Saturday, January 26, 2008

Hymns for the Secular World

I believe music is a divine gift. We are hard-wired to enjoy it. There are few things so soothing to our spirits as a polyphony of melded voices singing together in unison, harmony, rich and deep, of men and women singing at once.
I have noticed, in the recent past, a proliferation of college a cappella groups

(examples: Here Comes Treble, the Accafellas, etc.).

Evidently, the competitions between various college a cappella groups is fierce and hard-fought.

But that's neither here nor there....

What I really want to talk about is secular hymns. When folks aren't members of churches, they still want to sing, in fact, need to sing, and not having a God to sing to, find other sings to take His place...

...things like despotic, tyrannical's one from North Korea called "Song of General Kim Il Sung":

"Bright traces of blood on the crags of Jangbaek still gleam,
Still the Amnok carries along signs of blood in its stream.
till do those hallowed traces shine resplendently
Over Korea ever flourishing and free.
So dear to all our hearts is our General's glorious name,
Our own beloved Kim Il Sung of undying fame."

Sounds kind of hymn-like, doesn't it?

It's got the universal imagery of some kind of blood atonement, heart-felt lyrics of praise and undying support to a seemingly immortal, even "glorious" super-being....sad, isn't it?

As Bob Dylan once sang, "You're gonna have to serve somebody....well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord...but you're gonna have to serve somebody...."

On a lighter note, back in the late 80's early 90's there was a wave of corporate anthems released...hymn-like, pulsating tunes churned out one after another praising obscure business processes and concepts...

....official corporate songs from such global mega-businesses as Apple Computer, Honeywell, IBM....and maybe the most notorious one of all......the consulting juggernaut, KPMG!!!!!!

Can you imagine the sheer depression and self-loathing that hired-gun songwriters and studio musicians fell into after completing one of these gigs? Once, when they were younger they had dreams of rock stardom...sure, they may have had a little talent, maybe a nice voice or some skills with a guitar....but here they were years later in a finely-appointed studio, singing passionately, over and over again, about KPMG's "global strategy" for a few shekels of silver....shudder.....

1 comment:

htownjenny said...

Wow. I know I always ask you guys this, but...where do you find this stuff?