Occasionally I get it into my head to put together a mix-tape. Recently I’ve been doing this on my work computer. I’ve ripped a load of my favourite albums onto it and then I select 11 songs to make up a playlist for the day. (It’s always 11, I’m not sure why, but that feels ‘right’.) Sometimes I burn the playlist onto a CD and then stick on in the car.
I used to actually do mix-tapes on tape, which has the added bonus of not having to have everything you want to record on CD. I’m old enough to own cassettes and even some vinyl and it would be a real trog converting them to another format or copying them onto my hard-drive.
Recently I’ve had an idea for a ‘concept’ album of ‘Jesus songs’ – i.e. songs which namecheck Jesus in the title. Having a good trawl through the old record collection has thrown up a few interesting songs to include. As I’m probably never going to put the tape together, I thought I’d just list them here and that would be just as good.
Jesus Christ Pose – Soundgarden
I’ve never really ‘got’ Soundgarden. I mean they’re OK, but I can’t see what the fuss was about. My sis-in-law really likes ‘Black Hole Sun’. Again, I’m not too bothered. I’ve got this on a Kerrang compilation CD, although ‘Vanilla Radio’ by The Wildhearts is a much better song off that CD.
Jesus of Suburbia – Green Day
I personally think ‘American Idiot’ is the greatest pop-punk album of the 21st century, and definitely Green Day’s best. I know for hardcore ‘Dookie’ fans that’s tantamount to blasphemy, but there’s more variety on American Idiot and musically it’s streets ahead. This song is the second one on the album and divides into five parts, each one telling another section of the story. The refrain “the land of make-believe that don’t believe in me” continues the disenchantment of the kick-off track on the album, also called American Idiot. Later on, in another song which wraps up the story, they sing “the Jesus of Suburbia is a lie”.
I Have Forgiven Jesus – Morrissey
I’m not a huge Morrissey fan, although Cathy did drag me along to a gig years ago which kind of converted me. This one is off a recent album, which we own on CD. I like it in a way, as Morrissey magnanimously forgives Jesus for screwing him over by giving him the potential to love, but nobody worthy of loving. Typical Morrissey ego, really.
Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode
Only one thing to say about this: Marilyn who? It’s got to be the original Dave Gahan snarl for me. Everything about this song is perfect – driving rhythm, slightly sinister vocals, edgy chords. Nobody does ‘get-in-your-head-and-make-you-taste-insanity’ like Depeche. Marilyn Manson must cry himself to sleep wanting to be as good as them.
Jesus Freak – DC Talk
The only ‘genuine’ religious song on this list, and actually quite good for a Christian song. I’m not sure what format I have this on. It may be a CD single, or it might be an old cassette that I copied (shock! horror! gasp!) off my little brother. In a way the post-grunge indie sound has dated a little bit, but this is still a great song to mosh to.
Hard on for Jesus – The Dandy Warhols
I’m not sure about The Dandy Warhols. I really liked ‘Not if You Were the Last Junkie on Earth’, and the cover of ‘Hells Bells’ on the ‘Bohemian Like You’ single is quite probably the best cover ever, but I’ve just never got round to buying any of their albums. I’ve got this song on a free CD that came with a music magazine. It’s OK. Interestingly, I’ve heard the phrase ‘Jesus is my girlfriend’ used by some Christians to derogatorily describe sickly lovey-dovey Christian worship songs. This is just the next step on, really.
American Jesus – Bad Religion
I’ve got this as a live version on a cassette single called ‘21st Century Digital Boy’. It’s an attack on fundamentalist American Christianity. So, naturally, I like it.
Jesus is Just Alright – The Doobie Brothers
While not one of the Doobies’ better songs, this still sounds pretty cool. DC Talk covered it – perhaps the first time a Christian band has covered a song about Jesus that was made popular by a non-Christian band. “We just liked the tune” is apparently the Doobies’ take on it. I think the Doobies are onto something here. Most people don’t have an issue with Jesus; he’s alright, it’s his followers who give him a bad name.
I think that’s about it. Obviously there are other songs out there, but I don’t think I own them (‘Jesus Christ’ by the Longpigs springs to mind – ‘Who?’ I hear you ask). Matt the designer suggested the country song ‘Drop Kick me Jesus(Through the Goal Posts of Life)’, but we don’t know who that’s by and we only ever had a dodgy copy that we found on some random website. Of course, I could use songs that namecheck Jesus in the song (‘Oblivion’ by Terrorvision, ‘Rewind’ by Stereophonics, too many U2 songs to list), but that would mean the track listing wouldn’t look as cool.
However, I do need another 3 tracks to make a complete 11-track album, so if you have any suggestions leave them in the comments.