Six most poignant takes on religion

October 20, 2013

Today part 2 of my 2 part series on religious music. Yesterday I listed my six favourite religiously inspired musical compositions, today it’s all about holding up a critical mirror to that very same religion[1]. To qualify for this listing, a piece has to be musically up to snuff, funny or ironic rather than serious or angry and focus on either religious dogma or religious practice.

From funniest to somewhat less funniest:

1. Always look on the bright side of life by Monty Python. Composed by Eric Idle. Nothing quite sticks in your head like this brilliant ending to this brilliant film.

2. The Spanish Inquisition composed by Mel Brooks. “Torquemada; do not implore him for compassion. Torquemada; do not beg him for forgiveness. Torquemada; do not ask him for mercy. Let’s face it, you can’t torquemada anything!” (I linked a high quality version of the video which unfortunately lacks the non-musical introduction).

3. The Vatican Rag composed by Tom Lehrer. Mathematician and musician and satirist, what more can you ask for?

4. Creation Science 101 composed by Roy Zimmerman, modern master of the clever rhyme.. “… and you are just beginning to, educate yourself when you, shun, evolution.” Definitely check out his other stuff too.

5. The Good Book composed by Tim Minchin. Not his best work, but his other stuff either reflects on Islam or is angry (neither of those links safe for work).

6. Herod’s Song composed by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. The sceptics anthem… “Prove to me that you’re divine, turn my water into wine. That’s all you need do, then I’ll know it’s all true.” I’ve long since had a soft spot for Jesus Christ Super Star, it seems to me to be a very human scale version of the Biblical accounts, where nobody is totally good or totally evil, but rather everyone has decent motivations which lead them to immoral acts in the face of an imperfect world. Plus the music and the dancing in the 1973 version is totally awesome.

[1] Again, I’m going to limit myself to Christianity.

One Response to “Six most poignant takes on religion”

  1. visose Says:

    I don’t know if you are into musical theater, but while in Seattle you might want to catch this show: http://www.seattle-theatre.com/theaters/paramount-theatre/the-book-of-mormon.php

    I haven’t seen it but critics seem to love it.
    My guess is us Europeans wont find it as funny but I’d probably go anyway if I was on a city that had it.

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