Here’s another installment of Playlist Palaver. I provide the song title, artist, and album along with my favorite or most thematically relevant lyric, followed by a brief commentary. Discussion is strongly encouraged. What should be added? What doesn’t belong? This list is by no means intended to be THE exhaustive list of songs that fit this theme, merely my interpretation. This playlist is influenced by my own available pool of music and as you’ll see, I don’t typically have a wide variety of artists loaded on my phone. For some artists I add a secondary “Honorable Mention” song. This list is comprised of songs that make me think of what comes next.
1. “Where the Streets Have No Name” by U2, Joshua Tree
Lyric: “We’re beaten and blown by the wind, trampled in dust. I’ll show you a place high on a desert plain, where the streets have no name.”
Commentary: I love how this song contrasts the fleeting nature of our lives here with a city that is eternal and lasting.”
(Honorable Mention: “Walk On” from All That You Can’t Leave Behind)
2. “Glorious Day” by The Village Church, God of Victory
Lyric: “Rising he justified freely forever, one day he’s coming. Oh glorious day!”
Commentary: This album was recorded by my church’s worship band and it is such a blessing to have them. Songs like this make me think of the happy side of the apocalypse.
3. “Closer Than We Think” by The Classic Crime, The Silver Cord
Lyric: “I still hold the belief that we are free, that we don’t need the rules to see that despite what we’ve done we’re not alone. We’re closer than we think to home.”
Commentary: This rings of the “heaven in the real world” idea. It reminds me that we can be so wrong and things can be very bad, but there’s salvation and real hope in our world now that reflects a greater reality in the next.
(Honorable Mention: “Far From Home” by The Classic Crime, Acoustic EP, The Seattle Sessions)
4. “In Exile” by Thrice, Beggars
Lyric: “I am a pilgrim, a voyager, I wont rest until my lips touch the shore of the land that I’ve been longing for as long as I’ve lived, where there’ll be no pain or tears anymore.”
Commentary: This is a worship song for me, I would sing it every Sunday at church if I could. It uses every possible word or metaphor for being in a state of transient. It’s filled with discomfort, joy, longing, and hope. Also check out Joey’s post about this song.
5. “Stall Out” by MuteMath, MuteMath
Lyric: “We are still far from over.”
Commentary: It starts slowly and hauntingly and builds into a long repeated refrain. It’s not strictly about heaven, but it is about being hopeless and insufficient in our current state. Being “still far from over” is a beautifully understated picture of eternity. A friend of mine says he wants this played at his funeral. I don’t want to be a copycat, but I want that too.
6.”Where I Belong” by Switchfoot, Vice Verses
Lyric: “And when I reach the other side, I want to look You in the eye and know that I’ve arrived in a world where I belong.”
Commentary: Songs with this theme seem to make up about half of Switchfoot’s catalog, so there’s no shortage of options here. However, this most recent iteration takes the cake for me. The marching beat and choral background makes this song so freaking epic. Switchfoot is so great at capturing a sense of dissatisfaction with this world and longing for a better one. The lyric I chose is the most moving part for me because it emphasizes that where we ultimately belong is not a place but with a person. I have a difficult time listening to this song in public because it makes….my contacts irritated….
(Honorable Mentions: “Meant to Live” and “The Beautiful Letdown” from The Beautiful Letdown, “The Setting Sun” and “Politicians” from Nothing is Sound, “This is Home” from the Prince Caspian soundtrack.”
7. “Deathbed” by Relient K, Five Score and Seven Years Ago
Lyric: “I can smell the death on the sheets covering me, I can’t believe this is the end. I can hear you whisper to me, ‘It’s time to leave, you’ll never be lonely again.’ But this was my deathbed, I died there alone. When I closed my eyes tonight, you carried me home.”
Commentary: Those lyrics are from the end of this longish song. The lead up describes a man’s life filled with pain, tragedy, loss, and terrible decisions. The Bible talks about how Jesus has conquered death, but it’s unclear exactly what that means. The preacher at our church has a (completely speculative) theory about this. He thinks that maybe Christians don’t actually have an experience of dying. When we’re close to the end, Jesus just shows up and says, “Hey, let’s get out of here…” This song is a great depiction of that idea…..I think I have something in my eye……