(Part 2 of 3)
6. Syd Matter, “Black & White Eyes”
This song is worth mentioning if only because so few people have heard of Syd Matters. And, though I never plan on buying an album from this quirky figure thereâ€™s no denying the heartbreaking nature of the song. It is, at times, a truly affecting song. Itâ€™s especially pertinent, heartbreaking, and challenging in todayâ€™s world of newscasts that apparently canâ€™t run without one mention, or five, of rape and child pornography. “I think I lost her/At twenty four/When she started/To lock herself up behind the bathroom door/All along the white line/She can travel back in time/All along the white line/She can travel back in time.” (A better, less brash, but equally reflective song would be Joseph Arthurâ€™s “Black Lexus” which is really great song.)
7. Joseph Arthur, “In the Sun”
Joseph Arthur is a a good artist and this is perhaps his best song, certainly one of most interesting. The reason I love it is because, whether Arthur realizes it or not, it has great truth in it. “If I find/If I find my own way/How much will I find?” Joseph Arthur sings during the chorus and thatâ€™s perhaps one of the biggest truths which seems to be lost, both to the Church and Christian music: sin leads to death. Anything we find that is beside God will not bring any lasting peace or truth.
8. The Innocence Mission, “The Lakes of Canada”
It may be a mystery that the saddest, most affecting songs are often the most inspirational, hopeful ones. Perhaps because they, unlike most other songs, are willing to go to truly dark, honest places that others will not, and only then can they convey true hope. “The Lakes of Canada” is counted among, when I am forced with the impossible task, as one of my five favorite songs. “The Lakes of Canada” is amazing with how subtly, and poetically it addresses its themes which have found themselves in the best songs by Switchfoot, and many other artists by using nature and a virtually unmatched sense of simple yet striking imagery. “Oh laughing man what have you won?/Donâ€™t tell me what cannot be done/My little mouth, my winter lungs/Donâ€™t tell me what cannot be done . . . Rowing on the lakes of Canada/Rowing on the lakes of Canada.”
9. Derek Webb, “Wedding Dress”
Derek Webbâ€™s made more than his share of controversial songs, but none of his comments about modern politics can match the power in which his confessional “Wedding Dress” hits you with. Itâ€™s the kind of song that makes you thing, “If I ever write something as good as “Wedding Dress” . . .”
Not that this is a contest, but I think it’s the best Christian lyric of all time.
10. Josh Ritterâ€™s “California”
Iâ€™ve liked Ritterâ€™s music ever since the first moments of “California” played which is one of the many quiet, gentle folk masterpieces out there. The song begins with a hushed guitar melody and silently builds towards its emotive and unassuming tale which evokes feelings of loneliness and deep longing in the middle of the night. Itâ€™s, to say anything, my kind of music, itâ€™s emotive, slow, and gripping. “So I will work where work will find me/And I will take what comfort oh I can get/And Iâ€™ll be back when Iâ€™m good and ready/California doesnâ€™t seem to think Iâ€™m ready/Yet itâ€™s alright/Iâ€™ll be back and Iâ€™ll bring the sun to shine/In your eyes and your shoulders.”
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