I love music. I love it so much that even in preparing a sermon I almost always have a collection of songs from different artists that becomes an anthem or sermon soundtrack for the week. In 2011 I’ve been listening to a wide array of artists and musical genres. I just wanted to list a couple of artists, songs, and albums that I have seen God in or just straight-up inspired me to be more than I have been.
This sister has a voice that just reaches down into your soul. If you’ve ever had a broken heart or fallin’ in love Adele’s music takes you back and forward from brokeness to discovering love to healing. She paints a beautiful picture with her voice and lyrics. Deeply soulful. Her latest album ’21’ is a masterpiece of blue-eyed soul. I remember I’d go weeks with this album on repeat listening to nothing else. The chorus at the end of the song ‘One and Only’ has got to be one of those classic verses in soul music. “Nobody’s perfect. I know it ain’t easy. Giving up your heart.”
I have to be honest. Until this year I’ve never seriously listened to Christian Hip-Hop. Lecrae and Sho Baraka have made me a believer. These brother’s gospel artistry is truly incarnational. They bring with them testimonies, the rhythm of the streets, crazy flo, soulful beats, and a powerful redemptive message.
Estonian composer Arvo Part, composer Henryk Gorecki and post-rock band Mono represent symbiotic sub-genres of classical and rock music. Holy minimalism requires a deep attentiveness and listening ear for the sacred. They reminded me this past year that God is literally everywhere. Even in the most mundane/everyday aspects of life.
Particular songs and album: Arvo Part’s song “Lord’s Prayer”, Henryk Gorecki’s “Gorecki: Symphony No. 3, Mono’s “Hymn To The Immortal Wind”.
Creative genius is a phrase that comes to mind when I think of Chopin. But this particular piece deeply inspires me. There are three movements in this specific piece that cause me to take a journey inward and outward. Hard to put in words.
Its been a while since I’ve listened to this kind of praise music. But I find something very raw and beautiful with many of the songs on this album. In particular, the voice of Kim Walker-Smith. She’s a very gifted worship leader. Two songs from this album have been a part of my own moments of adoration before God: Holy and Light of Your Face.
Lupe (Wasalu Muhammad Jaco) is my favorite rapper and hip-hop artist. Lupe gives me hope to a genre that was declared by poet Nasir Jones (Nas) as dead. Lupe is one of the few luminaries in rap that anchor the genre in a morass of crass materialism, misogyny, violence, self-hatred, and racism. Every song on this album is worth a listening. Lupe has also taught me how to further respect the cultural and religious ‘other’. Lupe is a Muslim. His stunning and creative lyrics that unveil the systemic corruption in the American empire and gives global examples of hope further reveals the common grace of the Creator.