conquering America

Hmm, another one that's more than a little convicting. I'm certainly proud of our country, but I sort of hate the way our (read: my) ancestors treated those who were here first. Peyton and I have had a lot of conversations in recent years about the ideas of colonization and Imperialism and the enthnocentric attitude too many Americans have. Manifest Destiny is really kind of horrifying if you think on it enough. 

16. American Dream- Casting Crowns
Now he works all day and cries alone at night
It's not getting any better
Looks like he's running out of time
'Cause he worked and he built with his own two hands
And he poured all he had in a castle made with sand
But the wind and the rain are coming crashing in
Time will tell just how long his kingdom stands
His kingdom stands

Casting Crowns used to be one of my favorite Christian bands (I still like them, but I'm not obsessed). I love the message of this song. The "American Dream" really isn't all there is to it, ya know?

17. American Girl- Tom Petty
Well it was kind of cold that night,
She stood alone on her balcony
Yeah, she could hear the cars roll by,
Out on 441 like waves crashin' on the beach
And for one desperate moment
There he crept back in her memory
God it's so painful when something that's so close
Is still so far out of reach
O yeah, all right
Take it easy, baby
Make it last all night
She was an American girl

Now, *this* might be one of Tom Petty's best. It's sort of a sad tale, but I love the imagery. And so that you know I was completely pathetic and out of touch with reality, I used to listen to the part of about "something so close" that's "still so far out of reach" and pine for a boy. Praise God it stayed out of reach and nothing ever came of it. I mean, PRAISE GOD.

18. American Land- Bruce Springsteen

[At the 5:40 mark: "You've just seen the heart-stopping, pants-dropping, hard-rocking, earth-shocking, booty-shaking, love-making, viagra-taking, history-making, legendary - E STREET BAND"....Yep.]

I docked at Ellis Island in a city of light and spire
I wandered to the valley of red-hot steel and fire

We made the steel that built the cities with the sweat of our two hands

And I made my home in the American land...
The McNicholas, the Posalski's, the Smiths, Zerillis too

The Blacks, the Irish, the Italians, the Germans and the Jews
The Puerto Ricans, illegals, the Asians, Arabs miles from home
Come across the water with a fire down below
They died building the railroads, worked to bones and skin
They died in the fields and factories, names scattered in the wind
They died to get here a hundred years ago, they're dyin' now
The hands that built the country we're all trying to keep down



Hmm, LOVE the music. It's sort of Irish folk and Bruce does that really well. I absolutely cannot get enough of it. And the lyrics. Whoa. When I read these lyrics it makes me think we really need to push the "diversity" qualification as a priority for our NYC neighborhood. I just think immigrant stories are so beautiful and there's something we (and our children) could learn here. But you know, everyone has a beautiful story when Bruce sings it :)

These lists always shock me with how deeply I feel them. I'm not sure why. I feel things deeply in general and music is one of the things that TURNS MY WORLD. It's dumb that it shocks me, but it does. I would say this is one of my favorites, but they all are.


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