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Now those are some good lyrics . . .

In Books, Movies and Television on April 12, 2015 at 6:12 pm

Praise 1I’m a big fan of Josh Garrels and his latest album, Home, was just released.  (He’s giving it away! Click here to download. [Don’t forget to give a tip.])

I often lament that the lyrics of so many of the songs Christians sing are artless.

Not so with Josh Garrels.

Here are a few fragments of Josh’s lyrics from this new album.  This artful poetry combined with his incredible talent as a musician (and his unique voice) make Josh Garrels my favourite singer songwriter, Christian or otherwise.

From “Born Again”:

Instincts are guiding me

Like a beast to some blood

And I can’t get enough

From “Born Again”

Running scared in between what I hate

And what I need

Savior and enemy are both trying

To take my soul

From “Colors”

So let all the creatures sing

Praises over everything

Colors are meant to bring

Glory to the light

From “A Long Way”

There’s a time in our lives

To return, sacrifice

Wild grass has grown high

On the path between our lives

From “The Arrow”

How on earth did it all go down like this? I’ve got no words to make sense of it My shield, my fight for righteousness Could not protect me from myself

From “At the Table”

‘Cause I lost some nameless things

My innocence flew away from me

She had to hide her face from my desire

To embrace forbidden fire

But at night I dream

She’s singing over me

Oh, oh, my child

From “Benediction”

As the days unfold

Hold your breath to see

Life is a mystery

And joy, it is severe

When the way is rough and steep

But love will make your days complete

Praise Songs: Sound

In Rants on June 2, 2013 at 1:20 am

Praise 1I am totally cheating on this one.  I’m using a song that will not likely be sung in church.

But I just have to share Josh Garrels with anyone who will listen.  His music is incredible.  You don’t need to be a Christian to think so.  He’s just good and he writes what is true, and it’s beautiful.

Praise and worship songs usually get the sound right, at least in the general sense.  Probably without really thinking about it–songs with happy words are usually happy.

But poets, and by this I also mean songwriters, can manage this on a line by line level.  Josh Garrels frequently does.  Listen to this song and attend to where the music changes slightly.  The words and the music work together.  This is no accident.

 Slip Away


 Hold on, before I slip away

 The flames gone, dark I am afraid

 How strong, is flesh and blood

 I cannot, can take back what I’ve done

 To you, my sweetest friend

 I betrayed you, I walked away again

 Now all that’s left, is what might have been

 Please forgive me, before we reach the end

Hold on, before I slip away

 My loves gone cold, I’ve gone astray

 How strong, is flesh and blood

 I cannot take back what I’ve done

I find the correspondence of sound to sense in the poetry of this song greatly enhances the experience of it as a whole.  This correspondence could also significantly contribute to the corporate worship experience.  Some sounds suggest strength, others suggest sadness.  What sounds suggest joy?  What might happen to the musical line when singing about regret?

Again, if the sound doesn’t work with what the words say, that’s not so bad, but when the sound of the song contradict the sense, it’s a bad song.  Unless of course the writer is being ironic.  Are there ANY ironic praise and worship songs? Hmmm….

More Josh Garrels here.

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