1) Rebel Jew-Silver Jews
The geography of Texas, the glory of a girl named Michelle and ‘The Rebel Jew, who died for you’ all tie in to an aching ballad that cries for a sense of liberation and freedom.
2) You’ve Gotta Serve Somebody-Bob Dylan
He snarls as he wrestles with Jacob, his own personal history, and his instincts towards God. He does not want to serve but he depends on the divine and other humans, and that grates.
3) The King of Carrot Flowers-Neutral Milk Hotel
Christianity tells us that someone died for the sins of the world, and rose again, which means God loves us. Anyone who buys into this is desperate for love, and the repeating of love me, love me in this song becomes a mantra to that desperation.
4) Her Way of Praying-Jesus and Mary Chain.
Sex comes through acts of devotion. Acts of devotions come through sex. There is an awareness of this here.
5) Jesus-Velvet Underground.
Lou Reed looks for order to be brought from chaos, and grace to be restored, even though, like the rest of us, he doesn’t deserve mercy.
6) Belle and Sebastian-If you’re feeling sinister.
The worlds too dark, and its citizens are too lonely, and you are unable to believe though you desire to. All the church can do, and all this song does, is give you confirmation, not that he is the risen lord or that it’s his way, but that you are human, and you are small in the cosmos…
7) Low-That’s how you Sing Amazing Grace
To be part of the Body of Christ, there is a need to sublimate your own. This is 7 minutes of despair and longing, but she submits at the end, and hears the hymns. It is not an easy birth but with nothing left to save, there is sweetness here…
8) Jesus was a terrorist-Jell-O Biafra and No Means No
Its not all personal, the explicitness of Christ’s message against Rome was of revolt, his message to the Jews in power with one of contempt.
9) Last Years Man-Leonard Cohen
All that is of the world is seduction, and once we are awake we need to give this up to a larger ideal. The conflict here is human, and inside every one of us, we wait for both Cain and Jesus, or the pleasures of the world and the pleasures of heaven.
10) Is Jesus Your Pal-Gus Gus
Atmospheric, low key, in Icelandic, which means I’m not really sure it’s about Jesus, but pretty enough to cause at least pause.