Music to listen to for inspiration
In the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, here are our suggestions for songs that might serve to comfort and guide us in these dark days.
”All My Tears,” Emmylou Harris
Covering a Julie Miller tune, Harris — who’s no stranger to laments about passing on, and those left behind — offers consolation to survivors with a promise that, in heaven, there won’t be a wet eye in the house.
Bach’s ”Cantata BWV 199: Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut,” With Dawn Upshaw
A world-class soprano, Upshaw takes us through that journey from despair to redemption in 24 incredibly solace-filled minutes.
”Full Force Gale,” Van Morrison
This jaunty, horn-propelled gospel likens the Lord to a delightful sudden gust — the kind needed to begin to live again.
”Give a Man a Home,” The Blind Boys of Alabama
Even gospel singers looking toward the next world need a place to hang their hats in this one. They find it in this prayer for rest and peace.
”How I Got Over,” Aretha Franklin
In this clap-happy track from ”Amazing Grace,” one of the defining gospel albums, Lady Soul enthuses to a live audience about her own bridge over troubled waters.
”If I Should Fall Behind,” Bruce Springsteen
Bruce meant it figuratively, we figure, but his ballad picks up almost unbearable poignance in the wake of so many tales of ordinary heroes who went back to assist the fallen. There could be no more beautiful promise for firefighters, lovers, and other survivors.
”If It Be Your Will,” Leonard Cohen
Jeff Buckley’s cover of Cohen’s ”Hallelujah” has become an unofficial anthem for the tragedy’s aftermath on VH1 and public radio, but this is a more hopeful prayer from the cynical psalmist: ”Let your mercy spill on all these burning hearts in hell, if it be your will to make us well.”
”I Won’t Back Down,” Tom Petty
Or, as Dan Rather said in an even less fearsome time: courage.
”It’s a Wonderful Life,” The Williams Brothers
The Williams duo use their verses to catalog a litany of earthly evils, then, in the chorus, abruptly reverse course and conclude: ”When I look in your eyes/It’s a wonderful life.” When we listen to their euphoric harmonies, we just about believe it.