I made this CD for a friend I'd been out of touch with for a while,so I had to catch him up. Here's the tracklist with some explanations.
1. I Don't Wanna Waste Your Time: Over the Rhine
I love Over the Rhine, they are unbelievable writers, Karin has this amazing unique voice and they have a great sound. This is the opening track of their most recent album and both times I've seen them live they've opened with it and, well, I have a hard time these days NOT opening a CD with this song because it's so perfect! I don't want to waste your time! And I LOVE the "when it comes to what is real there's no such thing as greed." The whole impetus behind this song of wanting their music to MEAN something- that just completely resonates with me.
2. Swing Life Away: Rise Against
My friend Eli put this song on a mix CD she made me and for some reason I just really like it. There's something carefree and simple about it, something basic and joyful and I love that. I also just love the image of swinging on a front porch, getting by on minimum wage, and sharing each others woundedness. It's a good thing.
3. Used to Love: Judd & Maggie
Judd & Maggie are a Catholic brother/sister duo who actually Mario introduced me to a few years back. I think their music just keeps getting better, they have this great artistic indie sound, to me, and they're just cool. I went to see them and Steven Delopoulos at this little coffee shop near my neighborhood in Chicago and got to hang out with them for like an hour and they're ridiculously Catholic and really true to their unique voice. I think the combination is really winning. I love this song because it's *so* love-and-responsibility, personalistic, theology-of-the-body, etc. Plus it's catchy. :)
4. Even in the Darkness: Rue Royale
A band I randomly saw at the same aforementioned coffee shop, this time husband and wife duo and despite their Postal Service-esque sound, they really do sound like this live which is impressive. I love the imagery of this song and relate to it.
5. To Be Alone With You: Sufjan Stevens
For some reason this became my Advent/Christmas theme song. I think it's really Incarnational- what Jesus did to be "alone" with us. Plus this whole album has this fantastic surreal feel to it.
6. In the Secret of His Presence: Sandra McCracken
So this song is actually based off of a 200 year old hymn by Isaac Watts (who is one of my songwriting heroes) but I think it captures Eucharistic adoration perfectly. It really expresses exactly how I feel, not to mention Sandra has such a lovely voice and I love this arrangement, it's so sparse and beautiful.
7. Who Can Ascend: Jon Shirley
I became obsessed with this song during Lent07. Well, I guess it's an extension of my obsession with Psalm 24. But anyway, it's pretty clear why someone desperate to climb the mountain of the Lord and see His face would love this song. And that's why I love it. Plus I think it builds really well and I think it is a true worship song in the sense that it really is a cry out to the Lord.
8. All I know: 100 Portraits (Ben and Robin Pasley)
9. Father of My Dreams: Nick Carleton Band
Okay, admittedly this song is slightly cheesy (mainly the title, I'm sure they could have thought of a better one) but who DOESN'T relate to it?! "You gave me Jesus and I fight to pray"?! I was won over right there. This is a local Colorado band and I went to see them live at a coffeeshop here and was BLOWN AWAY, really. The guy singing, you can't tell so much in this song but he has an incredible range! Anyway, simple as the lyrics are I think they say something profound and jubilant nonetheless.
10. Servant of All: Misty Edwards
11. He Loves Me (at this point called the "ooh ooh song"): Enter the Worship Circle (VERY rough demo)
This is an excerpt from their podcast to demonstrate some of the qualities I love the most about the Pasleys- they just take something and RUN with it! Seriously being in a room where music and prayer are just bouncing around off the walls, they're so great. All of their songs have this great raw edge and it's all super-acoustic: hand drums, guitars, random stuff. I love the part of this little thing where they are literally just throwing stuff out, "and now Robin sings!" and I love the part where Ben's voice goes crazy and where he says "he freaks out and pours good stuff all over my head." Now THAT'S a great interpretation of the psalms...
12. He Loves Me: Enter the Worship Circle (Ben and Robin Pasley)
So here is the version on the album and I still love the intimacy of it. The lyrics are great- just the discussion of God's totally undeserved and unreserved love for us. Their songs really make me want to yell the words along, LET'S GO WITH HE LOVES ME!
13. Everything Glorious: David Crowder Band
So this song just won a GMA award for, like, best worship song of 2007 or something. Funnily enough I fell in love with it in the summer of '06 when Claire and I drove all over the western united states (GRAND CANYON! possibly my favorite place in America...) but everywhere we went I had to confront exactly what Crowder says here "you make everything glorious...and I am Yours. What does that make me?" Because everything WAS so so so glorious... on a dorky sidenote the part that says "my eyes are small but they have seen the beauty of enormous things," I later heard mewithoutYou say something very similar on the song you'll hear later and realized I think both songs are actually referencing the same Rumi poem. SHARED SOURCETEXT, WOO!
14. For the Morning: Alli Rogers
I love Alli Rogers. This is one of those songs that sort of defies description: it's poetic and evocative, scriptural and personal, awe-filled and emotional, it is just so... I don't know, it is so easy to get lost in. To pray with, to inspire hope, just great.
15. This Too Shall Be Made Right: Derek Webb
I saw Derek in Chicago and he opened with this song from his newest album (which hadn't been released yet at the time) and I was like...."yup, this is why I LOVE Derek Webb."
16. When the Saints: Sara Groves
If I didn't try to hold it back, this song would make me weep every time I hear it. Maybe it's because all of the examples she gives of modern sainthood- I feel like I know people doing those things and just the beauty of it overwhelms me. On Matt Maher's new album I really like the "Shine like the Sun" song for the same reason- the hands and feet of those who serve the poor are SO BEAUTIFUL and the places they work and live in obscurity...it's like, that's the kingdom- IT'S AMONG US NOW! And so often we are SO caught up in other totally unimportant things that we miss it, at least I do, and this song reminds me that there is a place for me among that cloud of witnesses, I just have to have faith and finish the race. Really, it's so inspiring to me.
17. Good Good End: Waterdeep
Ah, Waterdeep. From the opening second this song is so eclectic and totally owned by Don and Lori Chaffer. I just love the heart of this song "it's a long hard road with a good good end." Just the kind of nonplussed wonder as we get to join them in stepping back and being amazed by life and our own eternity.