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Yesterday we had our cuts and copy session for an upcoming program on forgiveness and revenge and today we recorded the script. I am now looking for music to use in the program and thought I’d reach out to you for help. What music do you find evocative in expressing forgiveness? How about the desire for revenge? It doesn’t necessarily have to be a song explicitly about these themes, and thus instrumental pieces are always welcome.

So, whaddya got? I am all ears!


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153 Comments

“Later Days” by Over the Rhine (off the album Good Dog, Bad Dog)
“Suitcase” by Over the Rhine (off the album Ohio)
“We’re Gonna Pull Through” by Over the Rhine (off the album Snow Angels)
“Start a War” by The National (off the album Boxer)
“I Forgive You” (Instrumental) by Linford Detweiler (off the album Grey Ghost Stories)
“Skeleton Key” by Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s (The Dust of Retreat)
“In the Sun” by Joseph Arthur (off the album Come To Where I’m From)
“Casimir Pulaski Day” by Sufjan Stevens (off the album Come On Feel The Illinois)
“For the Widows In Paradise, for the Fatherless In Ypsilanti” by Sufjan Stevens (off the album Greetings From Michigan)
“Rain” by Patty Griffin (off the album 1000 Kisses)
“I Hung My Head” by Johnny Cash (off the album American IV: The Man Comes Around)

My personal favorite...
Gabriel's Oboe from The Mission soundtrack -an instrumental snippet that gently washes away the daily grime and calls forth the spirit of absolution.

Melanie

John Prine's "Sweet Revenge" would be fun, although, now that I have looked at the lyrics, I have no idea what he was talking about...

"I Forgive You" by Darren Hayes
"Chariot" by Gavin DeGraw
"It Is Well With My Soul" by Levi Kreis feat. Darci Monet
"Tangled" by Maroon 5
"Hero" by The Makepeace Brothers
"Open Wide My Heart" by Matthew West
"The Love of God" by MercyMe
"Here With Me" by MercyMe

"Change" by Tears for Fears, off their first album, The Hurting.

Upbeat alternatives:
Revenge—"Not Big" by Lily Allen
Forgiveness—"Sorry My Friend" by Save Ferris

How about "Go Your Own Way" by Fleetwood Mac? Whew! There's nothing like making your ex-girlfriend sing a song about how angry you are at her at the dissolution of your relationship...

"What I Cannot Change" - Lee Ann Rimes
"Maybe" - Kelly Clarkson
"Hear Me Out" - Frou Frou
"The Letting Go" - Melissa Ethridge
"Goodbye" - Secondhand Serenade

I think that "A Boy Named Sue" is probably the strongest suggestion I've heard on here so far -- though I disagree with Sam... It's ultimately not about revenge so much as forgiveness...

I was also thinking of "Frankie & Albert" -- which Bob Dylan covers brilliantly on his album Good as I Been to You...

2001 CD called "Zero Church" with a song called "Anyway" with lyrics attributed to Mother Teresa.
The collection grew out of the Institute of Arts & Civic Dialogue at Harvard. One of the vocalists is with the acapella quintet Sweet Honey in the Rock that also might have music that would be appropriate.

A couple of revenge songs for the list:
Left Me for Dead (Rob Dougan, Furious Angels), particularly around 3:30
I Want My Innocence Back (Emilie Autumn, Opheliac)

For the revenge/anger times, I've always liked Paula Cole's Throwing Stones from her album This Fire.

Angry Any More -- Ani DiFranco

night falls like people into love
we generate our own light
to compensate
for the lack of light from above
every time we fight
a cold wind blows our way

but we learn like the trees
how to bend
how to sway and say

i, i think i understand
what all this fighting is for
and baby, i just want you to understand
that i'm not angry anymore
no, i'm not angry anymore

Forgiveness patty griffin

Dylan's ironic "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" straddles both forgiveness and revenge. The words of forgiveness coupled with the bitter sentiment they really express creates one of the most honest and accurate songs about the complicated feelings of breaking up with someone. Joan Baez's cover I find layered because of her frustrated feelings for Dylan; however, the most strangely compelling version of this song is by Peter, Paul and Mary. Their quasi-cheerful aura make the underlying sentiment of the song that much more powerful. However, the lyrics are by no means limited to relationships; I remember singing this song while driving back home from Wheaton College for the last time, knowing I had quit evangelicalism for good.

"Rehearsal" by "Pedro the Lion"

(the themes of 'revenge'--or the recourse of thought to adversity in relationships and the hardness of life--and 'forgiveness' are present throughout much of the lyricism of David Bazan of Pedro the Lion)

Nick Cave's "The Mercy Seat" as covered by Johnny Cash.

great question and I note a lot of Johnny Cash songs already cited. as I believe that there are multiple steps from revenge to forgiveness, i'll toss into the ring for your consideration his song "hurt" by Cash and of course the "soft-version" bu nine inch nails works. good luck; more interesting is what religious thinker or therapapist can get your from a to b.

jean-pierre, by miles davis ( "we want miles" album)

Excellent choice!
Yogini Sun

Hello Mitch, I am Terra-Raye and I have just completed a CD of mostly my original compositions. I have a poem called 'Peace', that is performed to music on the CD. I wrote this as I was on my way to the Middle East 10 years ago to lead many group prayer ceremonies with Israelies and a few Muslims and Christians attended as well during the 18 or so circles we led. I continue my peace work through ceremonial prayer in this country, my music, writing and speaking.

My poem is about all of the good things that are happening, we do not hear about, expressed as Light that I call, "Blue Flame Torch of Truth carving with surgical certainty through eons of impacted beliefs exposing the wound to the lazer light of love. Ancient pain screams out retaliating with hardened habits of havok, yet gentle holds the healer of the crying child allowing the pain to flow, expressing the tears of time......"

That is just a taste of the begining. It is a call to all of us to "hold the Blue Flame of Light holding gentle, yet firm our embrase for those who continue to fight".

I'm not sure if this is what you are looking for. It all means looking at the world problems with a healing heart of forgivness, thereby ending the emotional war, thereby contributing the actual ending of this impossible, illogical way humanity relates to itself. Thank you for the invitaion to contribute.
I look forward to hearing from you. I do not have a website yet, but if you Google Terra-Raye Peace you will find many thing I have been doing in the past few years to promote peace.

There is a song called The Perfect Revenge by Kevin Faherty. I know it through Darryl Purpose's album Gift of the Magi. I love Darryl Purpose's version; I've never heard the original. Great acoustic song:

Come to me in anger
your weapon is your tongue
You don't see the danger
in this stranger you've become

justified with reasons
all on pride's behalf
your heart shook the hand of treason
and signed a solemn pact

A stone for a stone
an eye for an eye
That's a rocky road to travel down so blind
why not make a point no armor can defend
at a time like this forgiveness is the perfect revenge

et cetera...

Phillips, Craig and Dean "Let me introduce you to a friend named Grace". A great song.

"beautiful dawn" by the wailin' jennys

'Just between you an me' by dctalk

Faultlines, by The Mountain Goats (off of All Hail West Texas)! The song's somewhat (it always seems to me) about the dysfunctional desire for revenge and how it ends up binding you (the revenger) with the Other (the revengee). And (again, it seems to me) that these themes are explored musically as well as lyrically...
Hope you agree!

LOL! How about "I used to love her, but I had to kill her" by Guns-n-Roses? Not sure about the name of the song, but it is the ubiquitous tongue-in-cheek getting the ultimate revenge song! :)

Also, for some reason, the entire "I am Shelby Lynne" CD reminds me of hurt/revenge/forgiveness. If you're lucky, forgiveness overrides the revenge....

Have a great day!

Wow! It's a good thing this program got pushed back a few weeks--I've got some serious listening to do!!!

A sincere thanks, for all who replied.

Interesting to see the ratio of revenge songs to forgiveness songs--no commentary, just...interesting.

I've just heard Dr. Anthony Cicoria play his "Lightning Sonata", absolutely beautiful. He's an orthopedic surgeon who, three weeks after being struck by lightning, developed an intense love of piano music eventually learning to play and compose his own. It's breathtakingly beautiful. I understand the CD will be out in two weeks or so. Please give it a listen.

Also, from the David Roth album "Rising in Love" I suggest "That Kind of Grace" and "May the Light of Love."

How about Weezer "Butterfly"

This is probably too late . . . but I thought I'd throw it into the hat. Jonathan Elias composed a long piece of music called "The Prayer Cycle." The musicians on the CD include Alanis Morissette, James Taylor, Salif Keita, Perry Farrell, John Williams, Linda Ronstadt, the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the American Boychoir and the English Chamber Orchestra and Chorus. There are 7 movements: Mercy, Strength, Hope, Compassion, Grace, Innocence, Forgiveness, Benediction, Faith. The composer wrote a poem for each movement. It's a deeply moving piece of music.

I always thought that the character Salieri, in the movie Amadeus, had it right when he says, as he watches the fourth act of Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro","l saw a woman...disguised in her maid's clothes...hear her husband speak the first tender words he'd offered her in years. Simply because he thinks she is someone else. l heard the music of true forgiveness filling the theatre...conferring on all who sat there perfect absolution. God was singing through this little man...to all the world.

I'll confess to being a bit biased here, but folk singers Anne Hills and David Roth co-wrote and recorded a song some fifteen years ago titled "That Kind of Grace." The song, written in the car as they were listening to radio reports of the riots in L.A. following the Rodney King verdict, tells several stories of racist violence where forgiveness was a response of the parents, in the cases of the church bombings and Michael Donald, or a plea for peace was spoken, as in King's remarks to the press, as quoted in the final verse. It is a powerful song about forgiveness found on the benefit tape titled "That Kind of Grace" which was recorded for the Carole Robertson Learning Center in Chicago, and on David Roth's album "Rising in Love" (Available on iTunes)

"That Kind of Grace" (Hills/Roth)

Sunday morning Birmingham, quiet in the church
Bombs were planted, house of God, children's blood on the cross
And your daughter she was one, angel without wings
How could anyone forgive those who do such things.

Chorus
And when I sing Amazing Grace, your face is what I see.
I hope someday that kind of grace will find its way through me.

Friday evening in Mobile, Klansman killing time,
Saw young Michael walking by, he would do just fine.
Quiet student, mother's best, pleading for his life
Strung him up to make a point, sharper than a knife,

Eula May his mother stood, people all around
In the court room listening as the truth was found
From her mouth no curses fell, no profanity
"I would do to others as I'd have them do to me."

Chorus
And when I sing Amazing Grace, your face is what I see.
I hope someday that kind of grace will find its way through me.

Thursday afternoon in the car, turn the radio on,
The verdict in Los Angeles, Oh what have we done
Images of violence, yellow black and white
52 dead, millions lost, who can win this fight

And on the screen a face of tears, trembling through and through
One we've seen so many times beaten on the news
I could barely hear the words, full of fear and doubt
"People we can't live like this, we've got to work this out"

Chorus
And when I sing Amazing Grace, your face is what I see.
I hope someday that kind of grace will find its way through me.

The song closes with an accapella singing of the first verse of Amazing Grace, which almost always evokes audience participation at Anne and/or David's live shows.

The Prayer Cycle, a "choral symphony in nine movements" - music and text by Jonathan Elias, is a CD with musicians from around the world. It makes my hair stand up and sparks fly. Movement VII is entitled Forgiveness, with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (Urdu), Ofra Haza (Hebrew) and the English Chamber Chorus (French).

Re: Pentecosts and Sara Palin. Tippett, How could you possibly present Palin and her church in such a totally positive light? Why not talk about the prejudice they teach and project in relation to gay people and others? Palin and congregation had a Pray for Gay week in which they prayed for gays to change to straights. When do people get it, that gays are born gay, happy to be gay, close to God and gay, blessed by God and gay, full of love and light with wonderful parners, long term relationships, children, community, the whole deal. Let's be real, honest and full of integrity, and present the whole picture about Palin and Pentecosts. Ellen Cheney

Jimmy Buffett's Frank and Lola, and When the Wild Life Betrays me.

Prodigal Son by Sam Amidon is a really wonderful and haunting folk song about admitting guilt and the resulting forgiveness.

'The song "Happiness" by Glen Hansard / The Swell Season - it is a beautiful song about forgiveness...

Personally, I find that while forgiveness is so difficult, the act of revenge usually brings me back to... forgiveness. In moments of forgiveness, I find myself surrounded by the comforting tones of Moonlight Sonata: the repetition brings dark tones, but the higher accents leave a sense of neutrality. I am left with a piece that saturates my anger and brings light to the next breathing moment.

In angered passion, I find the eccentric sounds of Nine Inch Nails' album "Only", specifically "Why do you get all the love in the world" to be a track that, through sound, helps amplify and subdue any emotions of anger or revenge. I can live out the moment during the span of this song and by the end, I am completely through the range of emotion: revenge only begins another cycle for anger.

not sure if I am too late for this. The band "Rage against the Machine" often expresses the feelings of revenge (to me, a more righteous brand). Maybe the Beastie Boys (later) might express forgiveness, especially with one's self.
thanks for asking

A song of forgiveness my might be "The Face of Love" off the Dead man walking cd. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

how about Fish and Whistle by John Prine? You know..."Father forgive us for what we must do, you forgive us, we'll forgive you. We'll forgive each other til we both turn blue, then we'll whistle and go fishin' in heaven."

Just going over the show and this came to mind:
John Legend, "Ordinary People"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

"Love Sick" from Bob Dylan is a spooky lost love ballad.

I love it, but it creeps me out.

"This Perfect World" by Freedy Johnston is one of those songs that is both powerfully heartbreaking and healing all at once. It's up for grabs if the character speaking in the song receives the forgiveness he wants, but clearly this song captures a moment that breaks through past hurts and as he stands vulnerable and naked in the presence of the one (a daughter?) who he has avoided as she has avoided him.

You oughta see your face
You oughta hear your voice
Last time I was here
I wouldn't turn around
You oughta lock that door
Somebody might get in
Didn't I teach you that

This perfect world
So blue I can't begin to say
This perfect world
I know I never should have gone away
But I still deserve to say goodbye
No matter what I've done

I see her in your face
Hear her in your voice
Last time I was here
They found her in the lake
You oughta see my scar
You think I'm made of stone
Didn't you tell me that

This perfect world
So blue I can't begin to say
This perfect world
They say that soon I will be gone away
But I still deserve to say goodbye
No matter what I've done

Now I've gone around it's far too late
And these pills won't even let me cry
No one knows you even when you're gone
But I still deserve to say goodbye
No matter what I've done
No matter what I've done

You oughta see your face
You oughta hear your voice
Lock this after me

I suggest: "I Confess" by The English Beat

"Fallaste Corazon" by Cuco Sanchez, if you understand spanish! It begins with Y tú que te creías el rey de todo el mundo; y tú que nunca fuiste capaz de perdonar ...
("And you who took yourself to be the king of the world; you who were never capable of pardoning anyone.... now you're asking for tenderness, if only out of pity..." Seemingly about a proud man who has been cruel and heartless in the past but now has fallen in love with the one person who is not inclined to love him back and is brought to his knees, possibly even by the one who is savouring this moment highly.)

I find it very pleasurable to listen to! You just think, HA. Now you know how it feels, sucker. No matter how nice you are by nature!

'Perfect Disguise' by Modest Mouse. Actually, a fair amount of songs written by Isaac Brock could fit into these catagories

Track: "Lesson Learned"
Artist: Ray Lamontagne
Album: Till the Sun Turns Black

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