This week, the world has entered a holy season. Some are celebrating Passover with their families, others will be heading to mass for Good Friday and Easter Sunday. And all around, the Good Book will have a lot of its pages earmarked and its passages read aloud. None of which has much of anything to do with a website that covers underground and popular music — this is true.
But sometime around another holiday rooted in faith — Christmas — we were struck by a bolt of inspiration, one unlikely to be divine in nature. While the Bible has been the source of inspiration for goodness and charity in humankind, it’s also a great literary source, having inspired many a great novelist — or songwriter. Go back through the volumes of records on your shelves and you’ll find the sacred word interwoven in many of your favorite artists. Dylan, Nick Cave, Patti Smith, and most definitely U2. But it goes much deeper than that. As we began this project, we began to hear Biblical verses and references in countless songs, more than we could ever hope to catalog.
So in our quest — a hopelessly ambitious one at that — to create an epic playlist that follows the books of the Bible, we made the cutoff 46 songs: the number of books in the Catholic Old Testament. And we cover a lot of ground — metal, hip-hop, rock, folk, reggae. It’s a big tent. Keep in mind, this is an examination of some allegorically rich material, rather than an endorsement of its messages. But there’s no denying the Bible has played a pretty big role in popular music. So put your hands together for our Epic Bible Playlist.
Bloc Party – “Cain Said to Abel”
B-side from the “I Still Remember” single (2007; Wichita)
10,000 Maniacs – “Noah’s Dove”
from Our Time In Eden (1992; )
Toy Matinee – “Last Plane Out”
from Toy Matinee (1990; Reprise)
Bob Dylan – “Highway 61 Revisited”
from Highway 61 Revisited (1965; Columbia)
Pusha T – “Exodus 23:1”
(2012; G.O.O.D. Music)
Desmond Dekker and the Aces – “Israelites”
from The Israelites (1969; Uni)
The Notorious B.I.G. — “Ten Crack Commandments”
from Life After Death (1997; BadBoy)