As anyone who has iTunes knows, the newest album from U2 was automatically added, for free, to users “purchased” folder. With no effort, and no cost, Songs of Innocence was just … there.
Some people complained. Others critiqued the music. As for me, I was just glad I could figure out where the songs were, and how to move them to my iTunes playlist. It took me and my non-Apple-programmed mind a bit longer than it should have. While others were worried about Big Brother, I was happy just to find the songs.
For I learned a long time ago how important music is to me. It lifts me up when I’m down. It makes me smile. It makes me think. It reminds me what I believe. It reminds me that I am human.
I think that’s what the best art does. It reminds us who we are. Whether it’s music, or movies, or poetry, or a great story – the best art tunes us into the truth about us. And sometimes that comes packaged in Christian content, and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes I am challenged by a Christian book, and sometimes I am gripped by a Hollywood movie. Or a song by U2. Or Dave Brubeck. Or Mat Kearney.
The list goes on. But in the interest of claiming my little piece of the blogosphere for music that I think is essential for the human journey (and the journey of faith), here are the top five groups I want spinning on my playlist:
- Lost Dogs. My all-time favorite band. Simply the best story-telling in music I know.
- The 77s. If you stick me on a deserted island with only a cassette player and one cassette, I’d bring along Sticks & Stones. (And yes, I still do have the cassette version of this album.) And If I had landed on that island because of my own stupidity, I would be able to listen to God Sends Quails over and over – my favorite song about failure. (Hmmm, is it okay to have a favorite “failure” song?)
- Nickel Creek. Bringing bluegrass into the 21st century, one smooth mandolin lick at a time.
- The Call. If you’ve never heard of these guys, give a listen to “I Still Believe.” And keep believin’.
- Over the Rhine. What a voice. What an album. And what a nice rendition of the best song on that album.
Anyway, those are some of the musicians and songs that keep me going. Any that you would add?