Saturday, January 17, 2004



I've been driving around town the last couple of days with a Bon Jovi compilation pounding out of my CD player. A collection of the hits and some eclectic stuff they have done over the years. One song that never fails to catch my ear is HEY GOD! This got me to thinking (Don't worry I have no plans to appear on your doorstep with magazines in the near future) about how musicians deal with a Higher Spiritual being in their music. And so this weeks Fives, Five songs that I've resurrected that seem to resonate a tone of belief (or lack thereof in some cases)..

BON JOVI-" Hey God! ", like I mentioned it's been rattling around in my head the last few days with one of the catchiest guitar riffs that just suggests urgency. The lyrics are in the form of a question of faith "Hey God, tell me what the hell is going on", "Do You ever think about me". The song lives with people at the end of their rope, begging, pleading actually, for some help, a sign something is going to change for the better. The song builds through it's 6 minutes and ten seconds and at the end you're not sure if the belief is still there, or if it has been shattered beyond repair.

BOB DYLAN-" Gotta Serve Somebody ", written during Dylans much discussed and obsessed over period of perceived Christianity. His fans didn't quite know what to make of his themed album, titled Slow Train Coming. Though it wouldn't be the first time that he provided them with something unexpected. Wasn't a preachy kind of song, but it showcased his songwriting quite nicely. He touches all segments of society rich, poor, entitled and dis-enfranchised, all are equal with the knowledge that they have to Serve Somebody. We're left with the thought that we will have to answer for ourselves come that day.

VAN MORRISON-" Whenever God Shines His Light On Me ". A light bouncy feel to the song that can actually get you singing along if you're not too careful. We're left with no doubt that Van believes all will be well, if only we believe. The song builds upon itself as it progresses, indeed the song seems to lift just as the lyrics advise us that we'll be on higher ground. As his career has evolved through the years Morrison has touched Religious themes more and more. This was a nice soothing little ditty, which definitely has a message to it.

THE BEATLES-" Let It Be " A Song even the Bishops at the Vatican could probably agree with. From the opening piano riff to the very last lingering note it's a powerful testimony for faith. McCartney's voice is strong and gives you solace that someone out there cares. The gospel feel to the song builds and builds and builds, the church organ break leading into the guitar work is a great bridge. By the time four minutes has elapsed you feel renewed. And the ending is the perfect punctuation mark for the song.

U2-" Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For " One of my favourite U2 songs ever. It's a testimony to the search for love, for belief. As the song begins the music sets the scene of a journey, you can almost see someone walking off through the mountains and fields. Angels, devils, crosses and Kingdom Come all find their way into the narrative. The middle bridge just makes you think of someone wandering aimlessly in search of what? Faith, Hope, a sense of place or peace. As the song winds down, Bono is still searching, with the music trailing off you can still sense him seeking some kind of sign that the journey will end soon. On the Joshua Tree this song segues nicely into "With or Without You", which provides more questions than answers. Some pretty great songwriting and arranging on this album. It's a work that makes you think.

I'm sure you can think of your own list of songs (Sympathy for the Devil won't be accepted by the way, unless you identify yourself as a Satanist I guess) Feel free to send in your suggestions using the ContactPodunk link on the right hand side of this blog. Be forewarned your list may end up as a feature on atowncalledpodunk, so use a pseudonym if you don't want folks trying to save your soul!

No comments: