Every year at Epic Pew, I reflect on the music I’ve listened to or been introduced to. There is an incredible amount of secular songs that aren’t explicitly Catholic or Christian that still point us toward the Almighty.
Here are this year’s picks for secular songs that can draw you close to the Father:
“Just a Little” by Leigh Nash
Leigh Nash is the lead singer of the band Sixpence None the Richer and this song is off of her debut solo album. The first time I heard this song (years ago!), it pierced my heart. I gained a new understanding of what real Love is and also about the Sorrows of Mary and Jesus’s Passion and Death.
These lyrics in particular stick out to me: “Love breaks your heart, to teach you to be strong. I die just a little, so I can live a little bit more.”
Leigh’s lyrics makes a nice parallel to the Prophecy of Simeon: “Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce)- so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
“You’ve Got So Far to Go” by Alkaline Trio
This song talks about that last night together, the last time you might see these people for a very long time as you all go your separate ways and embark on new adventures. Taking that last chance and sending off into the void with a bang.
How on earth could this song possibly bring anyone closer to God? There are actually a couple ways.
This song is a metaphor for death, those last moments on earth with those we cherish before going on the grandest of adventures – eternal life; making this life count. In another sense, this song serves as a reminder that whatever ends we are facing in life, perhaps tragic or joyful or bittersweet, they are not the final end and that there is more awaiting us..
Alkaline Trio’s lyrics serve as a reminder that every moment lived in Christ is a great adventure, though unknown, and to embrace it.
“Africa” by Toto
The band has said that this song came about by watching a late night infomercial on charities serving the poor children in Africa. Obviously, this song can bring to the mind the Works of Mercy.
The resounding chorus of, “I bless the rains down in Africa” also brings to mind Saint Francis’s Canticle of the Sun and also of the Canticle of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego praising the Lord as they were thrown into the fiery furnace.
“Praying” by Ke$ha
If a celebrity entrenched in the secular world can remember to pray for those who persecute her, certainly Christians can and should even more easily.
Ke$ha sings, “I hope you’re somewhere praying, praying. I hope your soul is changing, changing. I hope you find your peace. Falling on your knees, praying. Oh, sometimes, I pray for you at night. Oh, someday, maybe you’ll see the light.”
What Ke$ha wants for someone who did her real harm is that person’s goodness and conversion. She desire for this person to also come to the light.
Her lyrics are reminiscent of something Jesus told us to do: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.”
“The Hills Are Alive” by Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music
The mountains give the feeling of grandeur. A mountainous landscape makes you aware that you’re part of something so much greater than yourself. The mountains reflect the vastness and grandeur of God!
This song is an ode to the peace and calm and excitement and zeal they bring. But that peace is only a reflection of God’s peace. The calm is only a reflection of the calm of being in His care. Our excitement is only a shadow of the adventure of God. The zeal is just a fraction of the fullness of life in Him.
As they climb up to the sky, mountains point us ever more towards their Creator and ours, that we might not forget to look for Him everywhere.