While I like that song, Julie loves it. It never fails to make her cry — she sees our now grown daughter in the story, reflects back on 24 years, and loses it. I stand by, slightly bemused by it all.
But it did get me thinking: what does it take for me to cry at a song? What combination of melody and lyrics, modulation and rhythm puts a lump in my throat and brings a tear to my eye?
The answers — somewhat surprisingly given my usual musical tastes — come primarily from faith-based songs.
So here they are: five songs that choke me up.
5. The Living Years, Mike & The Mechanics. Depressing enough? Hopeful enough? Either way: say what needs to be said before it’s too late.
4. I Still Believe, The Call. In a time of doubt and wrestling, it was good to know someone else was struggling to believe as well. The late Michael Been didn’t know it, but he wrote this one for me.
3. You Are My King, assorted. His forsaken-ness leads to my forgiveness and the result is a soft, sublime beauty.
2. And Can It Be? Now: it has to be in the right setting. This is the national anthem of Asbury Seminary and when you get 1,000 or more students and grads together and you realize that you get to take a spot in a long line of Gospel preachers . . . well, you realize it’s not at all about you. And so God becomes worthy of those tears.
1. One Thing Remains, by Jesus Culture. If “And Can It Be?” is a nod to tradition, this top song is a bow to modernity. This one helps me experience how relentlessly I am pursued by a love that I did not earn and cannot buy.