// sunday music: songs about Bible characters

Three awesome and eccentric songs from a range of artists today – although I suppose you could class one of them as a cheat.

Pick number one is the mighty sufjan stevens with Abraham, a song from his first acoustic album Seven Swans. It’s a glorious and chilled piece, with a kind of drowsy tone that fits the Old Testament story perfectly. Sufjan has long been an inspiration for a whole generation of contemporary Christians who like the more idiosyncratic side of music, and it’s not hard to see why:

Pick number two is Brooke Fraser, who famously wrote the Hillsong United song Hosanna, which you can listen to here (it’s been covered to death lately, but there’s a power to the original that nobody has yet managed to match, in my eyes at least. The album which it’s from, All of the Above, is a cracker, too).

The song is Hosea’s Wife, and it’s another triumph of thoughtful lyricism, something she does well. Sorry about the video – the official version wouldn’t embed again. But if it appeals to you, i’d also recommend Crows and Locusts, from Brooke’s new album, which you can get here. Here’s the song:

And finally, pick three is, of course, Regina Spektor with Samson. The official video (which is here) won’t embed and so i’ve had to post a live version, which is nonetheless pretty amazing. Watch the video if you get chance, though.

I’ve said this is something of a cheat because it’s actually a story about a lover who died from cancer – I didn’t know that wonderbread is recommended as a help for cancer sufferers, either, but that explains a lot. That said, though, Regina comes from a Jewish background and there’s a lot to be said for taking the old stories and re-imagining them for your own circumstances. I’ve got a lot of love for this song, anyway, not least because it’s beautiful poetry, sliding in and out from the lines of the Biblical story to try and articulate how we relate to tragic circumstances. Listen to it here:

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And that’s sunday music for this week!

Let me know your thoughts, and I’ll see you next Friday.

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