weekend sound track
before || after
The Puritans knew that Sunday morning was about things other than rest and prayer. It is about reflection, about holding your life up to a half-open vertical blind and looking real close. It's about Salvation. The idea not that you are forgiven, but that you could be.
1. Sinnerman by Nina Simone
What sins did you commit this week? Who are you going to run to?
2. John the Revelator by Muddy Waters
The clapping of his hands his only accompaniment, Waters brings us back to old time religion, a reverend in this song telling us about faith. In Revelations, all sins are tallied.
3. Down to the River to Pray by Allison Krauss
This is a powerful scene in O Brother Where Art Thou and the song stands on its own. Voices of a congregation rising with barely concealed joy for their salvation, for the deliverance that the water gives them, for the cleansing touch of Baptism.
4. The Story of Isaac by Suzanne Vega
This song is written by Leonard Cohen, and seems to bring Old Testament to a living space. Where does the devotion to God become so strong it becomes evil? God intervened, or Abraham would have sacrificed his beloved son to the Lord. What sacrifice is too much? God, according to some, gave his only Son. But Abraham was not allowed to.
5. Calling All Angels by Jane Siberry
Pretty. This song comes on at that moment when you are thinking about what you've sacrificed for others. Who is calling you? "Walk me through this world. Don't leave me alone."
6. The Fall of Troy by Tom Waits
Waits wrote this about two boys killed in a shooting. Lost opportunities. Never having a chance to repent, to be happy for the good shit and sorry for the bad shit. "Now you have to find your own way home, boys. You have to find your own way home."
7. Into My Arms by Nick Cave
"I don't believe in an interventionist God, but I know darlin' that you do." Sunday morning passion is wonderful, but there is a gap. What if she loves God more than me. What if she loves God at all? Bad breath, blanket tent, broad daylight sex drives God from the corners.
8. Into the Mystic by Van Morrison
We have to approach the spiritual together. No matter the differences we feel, we must be hand in hand as we approach it. "Suddenly we will flow into the Mystic."
9. Angel of the Morning by Nina Simone
"There's no need to take me home. I'm old enough to face the dawn." Nina Simone may indeed have been a prophetess.
10. Hallelujah by John Cale
Another song written by Cohen but brought to life by another artist. Cohen often weaves his spirituality into his music. What was the secret chord that David played before the Lord? Music is worship. Not always to God, but to something. Sunday mornings should be filled with music.
11. Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down by Johnny Cash
Cash, like Cohen, is a man who struggles with his faith. Here he picks the morning up. You are done making love to your wife and you go down to get the Sunday paper to read in bed with her. These mornings just look different. "There's nothing short of dying that's half as lonely as the sound of the sleeping Sunday sidewalks."
12. Chocolate Jesus by Tom Waits
If He were chocolate, would it all be easier to swallow?
13. The Wanderer by Johnny Cash and U2
Walking through your city, you look for the righteous, for the things that are worthy. You have a lantern and seek an honest man. You lift the stones and see the skin and bones of a city without a soul. Glitter and artifice drives the righteousness away before them.
14. Woke Up This Morning
Absolved of sin, you feel first the power, feel the flush of glory creep up your neck, making rivers in your stubble. Get it on.
15. A Cowboy's Prayer by Johnny Cash
"Lord, I've never lived where churches grow. I loved creation as it stood." At your end, how will you be remembered? Scarred marble? Ashes polluting the seas? You don't get to choose. Children sick of your decrepitude, angry at your life will choose. Say your prayers. "You know about the reasons that are hid."
16. Elysium by Lisa Gerrard and Hans Zimmer
Every Sunday morning is a little like dying and then getting to try again. A new week, a new chance to make your life what you thought when you though about such things. Elysium is paradise, the place where all of your life's sorrows are forgotten. The reward of the Just. Go be Just.