Your Playlist Tells a Story about You … or Sorts – Brad Jersak

My Favorite Music:
Recently, an author friend who I’m just getting to know sent me this request:
“Got time for a short getting-to-know-you game? Music is such an individual taste. I’d enjoy getting to know you better – how about we share (quickly) Three Favorite Songs — with one short sentence about “Why this song?”
A wonderful game, but oh so difficult. My answers today would be different than yesterday or tomorrow. And sometimes I love a song for the sound rather than the lyrics, or I hear the lyrics through a particular filter, so you can’t always make too much of the content. But in the spirit of living in the grace of just this day, I might say:
Love is Blindness – the Jack White cover of U2’s song. Not my favorite U2 song, but Jack’s passion and especially the guitar solo starting at 1:59 leave his fingers and my ears bleeding. You can hear that version here:
Comfortably Numb – the Eddie Vedder and Roger Waters live version – For me, it’s Vedder’s voice joining in at 1:03 that enraptures me. But this too has a beautiful guitar solo, which just isn’t the same unless David Gilmour is playing it. You get that solo here at 4:32.
Barcelona – Freddy Mercury and Montserrat Caballe – I love Queen and symphonic rock in general. So I could have picked from any number of their songs. But this duet was written a while before the Barcelona Olympics, but became its theme song. Again, Freddy’s passion (at 3:05 and 4:10, for example) just takes me soaring. Imagine: I once played this full blast in my headphones while skiing down Whistler! Okay, actually I only lived it vicariously through my friend Patrick.
Now if you ask me tomorrow:
But I will say that my taste varies wildly. Sinead O’Conner’s “Theology” album stays on repeat for days on end.
And I love Orthodox liturgical music. My very favorite is Father Serafim (from Georgia) who sings in Aramaic in the style of Syrian Orthodox wailing (not unrelated to what you hear in Muslim towers or Jewish synagogues, since they have that common heritage). He does the Psalms so you can get content (from the Orthodox Bible’s breakdown of the chapters). This is my fave:
And then I’ve had LP’s cover of Beyonce’s Halo on A LOT this summer. Okay, yes, this is definitely my song of the year. The vibrato and also that this was the song used as the key turning point in the HBO miniseries (9 episodes) “The Young Pope” when the pope (Jude Law) starts turning from fundamentalism to love. Here’s the cover I like: But the actual TV scene also has a nice, gentle rendition – you get the music and speech here:

Bonus Tracks

Sometimes you just have to get crazy and shake your head. Or have someone do it for you.

For those moments, I go with

Jaan Pehchan Ho – Mohammed Rafi, Gumnaam Dance Song –

But if you just feel broken and need some tender loving care, my go to is Jason Upton, “Into the Sky” – I love this live version because he tells the wonderful story behind the song! VERY healing to know that Jesus comes into our “next-to-me-place.”

Picture of Brad Jersak

Brad Jersak

Bradley Jersak is an author and teacher based in Abbotsford, BC. He serves as a reader and monastery preacher at All Saints of North America Orthodox Monastery. Read More