On Easter morning, I opened the music app on my phone and noticed something: . Spotify doesn’t recommend a Resurrection Sunday playlist. Or even an Easter playlist. If it had been October 4, instead of April 4, they would have already been recommending a Christmas playlist. So why not Easter?
Then it occurred to me: there is no specific Easter playlist because, in a way, every Christian song is an Easter song. Every song about Jesus is ultimately a resurrection song. But I would also go further: even songs that highlight our brokenness and longing can still be Easter songs, of sorts, in that they point to the human desire for Defeat not to have the last word in our lives. So, maybe we don’t have an Easter playlist because it’s not that different from having an everyday playlist.
So, from my personal playlist, there are songs that are explicitly resurrection-hope type songs, such as I Still Believe, a powerful cry of faith by Derri Daugherty. For me, this is a modern Psalm, with lament, defiance, and tenacious faith. Derri sings this in a fall-to-your-knees style. For a stand-up-and-shake-your-fist version, listen to the original by The Call.
But there’s also Ashokan Farewell, by Jay Ungar & Molly Mason & the Family Band. It’s haunting, and hauntingly beautiful – an instrumental longing for more than this broken world has to offer.
How about Jesus in New Orleans by Over the Rhine? It reminds us that even when we’re not looking, Jesus has a way of showing up. And when he shows up, Love Takes Over the World. If this Lost Dogs tune isn’t an Easter song, what is?
So, in a way, I think it’s fair to say that Easter music is all over. Some of it is obvious, like my favorite Resurrection Day hymn. But some isn’t obvious, and may not even be intended as such by the writer – such as Winter In My Heart or Everybody Hurts. Embedded in each song is the essential human longing for hope – for a love that cannot be defeated and will never end. In other words, both songs, and many more like them, reflect an ache for there to be more – and so, as far as I’m concerned, are appropriate members of an Easter playlist.
So, I’ll continue listening to artists that point to, and celebrate, the hope we have, as a part of my Easter playlist – a list that will play any day of the year.