sad songs about joy

Posted: October 16, 2009

i've noticed recently on some new worship albums that sometimes there's this weird song on the album that has very positive lyrics but a very minor and almost depressingly sad melody.

i noticed this way back in march when i bought Page CXVI just to check out some redone "hymns". there's this song on it called "joy". i recognized the song from Psalty that i listened to in car rides as a kid or in sunday school. (if you don't know who Psalty is, thats fine... now that i look at him he's kinda scary. christians are crazy sometimes). the original song as i knew it can be found in this youtube video:

the remake in the Page CXVI album sounds pretty depressing. i sent it to my brother and a few friends familiar w/ the original song to see what they thought and everyone was like "this is so depressing. i almost wanna kill myself listening to this". you could listen for yourself below (sorry i couldnt find a better youtube recording):

on the new matt redman album "we shall not be shaken" there's a song called "my hope" which is based on the hymn "on christ the solid rock". the original hymn is a pretty victorious sounding song (if you don't know the song you can find countless recordings/versions of it on youtube). redman's remake is embedded below:

i'm posting about these songs because i think i'm beginning to understand the point these guys are trying to make in singing these songs in the manner that they do. while these songs can often be applied in a celebratory way, singing about the joy and hope we have in christ, i think the truths these words convey need to be heard even more when we're in the valleys of life... when we don't feel like celebrating or being "happy"... when the normal melodies of these songs would frustrate us or even make us angry that such a happy sounding song could exist when the world seems perpetually grey and gloomy in our eyes. it makes the truths we need to be reminded of more... receivable.

6 comments on “sad songs about joy”

  1. This reminds me of when David is often lamenting in Psalm. There is a definitely a tension between joy and sorrow, and to be honest, everything in life is at best bittersweet because it all comes to an end. Happiness is a choice, even in the midst of loss, heartache, grief and pain, which I think ultimately what "Joy" is about.

  2. haha why can't she properly sing "i've got"? reminds me of singers who sing a H infront of lines that start with a vowel.. mainly becuz that's exactly what she's doing haha

  3. interesting observation. that new "joy" version is shockingly different than the original. (psalty would be sad.)

    but anyways, i understand your point. our worship band has been doing a bunch of those super-celebratory, rocked out praise songs, although scaling back is necessary sometimes - emotional highs aren't always the right portrait of life.

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