Each year I compile a CD for my mates Anna and Sarah. In the past it’s been made up of new music I’ve discovered, or music that has been important to me over the year. More recently it’s had far too much child friendly music on it due to the clamouring voices in the back of the car for the approved small boy song list. (Which right now just seems to include the Frozen soundtrack leading to long arguments between me and son1 as to whether she sings ‘the cold never bothered me anyway’ or the ‘cloak never bothered me anyway’. Clearly it’s cold but try proving that to a small boy who can’t read… argh)
This year I think I listened to two bands that were new to me. This year I could barely count the songs I had discovered. Thus I gave up on the theme to the CD and curated a CD purely reflecting the year we have had. 2016 was a pretty crap year, all things considered. It was dominated by husbandface’s depression, throw in the large amount of people who died, Brexit and Trump and things start to look more than a little grim.
These songs walked with me through the year. They help me express the darkness and bring hope to that darkness. So here goes, my tour of 2016 in the medium of song:
- Hard to Get- Rich Mullins.
I can’t fault this song. He rages at God, he berates him for being hard to get, his raw, painful honesty and lyrical expression of his emotions make this one of the best songs to play when life is unbearably, unexplainably hard. Worth it all for the lines- “And I know you bore our sorrows, and I know you feel our pain, and I know that it would not hurt any less even if it could be explained, and I know that I am only lashing out at the one who loves me most, but after I have figured this, what I really need to know is if you who live in eternity hear the prayers of those of us who live in time, we can’t see what’s ahead and we cannot get free from what we’ve left behind. I’m reeling from these voices that keep screaming in my ears, all these words of shame and doubt, blame and regret, I can’t see how you’re leading me, unless you’ve led me here, to where I’m lost enough to let myself be led. And so you’ve been here all along I guess, and it’s just your ways and you are just plain hard to get.”
2. Hallelujah- Jeff Buckley
Leonard Cohen was a song writing genius and this is the best version of Hallelujah. It’s haunting, broken and beautiful. Leonard Cohen’s death was one that hit hard.
3. Alone- Trampled by Turtles.
My one new band of the year. A band full of beautiful sounds and this song was a pretty good reflection of parts of our year.
4. Feels like this – Martyn Joseph
Still one of the best descriptions of depression I’ve listened to. Worth it for the lines at the end of the song, “this house is dark so let’s find a window”. Yes please.
5. Anthem – Perla Batella & Julie Christensen.
I’ve never heard of these singers but once again they do more than justice to a seminal Leonard Cohen song. Stunning beauty and the lines, “Ring the bells that just won’t ring, forget your perfect offering, there is a crack, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” Quite.
6. Beautiful Things- Gungor.
There is hope. There is a God at work in the pain and grimness. This song has reminded me of that countless times this year.
7. My Lighthouse- Rend Collective
One of our choices that the small ones will tolerate, when they aren’t arguing about whose Lighthouse it is. “In my wrestling, in my doubts, in the darkness, you won’t walk out.” I always need Rend Collectives shouty loud declarations that life is hard and painful but there is someone doing stuff in the midst of that. Music that is good to shout out loud. (as son1 did at the Christingle service at church this year)
8- Fight Song- Rachel Patten
I like it. It’s loud, shouty and the kind of song you can run fast to. It makes me want to get up off the mat and keep on walking.
9. Shake it Off- Taylor Swift.
Similar kind of vibe. Let’s get going and kick 2016 where it hurts.
10. Love yourself- Justin Beiber
There is no defence for the inclusion of this song. We discovered it because we were googling songs Ed Sheeran had written. It’s funny. It makes us laugh. It’s ridiculous but a whole lot of fun.
11. Sky full of Stars- Coldplay.
A song from the Radio 2 playlist had to make it on here. I like it’s optimistic feel and cheery vibe. I think we all need that from time to time.
12. Hold back the River- James Bay
Another Radio 2 staple and a good romp of a song.
13. Brand New Day- Joshua Radin
Another one for the optimistic, life isn’t so bad section of the CD.
14. If I should fall behind- Bruce Springsteen.
All I want to say to my favourite and best. (oh and the above video is a treat)
15. Heroes- David Bowie
Another musical legend to die this year. This song always makes me want to stand tall on mountain tops and sing loudly for all to hear. We could be heroes. For some of this year we have been.
16. History- One Direction
What are road trips without singing loudly to the One Direction playlist on my phone? This snapshots some of my favourite moments from our epic road trip to Ireland this summer. Love singing with husbandface in the car. I’m a really bad singer and I love that I am so uninhibited with my favourite and best that I sing as loudly as if no-one was in the car. There is something about the ease love brings in that…
17. Joy- Rend Collective
See previous Rend Collective song.
18. Hold me Jesus- Rich Mullins.
Another beautiful one. “Sometimes my life just don’t make sense at all, when the mountains seem so big and my faith just seems so small. So hold me Jesus, I’m shaking like a leaf, you have been my King of Glory, won’t you be my Prince of Peace?”
19. Welcome to the World- Music for Aardvarks.
(sadly I couldn’t find a video for this…)
There had to be one small boy song on the CD. This one never fails to make me well up when we reach the lullaby section of the music class me and son2 go to on a Monday morning. It’s primary for the lovely Joseph Dimbleby who joined the world this year, my friend Sarah’s new boy. It’s a mental world but a beautiful one as well. I hope I don’t ever forget that.