Over the years I’ve collected a fair number of songs. For this post I decided to analyze them here one by one. What happened to me at the time I played it a lot and what it means to me. This is just the “most played” on my computer. Most of my songs I listen on the phone so I guess this list ain’t entirely accurate, but so what.
11. Dear Younger Me – MercyMe
Dear younger me
Where do I start
If I could tell you everything that I have learned so far
Then you could be
One step ahead
Of all the painful memories still running through my head
I wonder how much different things would be
Dear younger me
If there is one song reminding me of First Year it is this one. It was, in short, a rather shitty year. In the middle of the year this album with this song came out. At that time I often went for long solitary walks, reflecting on my issues and feeling extremely lonely. Now this song reminds me of that time. I guess that explains why I don’t listen to it so much anymore. And yet I think this song can help me grow every time I listen to it.
10. Sunrise – Joe Niemand
Would You let me in like You did before?
I always end up right back at Your door
You take me in in, fix me up without a word
Softly singing me songs that I’ve never heard
Now when I’m falling apart
Like I always do
Like I always do
You clean my bleeding wounds
Like You always do
Like You always do
I am rather amazed that this is one of my most played songs. It is one of those songs you don’t even realize is one of your favourites. This album by Joe Niemand, and especially this song, opened me up to the absolute reality of God. Lately I’ve been reflecting on people – you, dear reader, are probably one of them – who talk about “religion” and “faith”. Who might say they want to be “spiritually fulfilled”. Those who go to church and leave “religious” lives. And yet… and yet… they’re missing the point. God is not just some force in some ether for you to harness. He is not just a means to end: just saying a few prayers and going to church so you know you’ll go to heaven or so you can have a nice car or whatever. NO! He is a very real person reaching out to you. He is the object of my desire, not just some means to some end.
You can listen to a preview of it here: https://itunes.apple.com/za/album/this-is-war/279252552
9. That’s Just the Way it Is – Phil Collins
You see the dying, you feel the pain
What have you got to say ?
If we agree that we can disagree
We could stop all of this today
This song ties in with number 1 on the list, so I’ll leave it to that.
8. Hold My Heart – Tenth Avenue North
One tear in the dropping rain
One voice in a sea of pain
Could the Maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breaking heart?
One life is all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You’re everything You say You are
Would You come close and hold my heart?
Wow. For this song I need a minute. This is a song to listen when you are at your lowest, when you can’t go any further, when you are breaking down and you just want it to stop. If you feel like that right now, listen to this.
7. Oh Lord – NF
Yeah everybody wants change
Don’t nobody wanna change though
Don’t nobody wanna pray
Till they got something to pray for
Now everybody’s gon’ die
But don’t everybody live though
Sometimes I look up to the sky
And wonder do you see us down here?
This song is different from all the rest. It is a rap song. It is about people who have no idea what they are doing. Those “religious” people. Give this a listen, you won’t be disappointed.
6. You Are I Am – MercyMe
I’ve been the one
To shake with fear
And wonder if
You’re even here
I’ve been the one
To doubt Your love
I’ve told myself
You’re not enough
This is from the same album as Number 11. If Dear Younger Me reminds me of that shitty year, this one reminds me of the moment in that year when everything came right. I remember the Tuesday afterwards, just before a test, sitting on the grass beneath the trees and listening to this and another song on this album. At that moment I realised everything is finally alright. This song is beautiful. Give it a listen.
5. Beyond Me – TobyMac
Call it a reason to retreat
I got some dreams that are bigger than me
I might be outmatched, outsized, the underdog in the fight of my life
Is it so crazy to believe
That you gave me the stars, put them out of my reach
Call me to waters, a little to deep
Oh I’ve never been so aware of my need
You keep on making me see
It’s way beyond me
If there is a song that sums up my university years, it is this one. Now I’m still waiting for my marks and I’ll rather not make a prediction. All I know is that more than once, both in my tests and in my life, I’ve noticed things that I should not be able to do, but which I managed to do with God’s help. This song has a nice beat to boot.
4. Stay – Kevin Max
And I want everything to stay (I wanted to stay)
The same as yesterday
I want everything to stay the same (I want it to stay)
Love is a deadly potion
Stabs the heart and bleeds emotion
And now nothing is the same again
Looking back I’m not sure why I listened to this album non-stop for weeks. I mean Max is good, but not that good. That being said, at this stage of my life I was living with my best friend. We were playing games while I listened to this album. At the time I was – for the first time in years – not in love or seriously interested in anyone. Just being able to think about love without thinking about someone was a nice change of pace. This is a nice love song.
3. Frankenstein – Joe Niemand
Why do You break
Why break these broken bones?
Put the needle right into gaping wounds
I want the hurt to leave
Just leave me alone
But You pierce deeper still
Cut the poison out
Cut to where I feel again
It hurts when You heal
The last few years I’ve discovered a side of Christian music and Christ itself which was not something I expected. This song, Hold My Heart and so many more focuses me on the love of God. Read that carefully. Not the kindness of God, but the love of God. C. S. Lewis once used the analogy of a dentist. You would go to him because of a toothache, but sooner or later he starts burrowing through either teeth, injecting you here and there. It is painful. Of suppose you want to redecorate your house, so a guy comes and he adds a few pictures. All good and well. But then he starts moving around furniture, knocking down the walls and rerouting the electricity.
If you are thinking of becoming a Christian, take not of this. God is not content with you just letting him in and then locking him away in some room for when you need him. He wants to live in a palace. He wants to make you perfect, if you let him. Sometimes this is painful. The father taking his son to the dentist and hearing his screams is doing it out of love. Think about this. To put it another way, suppose your brother is out doing drugs and robbing cars, but he is happy. Hell he is having the time of his life. Love will force you to lock him up in rehabilitation. Mere kindness will simply leave him alone.
G. K. Chesterton also spoke about this side of love. If you love someone because of something, then your love is conditional. If you love a girl because she has green eyes, then will you love her if she goes blind? Will you save her if the eyes are green because of cancer? If you love her because of her fondness of something you like, will you love her if she finds something else? If you love her unconditionally then you will not accept her as she is. You will try your best to improve her, to help her overcome her bad aspects. Love is not blind, love is bound. It is not love to leave the object of your affection in a state of disorder and evil.
You can listen to it here: https://itunes.apple.com/za/album/frankenstein/929468657?i=929468711
2. Election – Kevin Max
Everybody’s faking it
everybody’s doing just fine
but when you look inside their private lives
its just a basket of lies
I’d rather hide out in bars
with the misfits and ghouls
than pretend I’ve found a home in that social club
of robotic and judgmental fools
This song cured me, at least partly, of my judgmental attitudes towards other song genres and towards people in general. A lot of times in my life I’ve found people who are doing great, only at another point to find them just as corrupted as everyone else, often even worse. This song helped me leave my stupid legalistic leanings. I would much rather spend a night with my friends in the mall, with them enjoying beer, than chat with a bunch of hypocrites.
1. Long Long Way to Go – Phil Collins
While I sit here trying to move you anyway I can
Someone’s son lies dead in a gutter somewhere
And it would seem that we’ve got a long long way to go
But I can’t take it anymore
I recall the first time I truly listened to this song. It was late at night last year. I was struggling with some awful assignment totally useless for helping anybody. I want to help people, not learn a bunch of nonsense. Then this song came up.
While I sit here trying to think of things to say
Someone lies bleeding in a field somewhere
It became a habit listening to this song whenever I felt bitter towards the world, whenver I felt bitter for the useless shit I’m learning, whenever I listened to senseless, stupid, academic or mainstream debates on idiotic topics… all while people are dying. Let’s discuss the benefits of Realism over Liberalism -> insert picture of dying Syrians here. It is disgusting and horrible.
While I sit and we talk and talk and we talk some more
Someone’s loved one’s heart stops beating in a street somewhere
It is also about mundane things, about people discussing or getting angry about stupid things like sport or the traffic or whatever… all the while the world is burning. And they don’t care.
Turn it off if you want to
Switch it off it will go away
Turn it off if you want to
Switch it off or look away
It is quite fitting that this song became the most played song on my computer on the night before my final exam.
Listen to it. It is eerie and deep.