Baker’s Dozen #1: “Befriended” by The Innocence Mission
As my favorite album of the decade (choosing between number one and number two was tough) you have to know that whatBefriended album means to me has more to do with my wife, my kids, my mortality, my family, and my Lord than it does the simple songs on the album. This album is not the most complex of the decade, not the most artistically experimental, not the most profound, not the most powerful, not the most perfect. But I think it is the most beautiful.
According to the story, Karen Peris wrote these songs in a year that saw the death of her mother and the birth of a child. It was a year of heavy loss and abundant happiness. That drips off every word of this album. It’s a context that the songs cannot live without. But Karen’s strong Christian faith is not absent in that context. She’s anchored and stable, fully confident in expressing life’s ebb and tide in the most subtle, crafted, poignant lyric.
Tomorrow On The Runway:
While my heart is sinking I do not want my voice to go out into the air. Did you leave the darkness without me? You’re always miles ahead.
I Never Knew You From the Sun:
Snow is on the ground but this is not my landscape now, where I find myself without you. Oh I never knew you from the sun.
Flower forth, and soon, branch of Easter. I want to be here when he needs me, he will see a beautiful change. Oh and he wades into the yard. Nothing has been what I’d guessed so far. Unforeseen, this most sweet, beautiful change.
I wish I could post all the lyrics here for you. They are all so beautiful and consistently rich.
The low-key beauty of the music sets the songs exactly where they need to be. Intimately in your heart. Karen’s voice is that of a old friend whispering tenderly in your year words of consolation, comfort and joy. My first child was born the year this album came out. These songs melted themselves into my own experience in such a way, I don’t think I could separate my experience from the words and tones they express.
Songs don’t get more beautiful than that.
Speaking of Innocence Mission…