Overtly religious music aside, there are no Easter songs.
My theory is that this is because Easter is, if you look at it objectively without the lenses of theology or tradition, the most confusing of holidays. For instance while Jesus’ birthday is Dec. 25, his re-birthday is the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the Spring Equinox.
Also, I’m not here to judge, but please don’t specifically label the day I’m killed by the state as good. “Willis died on what has become known as Good Tuesday” just doesn’t feel right, you know?
Anyway, let’s try to find some songs we can rebrand as Easter songs so we have a soundtrack to gorge on Cadbury eggs.
Jefferson Airplane — “White Rabbit”
Expected? Yes. Cliche? Yes. Do I care? No.
Sure, it’s a psychedelic retelling of Alice in Wonderland but somehow even more about drugs. But white rabbits are one of the three central pillars of secularized American Easter, along with finding eggs in the back yard and giving yourself diabetes, so clearly it’s also an Easter song.
It’s also an all-time great song and I wanted to listen to it.
Beastie Boys — “Egg Man”
Now that we did rabbits, it’s time for eggs. The second central tenet of American Easter is eggs.
What do eggs have to do with Jesus? Did Jesus lay eggs after the resurrection? The answer is “probably not.” Eggs actually are claimed to somehow symbolize Jesus’ empty tomb, which sounds like a stretch. And they were originally dyed red to symbolize Jesus’ blood, which also seems like a bit of a reach.
As an aside, Nowruz, the Persian New Year that has origins centuries or more before Jesus was born, occasionally involves painted eggs as part of the tradition of Haft-sin. Purely coincidental, I’m sure.
Bow Wow Wow — “I Want Candy”
Candy is, of course, the most important part of American Easter.
It’s crucial that the candy be unnaturally sweet. Just aggressively, almost maliciously sweet. It should somehow be sweeter than actual pure sugar to be a proper Easter treat.
Take Peeps, for example. They claim to be marshmallows, right? Marshmallows are just sugar, water and gelatin whipped to a foam and dried. The main ingredient is just sugar. And somehow Peeps are way, way sweeter than that. Presumably the inventor of Peeps invented a new, sweeter form of sugar, or distilled sugar down to its purest essence, so that when you eat one, your teeth hurt for three days.
I have no snark about Cadbury eggs though. They’re basically ambrosia.
Babymetal — “Gimme Chocolate!!”
While candy is the most important facet, chocolate is the most important candy.
Chocolate bunnies. Chocolate eggs. Chocolate eggs filled with the world’s most perfect cream filling. Chocolate eggs filled with what they charitably call “peanut butter.” Just straight-up chocolates.
And if you’re a kid on Easter morning, waking up to search through the basket left by the giant anthropomorphic bunny? They may not be the words coming out of your mouth, but the thought in your head is, “Gimme chocolate!!”
Norman Greenbaum — “Spirit in the Sky”
Oh, and I guess there’s also a religious root to Easter. So let’s include a religious song too. Only seems fair.[Gokhman note: Come back next year as Willis dissects Israeli Easter].
Follow editor Daniel J. Willis and tweet column ideas to him at Twitter.com/BayAreaData.