Sit Down Next to Me and Let’s Talk About the Playlist

A guest post by Don Morgan

So, several people have expressed interest in the playlist I created for Kara’s book release party, as mentioned in my previous guest blog. At Blythe’s request, I have posted said playlist below—but first a few disclaimers:

Kara asked me to put the playlist together at the last minute. All of the songs are from my own iTunes library—hence the embarrassing preponderance of 1980s artists. Given more time to think and prepare, I probably would have made some different and more varied selections.

Also, there is an art to making a playlist. (In the old days, we called this making a “mix tape.”) Given the short notice, I just tried to include tunes that fell into one or more of the following categories:

  1. Songs/artists that I know Kara liked (hello Emmylou Harris, Daniel Lanois, Peter Gabriel, etc.—Ellie Holcomb was yet to be discovered)
  2. Songs that offered a measure of spiritual hope or comfort in light of what Kara was facing and what everyone knew was coming (thank you Indelible Grace, Phil Joel, Rush, U2, etc.)
  3. Songs that sounded fun and upbeat and suitable for an outdoor summer party (The La’s, The Corrs, Chris Isaak, Hall and Oates, Keane, and so on)

One more thing… I considered making a YouTube or Spotify playlist for readers of this blog, but I didn’t want to subject Mundane Faithfulness to some kind of copyright infringement lawsuit. Suffice to say that if you search for most of these songs/artists online, you will be able to hear the entire playlist without actually having to purchase the songs (although I would certainly encourage that!). I recommend YouTube, but bear in mind that I cannot vouch for the video content. Consider, for example, the official video for “Kyrie”  by Mr. Mister. It takes the beautiful liturgical expression of the lyrics (“Kyrie eleison—Lord have mercy”) and buries it beneath a ghastly assortment of 1980s fashions, including acid washed jeans, feathered hair, and muscle shirts. So please, close your eyes and just listen to the music!

Without further ado, here’s what was playing in the background during the release party for The Hardest Peace. I have added brief commentary or lyrical snippets to a few of them.

Playlist: Kara’s Party

47 songs/3 hours, 17 minutes

  1. His Love Can Never Fail—Derek Webb/Indelible Grace
  2. God Be Merciful to Me (Psalm 51)—Jars of Clay
  3. Something So Strong—Crowded House
  4. There She Goes—The La’s
  5. Do It for Love—Hall & Oates
  6. In the Palm of Your Hand—Allison Krauss & The Cox Family
    But if I trust the One who died for me, who shed His blood to set me free, If I live my life to trust in You, Your grace will see me through…
  7. Hear Me in the Harmony—Harry Connick Jr.
  8. Thrive (Is That James Dancing? Mix)—Newsboys
  9. Crown Him with Many Crowns—Fernando Ortega
    This gorgeous, blue-grassy arrangement is the best version of this song I’ve ever heard.
  10. Solsbury Hill—Peter Gabriel
  11. God Will Lift Up Your Head—Jars of Clay
    Through waves and clouds and storms, He gently leads clears the way, Wait—because in His time, so shall this night soon end in joy…
  12. Come by Me—Harry Connick Jr.
  13. O Love That Will Not Let Me Go—Christ Community College Ministry/Indelible Grace
  14. Private Conversation—Lyle Lovett
  15. The Frog Prince—Keane
  16. Don’t Give Up—Peter Gabriel
    Don’t give up, ‘cause you have friends… When times get rough, you can fall back on us…
  17. All My Tears—Emmylou Harris
    When I go, don’t cry for me; In my Father’s arms I’ll be; And wounds this world left on my soul will all be healed and I’ll be whole; Sun and moon will be replaced by the light of Jesus’ face…
  18. Kyrie—Mr. Mister
  19. Under a Stormy Sky—Daniel Lanois
  20. I Can Pray—Phil Joel
    If you have kids at home, or even if you don’t, you need Phil’s “Deliberate Kids: A Boom-Chaka-Laka Rockin’ Good Time!” album in your collection. So. Good.
  21. Everybody Hurts—The Corrs
    Maybe you’ve heard R.E.M.’s original version of this song. I liked the comforting sound of this version by Irish siblings The Corrs.
  22. Liberation—Martyn Bennett
    I told the story of this song in my previous post. It’s a feisty rendition of Psalm 118, composed by the late artist when he was in the throes of chemotherapy.
  23. Summer Sunshine—The Corrs
  24. Redemption Song—Phil & John
  25. Freewheel—Duke Special
  26. When the Stars Go Blue—The Corrs w/ Bono
  27. The Maker—Daniel Lanois
    My body is bent and broken by long and dangerous sleep, I can’t work the fields of Abraham and turn my head away, I’m not a stranger in the hands of The Maker…
  28. Let’s Have a Party—Chris Isaak
  29. The Cave—Mumford & Sons
  30. Shine Like It Does—INXS
  31. Time Stand Still—Rush
    I don’t know if Kara ever heard this song (Rush is an acquired taste, especially for females). But it is one of my all-time favorites, and the poignant reminder to “live in the moment” was a common theme of Kara’s writings:Summer’s going fast, nights growing colder; children growing up, old friends growing older; freeze this moment a little bit longer, make each sensation a little bit stronger…
  32. Rock of Ages—Danny Oertli
    A new arrangement of an old classic by my friend Danny. This is the best this hymn has ever sounded.
  33. I Won’t Back Down—Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  34. Mansions—Burlap to Cashmere
  35. Sit Down—James
    It’s tough to explain why I feel so strongly about this Britpop anthem from the 1990s. I’m not even sure what the song is about… probably mental illness or addiction or something. But the beauty is in the lyrics of the bridge (roughly 2:20 to 2:45): “Those who feel the breath of sadness, sit down next to me; Those who feel they’re touched by madness, sit down next to me; Those who find themselves ridiculous, sit down next to me…” Likely not what the artists intended, but when I hear those words I hear the voice of Christ, inviting the children, the outcasts, and the ignoble to sit at His table. And I also think of Kara, her generosity of spirit, and the eclectic and energetic assortment of guests that often ended up at the Tippetts’ dinner table because Kara invited them to “sit down."
  36. Nobody Knows Me—Lyle Lovett
  37. I Love Everybody—Lyle Lovett
  38. A Mirror in the Heart—Duncan Sheik
  39. Walk Through the World—Marc Cohn
  40. Eileen’s Song—Burlap to Cashmere
  41. What About Now—Robbie Robertson
  42. Thank You For Hearing Me—Sinead O’Connor
    To me this song is a gentle prayer. I could imagine Kara singing something like this on the dark days.
  43. Bad/40/Where the Streets Have No Name [Live]—U2
    This 12-minute medley is U2 at its uplifting best, moving from a song of brokenness (“Bad”) to a song of release (“Where the Streets Have No Name”), with snippets of Psalm 40 and Psalm 116 sandwiched in between.
  44. Treasures in Heaven—Burlap to Cashmere
  45. Oh For a Closer Walk—Duke Special
  46. All Things New—Watermark
  47. Walk On—U2
    A fitting benediction reflecting Kara’s eternal perspective: “You’re packing a suitcase for a place none of us has been, a place that has to be believed to be seen… Leave it behind, you’ve got to leave it behind, All that you fashion, all that you make, all that you build and all that you break, all that you measure, all that you feel, all this you can leave behind…”