TheRemember how we all read The Perks of Being a Wallflower in our angsty, need more Holden Caulfield days? The book, I could take or leave but there is one sentiment I remember. What it is like to be driving down the road and the perfect song comes on and you feel simply infinite. It’s as if your soul swells up inside you, and it’s more than you can handle.
There are some songs that make me feel that way that I would like to share with you. Songs that, despite their intended purpose, make me feel infinite. Or have some spiritual meaning to them for me. And I would love to hear yours, the songs that touch your soul.
First up, Mason Jenning’s I Love You and Buddha, Too.
I don’t agree with all the sentiments in the song – I am largely not a relativist, however there are pieces that really speak to me. “You are unnameable, you are unknowable, all we have is metaphor, that’s what time and space are for.” I believe that the search for God, the search for meaning is fulfilling and noble, but I believe we can only do so much, go so far. I believe that we can only come up with more questions than answers. And I find comfort in that, in knowing this life is not a quiz, not a test to see who has the best answers, but a continual search.
Next up, Old Crow Medicine Show’s Wagon Wheel.
Okay sure, this song is a little bit about sex and drugs. But there is more to it than that. It’s about searching, about leaving pain behind for the hope of love. We’ve all felt that fire under our feet at some point in our lives, an indescribable restlessness, an urge for something more. In this song it takes the life of a lonely man driving through the country in the middle of the night to find his true love, and while I’ve never done that, I can relate to the sense of urgency to find something more.
Next, David Berkeley’s Little Fists
If you haven’t listened to this guy, drop everything you are doing right now and go buy his CDs. Or look him up on Grooveshark. I saw David Berkeley a million years ago opening up for Nickel Creek my freshman year of college, and he remains my favorite musician to this day. (If you want to hear a fantastic song about the Civil War – check out ‘Shiloh,’ which I would have posted here but I can’t find a video for it. Did you even know there were fantastic songs about the Civil War?) This song, Little Fists, is about the futileness of fighting against war. He tells us we’re asking the leaves to change. Which is pretty much what faith calls us to do – stand up and scream for something better, no matter how difficult or unlikely it is.
Jesus, etc. – Wilco
I’m sure this song is one that is too deep for me to understand what it’s about and so I don’t want to read into what the artists’ original interpretation is supposed to be. But when I listen to it, I hear how everything around us crumbles except love. Anything we rely on is temporary. Anything but love.
Flogging Molly’s Therefore the Grace of God Go I
I’ve probably seen Flogging Molly more times in concert than any other band. Okay, maybe more than any other band combined. And I can never decide where they stand – rebelling against their Catholicism, or standing up for it as a part of their Irish Heritage? Or some complicated mixture of both, as it is for all of us. But this song, more than any of the previous, is as close as you can get to a hymn. The sentiment is simple – Therefore the Grace of God Go I. And so it is for us all.