I don’t know about you, but I like to listen to music while I write, and frequently the words or mood of a song will inspire a story or connect to one of my stories in a special way.
For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post I’ve chosen to share ten examples of the music that has spoken to me the most.
1. “Glory to God” – Matthew Ward, Armed and Dangerous
This song begins with a lilting descent that ends on a trill, a fascinating draft that repeats (with musical variation) for the opening chorus — this sequence is one of White Mesa’s recognition signals 😉.
Paired with this energetic yet flowery melody, the lyrics are a beautiful prayer for praising God.
2. “Fall Apart” – Josh Wilson, See You
Another prayer with a beautiful melody, this song can speak to anyone who feels like their “whole world is caving in”. It also helps recenter and refocus one on seeking and desiring God no matter what storms are blowing.
I found this song especially meaningful & inspiring for the characters in Hayes and Hayes (can you guess which chapter?).
3. “Sock Heaven” — Steve Taylor, Squint
Steve Taylor’s lyrics read like someone dropped an M. C. Escher painting, and when the shattered fragments came to rest they spelled out, “Return to God.”
While choosing a favorite Taylor album is difficult, “Sock Heaven” ranks above the other songs because it expresses our common human frailties and fears, then refocuses on the truth that God knows what He’s doing with out lives, and one day, perhaps, we’ll see everything “from [His] angle.”
My experience in trying to get something going with a label in, man, in like the early ’80s, was I took it around to some pop labels and they said, “We like the music but the lyrics would offend our listeners,” and of course then I went to Christian labels and they said, “We don’t like the music and the lyrics would offend our listeners,” so on both sides. But yeah, when that song was written, I was still trying to sort it all out.
—Steve Taylor, Press Conference ’95
4. “A Principled Man” — Steve Taylor, I Predict 1990; Now the Truth Can Be Told
Under a flag They swore a bond; Caught under fire they ran.
Are you the one Standing your ground? Are you a principled man?
This song also features a beautiful, swooping, hard-to-nail melody, and a verse that acknowledges the Principled Man from whom all true principles flow (making my Christian-worldview-loving heart swoon).
To avoid turning this into “My 10 Favorite Steve Taylor Songs,” I’ll just mention two more worthy entrants. The first tells the story of a Christian “running the race” and emerging muddy but victorious; the second is about prison ministry, specifically to death-row inmates. Both talk about the triumphant grace and strength of God.
6. “In the Light” — dc Talk, Jesus Freak (Charlie Peacock also performed a version)
This song is energetic, dance-worthy, and, once again, a beautiful prayer. It also plays delightful acrobatics with language:
What’s goin’ on inside of me?
I despise my own behavior.
This only serves to confirm my suspicions
That I’m still a man in need of a savior!
(To which my father frequently replies, “If you’re a man, you really need a savior!”)
7. “Grave Robber” — Petra, Not of This World
There are so many good songs, and so little time, but one of the best of the best is this song about when “Death will be swallowed in sweet vic-to-ry!”
Bouncy, hopeful, and full of Scripture, it faces our fear of death, then swells into the chorus to crow in triumph about our ultimate everlasting life in Christ.
8. Oni Soundtrack — Various
Having mentioned that I like music while I write, I should share some of the instrumental pieces that I like best.
Oni is a little-known third-person combat game with a gripping dystopian/sci-fi story by Bungie. Listening to its tracks always fills my mind with cool combat sequences, spinning kicks, and purple hair. It’s fantastic for anyone who needs a beat for their car chase or fight scene.
9. “Lullaby Set” — Kammen & Swan, Music from Braid; Wild Wood
Sometimes you need a more calming piece. This hypnotic string melody is used in the soundtrack of the puzzle/platform game Braid, but is also available on the artists’ separate album and Soundcloud.com.
10. “Let the Rain Fall Down” — Larry Norman, Footprints In The Sand; Stranded in Babylon
Larry Norman was my introduction to rock music, and he opened up a whole new world for me. While choosing a favorite song is difficult, this one has won out (for today).
I didn’t know You were my Father; I thought You were the hanging judge.
And when I came into Your courtroom I thought you’d hold a grudge.
I thought I was a lowly servant – I didn’t know I was Your son –
And I didn’t know You had forgiveness for anything I might have done!
RIP, good and faithful servant.