For the past couple of weeks I have been listening to Christmas music. I listen to classical songs and classic songs, songs with a rock beat, a jazz swing, a pop tunefulness, songs sacred and secular. Some of the songs evoke warm childhood memories, some remind me of concerts attended (I heard Bruce Springsteen play “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” live in St. Paul November 29, 1978). I enjoy the music of this season, but I am also ready to move on, or move back to other music.
I listen to a fair variety of music, mostly jazz and rock and pop. I sprinkle classical music in there as well. When listening to rock or pop music, I probably listen to more older material than newer stuff, either new music from familiar bands like Bruce Springsteen or U2 or Tom Petty, or older music from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. I still enjoy discovering a new band. The Hold Steady, a band whose music I discovered in 2009, though they had been around for a while, is still a favorite. I am enjoying TV on the Radio, “Seeds.”
One thing I find particularly enjoyable, though, is finding what I consider a lost classic – some song on an album that has been around for a long time, but something I had simply not paid much attention to. A recent such discovery for me is the Simon and Garfunkel song “7 O’Clock News/Silent Night.” The song consists of an overdubbing of Simon and Garfunkel singing "Silent Night", and a simulated "7 O'Clock News" bulletin of the actual events of 3 August 1966 – the death of Lenny Bruce, a controversial Martin Luther King, Jr. march, the war in Vietnam, killings of student nurses by Richard Speck. Here is a link to the song:
In many ways it is a seasonal song, a song I should put away until next year. But it is also a song that transcends the season. If the message of “Silent Night” cannot find its way into a still broken world, a world where there remains violence, war, political strife, drug overdoses, racial tension, then Silent Night is little more than pure sentimentality. I don’t think it is. I treasured this Simon and Garfunkel song this season because it reminded me of my need for a strong, courageous, compassionate and tender faith amid a difficult world, a faith not just for a few weeks at Christmas but a faith for every day.
This was my discovered classic this fall, a little treasure that was hidden in a field, and I found it with joy, and I intend to keep it close to my heart.
Next year, when I take out my Christmas music again, I will burn this song onto a new holiday cd. I expect I will take it out for a listen a number of times between now and then.
With Faith and With Feathers,