I should have seen this coming. The most inconvenient thing about the Spotify app (the inability to play albums or playlists straight through without paying for Premium) has now becomes the most inconvenient thing about the desktop version. It’s not a design flaw, of course. It’s just one of the sticks they use to prod you into forking over your money.

As someone who likes to listen to albums all the way through, I find this extremely frustrating. It’s not that it’s unfair—what’s unfair is how much music I have gotten to listen to over the years without paying for it. Still, I imagine that, from now on, I’ll simply listen to albums on Youtube, where more and more artists are putting their music.

Ah, Holy Jesus

In his talk at Psalm Tap last week, Aaron Tripp walked us through Robert Bridges’s translation of “Haerzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen,” better known as “Ah, Holy Jesus, How Hast Thou Offended?” Watch his talk here.

Of course, excited as I was, I couldn’t stop myself from pointing out that the last line of each stanza, set side by side, form a summary of the Gospel.

Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended,
that we to judge thee have in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by thine own rejected,
O most afflicted!

Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee!
‘Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee;
I crucified thee.

Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
the slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered.
For our atonement, while we nothing heeded,
God interceded.

For me, kind Jesus, was thy incarnation,
thy mortal sorrow, and thy life’s oblation;
thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion,
for my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee,
I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee,
think on thy pity and thy love unswerving,
not my deserving.

Lyrics from here

O, most afflicted! I crucified thee. God interceded for my salvation — not my deserving.

Advent Listening Nos. 16-20

Here’s me, huffing and puffing, sprinting to catch up with a rapidly diminished Advent season. This album of Swedish Christmas music has enough goodness to count for the whole third week of the season. So, here you go.

Advent Listening No. 14

Peace be to you and grace from him
Who freed us from our sins
Who loved us all and shed his blood
That we might saved be
sing Holy, Holy to our Lord
The Lord, Almighty God
Who was, and is, and is to come
Sing Holy, Holy Lord
Rejoice in heaven, all ye that dwell within
Rejoice on earth, ye saints below
For Christ is coming, is coming soon
For Christ is coming soon
E’en so Lord Jesus, quickly come
And night shall be no more
They need no light nor lamp nor sun
For Christ will be their All!

Advent Listening No. 13

Another one from Billings for you.

Methinks I see an heav’nly host,
Of angels on the wing!
Methinks I hear their cheerful notes,
So merrily they sing,
So merrily they sing.
Let all your fears be banish’d hence,
Glad tidings I proclaim;
For there’s a savior born today,
And Jesus is His name,
And Jesus is his name.

Lord! and shall angels have their songs
And men no tunes to raise?
O may we lose these useless tongues
When they forget to praise!
‘Glory to God that reigns above,
That pitied us forlorn!’
We join to sing our Maker’s love,
For there’s a Saviour born.

Advent Listening No. 12

Love ’em or hate ’em, The Oh Hellos sure play expressive music. This rendition of the Coventry Carol has one of the most appropriate deliveries I’ve heard of the lines:

Herod the king, in his raging
charged he hath this day
his men of might, in his own sight
all children young to slay

Advent Listening No. 11

Excuse the prom suits and garish lighting and enjoy.

Gaudete, gaudete, Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine, gaudete
Gaudete, gaudete, Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine, gaudete

Tempus adest gratiae, hoc quod optabamus
Carmina laetitiae devote redamus

Deus homo factus est natura mirante
Mundus renovatus est a Christo regnante

Ezechielis porta clausa per transitur
Unde lux est orta salus invenitur

Ergo nostra cantio psallat iam in lustro
Benedicat domino salus regi nostro

Rejoice, rejoice, Christ is born of the Virgin Mary!
Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice! Etc.

The time of thanksgiving is here, that which we have been hoping for.
Let us utter songs of joy with devotion!

God has been made man to the astonishment of all Creation.
The world has been made new by the reigning Christ.

Ezekiel’s closed gate has been entered.
Salvation is found from where the light has risen.

Therefore, let our chorus sing psalms of purification,
let us bless the Lord. Good health to our King!

Advent Listening No. 10

Many Christmas carols draw inspiration from winter. I think this works well with what might be called folk carols, like “Good King Wenceslas,” but there aren’t very many wintry Christmas hymns that make good sacred music. But there are some exceptions…