Betty Duffy

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Playlist!

My husband and I have been kicking out the jams, which I'm pretty sure can mean whatever I want it to mean. In this case, we're working while listening to music. The kids are around during all of this, stepping in plaster and trekking it around the house.

I've been sort of glad, as we're blasting the tunes that I lost most of my old music when my computer crashed several months ago. I probably still have the CDs around here somewheres but I've been pretty careful about re-uploading A.) only music I actually want to hear and B.) music I wouldn't worry about my kids hearing. So many of those old college tunes--you can't trust 'em not to cuss or to make you feel moody and dark.

So it got me thinking, since I'm not a huge fan of Christian rock, and since classical music just doesn't keep me moving when I'm working, that I could compile a playlist of not really Christian rock songs that sort of pass for Christian rocks songs, or at least kid friendly adult music. And actually, some of these don't pass for rock songs, because my tastes run in the acoustic/ folksy/ bluesy sort of range, with an occasional dose of synth pop. May not be your thing at all.

Here's what I came up with.

Marty Robbins: "Love is Blue"
Sometimes I really want a moody song, and this one is "safe" moody. Which I think means that singing along to it actually makes you feel better.

Astrud Gilberto: "The Girl From Ipanema"
Still in a vintage mood, this cracks me up. When she passes, all they can think of to say is "Ahhh?"

Heart: Acoustic version "Alone"
I always want to sing along with Joni Mitchell, but my voice is too deep. So I sing along to Heart--and everybody loves it.

Nick Cave: "The Rider Song"
As my brother said, no one liked the movie, "The Proposition" as well as the makers of "The Proposition" but I'm a sucker for pretension of all stripes, especially cowboy pretension. So, I bought the soundtrack, and I love this song. The rest of the soundtrack is not so good, with the exception of "Clean Hands, Dirty Hands" which has a groovy bass line and actually does mention Jesus.

This one is synth pop, but the lyrics are about as homey as you can get. And whenever I get to the chorus, I alway find myself bouncing a little.
Lyrics: How do I master/ the perfect day/ six glasses of water/ seven phonecalls/ If you leave it alone/ it might just happen/ anyway/ It's not up to you/ Oh it never really was

Kevin Heider: "God in Austria"
Years ago, my brother-in-law used to come home on break from Steubenville raving about some friend of his who's in a band and to whom we just had to listen. And my husband and I would brace ourselves for yet another bad rendition of the latest Creed song sung by a college boy with a guitar. But one day, actually not too long ago, he brought us a song we could actually enjoy. This is it.

Blind Faith: "Presence of the Lord"
Same brother-in-law also came home once telling us we had to listen to this awesome band he just discovered called Led Zeppelin. And my husband was like, "That is what homeschooling gets you--a college kid who's never heard of Led Zeppelin." Of course, there are worse things then making it to adulthood without Led Zeppelin in your life. But anyway, I had a similar moment when I heard "Presence of the Lord." And I thought, I've got to get that song. Who is this band, "Blind Faith?" They must be new. And I looked them up and of course, it's a bunch of geezers from the sixties--Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, yadda yadda. Anyway, it's a great song. New to me. Probably old to everyone else.

I'm heavy on Sufijan Stevens:
I have to admit, I also like "Too Much" from his latest weird album, so sue me.

Starts out "I drink good coffee every morning." Only gets better.

Innocence Mission:
Pretty much anything by Innocence Mission is good, but I especially like "July" and "Going Away" from the Birds of My Neighborhood Album.

So what else? What great "will pass for sort of Christian" music am I missing?


Julia said...

Thanks for these. I tend to associate Christian music either with Hallmark movie soundtracks or bump-n-grind-for-Jesus rock. I'm not fond of either. Someone gave me a Marie Bellet CD a few years back, but it made me cry whenever I played it, and I didn't want my kids listening anyway.

So mainly we listen to a potpourri of Bach, Gilbert & Sullivan, Donut Man, and Sandra Boynton's hysterical kids' music. We listen to the Daughters of St Paul CDs at Christmas. Otherwise I eschew music for silence (or as much silence as a house full of kids will allow). The kids listen to show tunes while folding laundry.

I'll be interested in seeing what others suggest.

Oh -- and my oldest definitely went to college not ever having heard of Led Zeppelin, but she was only homeschooled through eighth grade.

Krissy A. said...

You should try some Mike Mangione and the Union band. He has some great folk rock, and though he is a practicing Catholic, you could listen to his music in a bar and never know! (Wait, that sounds funny.) What I mean is that it is not overtly Christian, just great lyrics and an awesome sound! My FAVORITE.

Aimee said...

I like Brooke Fraser; she's my token Christian singer. Personally, I think Paul Simon's "Graceland" is an awesome Fat-Tuesday-onto-Ash Wednesday Song, ("I've reason to believe we all will be received in graceland":) ). I like The Wood Song by the Indigo Girls as a quasi-religious song, and Enya's version of How Can I Keep From Singing. hey, this is fun!

Liza said...

This may not be your style, but have you listened to Colbie Callait? She is my favorite current pop artist because: a) her music is always uplifting and catchy b) it is nearly 100% kid friendly and c) her songs are all in my range (alto), so I can sing along. I highly recommend that you check her out!

Dorian Speed said...

Oh, but they don't just go, "Aaah." They go "aaah," in that ineffable Astrud Gilberto voice, which means something wayyyyy better than just your average "aaah."

Hmmm. That sounded rather smutty, which wasn't the intent.

That's pretty much my favorite album from my childhood (Getz/Gilberto.)

Rebecca Balmes said...

Try a band called Over the Rhine. The lead singer and the lead musician (he plays lots of instruments) are married Christians, and their music is kid-safe and Christian-safe but not classified as "Christian music". Check them out on Grooveshark.

Emily said...

I like "Le Loup," Fleetfoxes, Andrew Bird (although may not pass for Christian, it's definitely suitable for the whole family). Bare Naked Ladies has a GREAT kids CD, snacktime, if you don't already have it. that's all that's comin to mind at the moment.

Jen Ambrose said...

I would count Innocence Mission as Christian music, though they aren't Praise and Worship. Or maybe they are Christians that make music. Belle and Sebastian are likewise a band with openly Christian members. I adore them.

berenike said...

The Proclaimers!

berenike said...

(but not the one about Jean!)

Anonymous said...

I love the Wailin' Jennys- don't know if you have an I-phone, but there's a free app called Pandora. You put in someone you like and it plays practically ad-free radio of similiar music. It might be available on your computer as well. I love it so much I can't believe I lived without it; I am so happy to have music around again. Intend to like the same things you've mentioned, and I have the same concerns you do About keeping it kid safe.

Anna said...

'OHHHHH Jean! You let me get lucky with you!'
Hah, we listened to that ALLLL the way across Canada and ALLLL the way back. Someday my children will figure out what it all means!

JMB said...

I don't listen to Christian Rock, but I occasionally move the dial to the Coffee House from 8 on 80s and I've discovered some wonderful music again, and some of which has a new meaning for me.

Graham Parsons & Emmylou Harris - "Love Hurts" and "In my Hour of Darkness".

A side note - on the "Why I am Catholic" blog, Frank periodically posts music mondays. He recently did one on Pink Floyd. I'm a big Pink Floyd fan (although I still maintain that ELO is more talented), but I really enjoyed it.

I also love Danny Boy with Ruben Blades. Just about anything by David Gray.

I basically have no memory left for names of songs and artists that I like.

Peter and Nancy said...

My husband just discovered a great song writer & singer named Audrey Assad. (I listened to her song "Show Me" yesterday, and it's breathtaking.) That song is about redemption in suffering, and reads like a poem.

I also love Sweet Honey in the Rock (South African women -- awesome harmony.) And my kids LOVE the soundtrack to the Lion King (the Broadway musical, not the Disney movie).

Anonymous said...

Jars of Clay are Christian rock, but their album Good Monsters is one of my favorite albums of any genre. Every song is good, catchy, listenable, and not too literal (which is where a lot of Christian music loses me)... and "Oh My God" makes me cry every time I hear it.

Ellen said...

The Finches! They are a lot like Innocence Mission. I went to college with Kevin Heider. Great guy!

BettyDuffy said...

Wow, there is some good looking stuff here. Getting started tonight. Thanks everybody!

Denise said...

I listen to alot of country. I find that it varies from smutty to good christian stuff. One of my favorites is by Rodney Atkins, 'If your going through hell' Some lyrics go But the good news
Is there's angels everywhere out on the street
Holding out a hand to pull you back up on your feet
The one's that you've been dragging for so long
You're on your knees
You might as well be praying
Guess what I'm saying
Enjoyed reading this list and will look up some of the other suggestions as I don't really like christian rock.

karyn said...

I know what you mean. My kids love, love, love the Pogues - but I'm trying to figure out when they will be old enough to catch the cuss words. I think we're on the brink so, alas, no more Pogues until they move out to college.

I do love Bjork, though!

Do you ever use Pandora? You could enter some of these artists and it will give you other similar artists to listen to, all for free!

Anonymous said...

Three words:

Mumford and Sons.

They have one song with the f-bomb called Little Lion Man, so avoid that one. Otherwise, they are folky-rocky and alot of lyrics seem overtly religious, if not Christian. The lead singer is even a fan of Chesterton.

Here's a sample from an alley in Paris.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and maybe the Avett Brothers. Their live stuff can get a little wild sometimes, but check out their album Mignonette. That one is probably my favorite, but Live Vol. 2 is also fantastic.

Emily said...

Yes Mumford and Sons - love them!

Celeste said...

Mumford and Sons are really fun, like someone mentioned.

My husband and I listen to the Beatles almost all the time we're together and in the mood for music. With a little bit of The Cure and Weezer thrown in. So I'm really no help at all. :)

Lizzie said...

I could go on for hours about music but kid friendly, undercurrent of Christian message favourites have to be Johnny Cash,Emmylou Harris, Bjork, good old Sufjan and an amazing series of gigs/albums called The Transatlantic Sessions - just look up on you tube and you'll find loads of videos.

Also, there's a great series of albums aimed at children/families which are brilliant - you may know of them already but the company is called Putamayo. A really eclectic mix and all good stuff...especially their 'Playground' series.

I'd second Audrey Assad too - just discovered her and have her album on repeat at the moment along with Illinoise which I haven't listened to for ages.

Have a good weekend - enjoy all these new sounds!

Lizzie said...

By the way, I ain't going to sue you over The Age of's great...

Janet said...

I'm a country-listener, too. I second the ranges, so it's hard to just put on a station or even a CD. I try to watch the countdowns on, but I find myself having to skip so many songs because it's trash or trashy. George Strait - always safe. Also, Randy Travis, Josh Turner. Josh Turner. Oh, yeah, and Josh Turner. Colin Raye. Taylor Swift...mostly. Bryan White - he even had a new album recently. Also, note that at the end of every Brad Paisley album you find a good ol' traditional hymn. Cheers.