Perfect Playlist #2 – Death and the Afterlife

Love, sex and why doesn’t she love me songs are easy subjects to write about. Those songwriters that move away from these staples usually find great inspiration and thoughtful reflection is death and the afterlife……..

1. My Heaven – Mary Chapin Carpenter

Beautifully written and sung this is MCC’s image of what her heaven would be like…….

2. For a Dancer – Jackson Browne

“I don’t know what happens when people die
Can’t seem to grasp it as hard as I try
It’s like a song I can hear playing right in my ear
That I can’t sing
I can’t help listening”
 
This is the opening to the second verse of this beautiful song. It speaks of many things from funerals to our time here on earth as only Jackson can. The song appears on his masterpiece Late For The Sky.
 
 
3. This Used To Be My Town – Gretchen Peters
 
This is a haunting song about a murdered girl watching her family and friends grieve at her funeral. I suspect it was inspired by the events in The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. From her brilliant album Halcyon the woman should be substantially more famous than she is here.
 
 
4. Hard Times in Babylon – Eliza Gilkyson
 
Eliza Gilkson is the daughter of Terry Gilkyson. Who you might ask? Well Terry Gilkyson is the writer of Bare Necessities and was a writer for Disney back in the 60’s. A popular singer songwriter in her on right this is an homage to a friend who commits suicide despite being popular and which a close group of people who could have helped.
 

5. Concrete Angel – Martina McBride

This a song that always brings a lump to my throat every time I listen to it. A mistreated little girl is ignored by teachers and neighbours and suffers the ultimate consequence. Emotional stuff sung amazingly by a woman with one of the best voices I have heard.

6. Dance With My Father – Luther Vandross

To me Luther Vandross was a great singer who churned out polished pop songs that were invariably throw away. Then he wrote a song that was clearly extremely personal to him and displays what a wonderful songwriter he was.

7. Last Seen October 9th – Eleanor McEvoy

A very simple song about someone who has gone missing and the adverts and pleas for her safe return.

8. The Angels Rejoiced Last Night – Lucy Kaplansky

A cover version of an Ira and Charlie Louvin song. A woman dies so that God can gt her husband to go to church. An odd concept but it makes for a haunting song especially when song her by Lucy with Richard Shindell on backing vocals.

9. Let Them In – John Gorka

The lyrics to Let Them In are based on poem written by a nurse based at a hospital in the Philipines in World War II. John Gorka added a few more lines and the music and created a song about how our fallen young soldiers should be treated when they get to  heaven.

10. Sand and Water – Beth Nielsen Chapman

Beth Nielsen Chapman lost her husband to cancer at a very young age and this song is the title track from an album that deals with the grief she felt. Stunning.

11. Travis John – Tracy Grammer

Travs John is a fallen soldier lamenting the potential he has but is now “dead and gone”. Powerful stuff.

12. Mary’s Place – Bruce Springsteen

You have lost your loved one and what do you do? You have a party to celebrate her life, invite all your friends around and play all her favourite songs…..The most uplifting track here but if you listen to the lyrics they will bring a tear to you eyes.

So there you have it. Not the most cheerful selection of songs and I guess not a playlist to put on if you are feeling down!

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