fredag 13 juni 2014

Secular Hymns -- Everyday Songs With Religious Feeling

Hereby a reflection on music. Are there "common", un-religious songs that have a sort of implicit, spiritual quality to them...?

It's striking how many secular songs are religious in all but name. Take for instance the ten-minute-or-so "A saucerful of secrets" by Pink Floyd (on their eponymous 2nd LP). This psychedelic song ends in a section called "celestial voices", and of course that's what it is, celestial: a mind-rendering, uplifting Bach-style choir piece with organ and all. The Pink Floyd were never known for outright spiritual leanings, but here...

Then there's Judas Priests "Solar Angels" on their "Point Of Entry" album, a hymn about angels in a science fantasy context. Theres no mistaking the spiritual, uplifting quality of the song, the hymnic quality. A religious song by an un-religious group, mainly singing 'bout partying and violence. Hereby a sample of "Solar Angels":
Golden haloes radiating higher,
diamond visions softly breathing fire,
sky processions, we are watching you arrive...
Here's a review of the album in question, "Point of Entry" (in Swedish).

Secular hymns, everyday songs with religious feeling. Here of course you could mention Beatles "Hey Jude": genuinely secular, not spiritual or religious in content, but essentially it's got a religious feel to it.

Then we have Enya's albums ("The Celts", "Shepherd Moons") which to me seems to contain nothing but psalms, secular psalms, beautifully so. And we have the song "Wedding" by The Hep Stars, we have Hendrix' electrical church music and, as some person suggested to me, "A Whiter Shade Of Pale" by Procul Harum. Maybe this last one is genuinely religious with all its "Vestal Virgins" etc but it's hardly sung at church. However, in its essence it is a religious song I would say, a hymn to higher worlds.

Ernst Jünger and Spirituality
Sci-fi and Jünger
Judas Priest: Point of Entry
Eld och rörelse
The picture is from the site publicdomainpictures.

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