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Sunday Hymnal

April 15, 2012

I hardly ever go to church, not being a particularly religious person, but when I do, my favorite part is always the singing. I really only ever go to church for Christmas and Easter (and I even skipped that last one this year), but that does mean that the songs which are sung on those occasions are quite familiar to me. I sing along with them as loudly as I dare (my singing is generally on key, but not spectacular) and take great enjoyment in just being in that space with people and music and singing.

On Sunday mornings, I create my own little service with songs that get me off to a good start. Some of these are quite corny, others not very sing-alongish, and yet others quite, well, loud for a Sunday morning. But the one thing they have in common is that they manage to put a smile on my face on that least-favorite of weekend days – that day when work and school responsibilities start seeping back into my consciousness (not to mention that day on which my thesis planning laughs in my face). Today, I’d like to share part of my Sunday hymnal with you.

Cat Stevens – Morning has Broken
(Can any Sunday morning playlist ever be complete without this song? Answer: no).

Kristin Chenoweth and Ellen Greene – Birdhouse in your Soul
A cover of the They Might Be Giants song done for the (sadly cancelled – I am still not over this and I don’t think I ever will be) TV show Pushing Daisies.

Les Poppys – Non, Non, Rien a Changé
I only understand about half of this song, but I’ve been able to sing along since I was 5 years old despite not knowing any French. I was brought up with obscure 70’s pop music. Go with it.

Tori Amos – Silent All These Years
Also has nothing to do with Sunday mornings, but Tori Amos fits all occasions. You know when Emma Thompson’s character tells Alan Rickman’s “Joni Mitchell taught your cold British wife how to feel” in Love Actually? That’s how I feel about Tori Amos.

Pete Murray – Bail Me Out
Pete Murray reminds me of my time in Australia and Sundays on which I’d wander to the corner shop in the morning to buy a large bottle of iced coffee and a Cadbury Flake bar, float in the pool for a bit, then wander to the pie shop (next to the corner shop) to buy a steak and mushroom pie from the lady who called everyone “love” and who once came back from around her counter to give me a hug after she asked me if I felt homesick and I started to tear up.

Savage Garden – Truly, Madly, Deeply
So many of my hopes, dreams and fantasies as a 14-year old chunk of hormones are wrapped up in this song that I don’t think I’ll ever not love it.  Perfect easy listening.

Dixie Chicks – Easy Silence
I should be honest: my house is an all-Dixie Chicks, all the time kind of place. It’s what I play most often in the kitchen. It’s what I default to when I don’t know what music to play. So just choosing one Dixie Chicks song for my Sunday hymnal seems a little dishonest. That said, this is the song that I’ve been feeling the most lately, so that’s why it made the cut when none of the others did.

Alanis Morissette – You Learn
The mix tape/playlist/hymnal put together by yours truly that does not include this song has yet to be invented. It’s absolute perfection for all occasions.

Astrud Gilberto – Aruanda
For the longest time, I had no idea who Astrud Gilberto is. Then I asked the Internet at large to recommend me some laid-back summertime music and BOOM there she was.

Jacques Brel – Valse a Mille Temps
Since my 21st, I’ve had a birthday tradition that hardly anyone knows about. On my birthday, after my guests have gone home, while the dishes are still soaking in the sink and the streamers still decorate my house, I put this song on and twirl to the pace of this song. Those of you who are familiar with it will know just how fast it goes toward the end. But I never stop. I keep twirling and spinning and spinning and twirling until the song is over, after which I fall back on my couch or bed, close my eyes, and mentally spin off.

This was a very brief insight into my Sunday hymnal. I truly believe that if you start your Sundays off with these songs, it can never be a bad day. Or if it is, you should at least be able to face it with a smile, as I will do now. Thesis, I am coming to get you!

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