Four songs for 2014

A playlist that helps me remember what is important

January 15, 2014 | Young Voices
Aaron Epp | Young Voices Co-editor

At the end of December, I sat down with my journal and day planner to jot down my highlights of 2013. I quickly had a list of 32 events or milestones that I felt were significant. I grew a lot physically, mentally and spiritually last year, and I’m hoping that growth will continue in 2014 through things like A Year of Reading Biblically.

Part of my year-in-review reflecting included making a playlist of songs for 2014 that have been important to me in recent months. These songs remind me to keep pressing forward even when life seems difficult. Here is a look at four of them:

“Remember to Remember”
By Shad featuring Lights
From Flying Colours
Black Box Recordings, 2013.

Vancouver-based Shad has proven himself as one of Canada’s most deft hip-hop lyricists. The real treat for me is that not only are his songs clever and catchy, but he also weaves a social consciousness that is informed by his faith into his lyrics. Remembering where you came from is a recurring theme in Shad’s music, whether he’s referencing the story of Abraham and Isaac (“Rose Garden”) or talking about how being faithful to one’s beliefs—not building a legacy on earth—is what’s really important in life (“Live Forever”). With a chorus sung by pop singer Lights, “Remember to Remember” continues this tradition as Shad encourages listeners to remember that forgiveness, serving others and love are more important than worrying about status or wealth. Hear the song on Youtube.

“Free Life”
By Dan Wilson
From Free Life
American Recordings, 2007.

Many people are familiar with the 1998 song, “Closing Time,” by one-hit-wonders Semisonic. The band’s front man, Dan Wilson, released a solo album in 2007 that includes this gorgeous title track. Over gentle acoustic guitars and a pedal steel, Wilson sings in his tenor voice about the meaning of life. “In the air the questions hang / Will we get to do something? / Who are we gonna end up being? / How are we gonna end up feeling? / What are you gonna spend your free life on?” I’m almost 30 years old and I’ve continually thought about those questions over the last 12 or so years. This song reminds me to keep asking those questions. Hear it on Youtube.

“Thankful Heart”
By Michael Caine and The Muppets
From The Muppet Christmas Carol
Walt Disney Records, 1992.

Every Christmas, I watch the Muppets’ adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novella A Christmas Carol. “Thankful Heart” is the song Scrooge, played by legendary British actor Michael Caine, sings after he wakes up on Christmas morning with love and joy in his heart. “With a thankful heart / With an endless joy / With a growing family / Every girl and boy / Will be nephew and niece to me / Will bring love, hope and peace to me / Yes, and every night will end / And every day will start / With a grateful prayer / And a thankful heart.” This song is a good reminder that loving one’s neighbours and giving thanks to God for the many blessings in life are what truly matter. Hear the song on Youtube.

“God Is Good”
By Dustin Kensrue
From The Water & The Blood
Mars Hill Music, 2013

I’m not a big fan of contemporary worship music. So much of it is full of unhelpful theology. The Water & The Blood, Dustin Kensrue’s collection of worship music, is an exception. The album consists of 11 simple songs for worship that focus on drawing closer to God in times of both triumph and struggle. The standout track, “God is Good,” is an anthemic reminder that even when life doesn’t seem to be working out the way I would like it to, and I’m not sure how things are going to work out for me in a particular situation, I can trust—and lean on—God, who is good. Hear an acoustic version of the song on Youtube.

--Posted Jan. 15, 2014

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