Monday, December 14, 2009

"Five More Mystical Songs" ...including CCR, of course

I love that fact that "Five Mystical Songs," a composition by by Ralph Vaughan Williams,
consisted of "mystical" poems by George Herbert, a believer and a priest..even though Williams was agnostic.

God finds his mystics anywhere..even if they say believe they don't believe.
Try on some Cioran, for example..he comments on music and mysticism here.

Mark DeRaud, (that's his painting at left, read more about his art, and "revelatory art" here) in seminars all over the place asks something like "How many of you have had an encounter with God so dramatic that you have been afraid to talk about it?"

No matter what the setting, hands go up.

I think we are overdue for some mystical encounters being put to music.
(Just no cheesy CCM, please.)

Singing about it may be the first best only response.

Beats talking.

Here are five "mystical songs" in my catalogue:

  • "Walking on the Water" by Creedence Clearwater Revival

We're not in "Suzy Q" anymore, Dorothy, with this CCR song. Was John Fogerty, author of "Born on the Bayou," born again by the river?
...Surely someone over the years has asked John Fogerty if this is simply a retelling/recasting of the gospel account of Peter. But the man sure sings it with chilling ownership, and as a first person narrative of personal mystical encounter. He sounds like the encounter with Jesus scares the hell out of him.
Hope it did.
The narrator swears after one conversation with Jesus behind his  (the narrator's) house, he'll never leave his house again.
Sounds like church to me (:

Interesting note: the song has been covered by Richard Hell and the Voidoids.

  • "Supper's Ready" by Genesis amazing 24 minute apocalyptic opus..inspired when Peter Gabriel and his wife, freaked by evil manifestations in a home, frantically found a spontaneous exorcism ritual that worked...or "a personal journey which ends up walking through scenes from Revelation in the Bible....I'll leave it at that."[1]

Gabriel's passion of course, was palpable live, when he held up the light at the end and bellowed "Lord of Lords, King of Kings..." Later versions with Phil Collins on vocals, are also deeply moving. Man, he sang that line (bottom clip, 7:10ff )like his life depended on it.
Maybe it does.

  • "Solsbury Hill" by Peter Gabriel

Gabriel always claimed the song was about his leaving Genesis. Yeah, part, it is.
Much like U2 sometimes does, Gabriel intentionally shied away from religious symbolism in the video..but drew his fish in the sand of the lyrics. I mean, read the words.It's encounter.
And check out the joy...and Pentecostal pogo that he and St Tony Levin partake in all over this live version:

  • "I Am Electric," by The Violet Burning. (play)

Michael Pritzl writes in the liner notes (to the vibe version, not the original, linked above) that the song was inspired by how he and some friends felt while lost in worship. Here the mystical feel comes as much or more in the music than the lyric. But this is the guy who prays through his guitar.
Is that mystical enough?

Okay, I don't have time for a fifth example (yes, I know about the song where God sends prophetic text messages over a phone with no service), so

post one in the comments below (or at the facebook mirror of this post.\
Sequel below...make it six:

Glitch in the LooneyTunes LiminalVertigo Bus

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