In two of the last three years I’ve attempted, with minimal success, to do an Easter column. (I apparently ignored it completely in 2020. There was other stuff going on in April of 2020 so you’ll understand if I forgot.) There are no non-worship-music Easter songs, as it turns out, and my attempts were increasingly a stretch.
So let’s go farther outside the box.
Is it sacrilegious to list songs about coming back to life in honor of Easter? I mean, the holiday is to celebrate Jesus coming back to life. There aren’t really a ton of great Easter songs, at least not in the same semi-secular style as Christmas music, so we’re just going to have to cast a wider net.
Evanescence — “Bring Me To Life”
I’m starting with a bit of a reach. It’s not a good sign, I’ll concede that. It’s mostly the title that makes it about coming back to life. But hear me out: I really like the song.
Back when this was new, for a self-important metal fan, Evanescence was uncool. I’m not completely sure why, to be honest; possibly the nu-metal-style semi-rap thing shoved into it. But I was of course obligated to buy into it or risk being even less cool than I actually was, which in retrospect may not have been possible.
Now, though, I’m both uncool and old so I don’t care. I’ll like whatever stupid, uncool thing I want. I listen to boy bands in public, try and stop me. There’s a freedom to that.
Anyway, there has to be a song about coming back to life that isn’t about zombies…
Pink Floyd — “Coming Back to Life”
OK, the title is on the nose, but I wasn’t sure about this one because there’s a bit of a conflict between the aural and lyrical themes.
On the one hand, based purely on the instrumentals, this song sounds appropriate for the resurrection of a religious figure. It’s both wistful and hopeful, starts a bit melancholy but gradually increases the pace and begins to feel more and more upbeat. Really nails it.
On the other hand, the words? The words do not hit the mark. They’re asking where someone was, accusing them of hanging on someone else’s words, talking about the silence between them. It’s very much a breakup song. And that’s not appropriate! Not something one wants to imply about Jesus on Easter.
All that said… just don’t listen to the lyrics, OK? Pretend they’re happy. Got it? Got it. Now what else is out there…
Common — “Resurrection”
Did you know that serious-looking guy in the commercials is a rapper? It’s true! I know, I’m surprised, too. I thought he was just a pitchman.
Another in a series of massive reaches based on the title, but I included it to sing Common’s praises. He’s better than he gets credit for! I’m not gonna go putting him on Rapper Mount Rushmore or anything, and not just because I don’t want to be carving up anyone’s sacred mountains, but he’s got skills and he’s got something to say.
Man, it’s almost as hard to find songs legitimately about coming back to life as it is to find Easter songs. This is not going great.
The Creepshow — “Life After Death”
To balance out the Pink Floyd song, this is the exact opposite. The music? Not appropriate. It’s not black metal but it’s a bit heavy on guitars and distortion. I like it and that’s almost always a sign it’s not appropriate for a religious occasion. My tastes are not compatible with solemnity.
But the lyrics! They’re most appropriate yet! It’s about rising from the ashes to do what you were meant to do! Not in the same context, admittedly, but being left for dead and persevering anyway is a big part of it! Right? I mean, I’m no theologian, but it feels right.
OK, fine. I give up.
Dolly Parton — “He’s Alive”
I’ll include a legitimate, overtly religious song about the resurrection. But it’s gonna be by Dolly Parton!
I’ve considered it for every Easter column but it never fit the jokey, flailing attempts vibe. It really is, as far as I’m concerned, the only great Easter song, but I think I’ve milked that bit as much as I could so it’s time to just get to the good one and hang it up.
If you’re Christian or secular Christian-adjacent, happy Easter. Enjoy time with your family before the next wave hits. And if you don’t celebrate Easter, enjoy Cadbury Cream Egg season, the most wonderful time of the year. Now don’t expect me to ever attempt an Easter column ever again.
Follow editor Daniel J. Willis and tweet column ideas to him at Twitter.com/BayAreaData.