Thursday, July 30, 2015

My Favorite Songs Inspired by Narnia


Currently Writing:   Merlin Book 2
Currently Reading:  Dune by Frank Herbert
                                The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (reread)
                                The Woodcutter by Kate Danley (Kindle)
                                The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket (audio)


For the purposes of this post, I'm not considering any instrumental tracks, but I will mention some of my favorites. "Heart of Courage" by Two Steps from Hell was the trailer music for the Walden version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and it still gets me excited for Narnia. There are various tracks from the LWW and PC soundtracks that evoke the longing for Narnia, such as "Narnian Lullaby," and the themes "One Day" and "Reepicheep's Theme." The Narnian Lullaby from the BBC Narnia films is also a favorite of mine. Now, without further ado, here are some of my favorite Narnian songs:

"In Like a Lion (Always Winter)" by Relient K from Let It Snow, Baby … Let It Reindeer

This song was originally written for Music Inspired by The Chronicles of Narnia, but was not released until this Christmas album. It captures a lot of the spirit of LWW and the low times that can be associated with the Christmas season when we never seem to get to Christ.


"Edmund" by Heath McNeese from The Weight of Glory

Part of an album dedicated to Lewis' works, this song is one of the best on the album not only for its direct connection to the source material but also for its great use of artistic license. Some of the lines don't actually fit with the book (like the references to the singer's parents and their reactions to the Witch) but the song as a whole still captures Edmund in the early parts of LWW. I recommend checking out the entire album.


"The Lament of Eustace Scrubb" by The Oh Hellos from Through the Deep Dark Valley

This song is actually part of the reason I love Heath McNeese's "Edmund"; it takes a similar tack in writing a song that's from the perspective of the titular character while allowing itself the freedom to write something that's not concerned with rigidly sticking to what's said in the book. My only complain about this song is that it only has three very short verses, and I'd be happy with two or three times that if they were of this same quality.


"Voyage" by Scott Krippayne

This single was released not long after the Walden film of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and I often tell my Narnia-loving friends that I would have had this song over the Pauline Baynes-illustrated credits – if the movie had actually followed the book and not tried to be "the book C.S. Lewis didn't write."


"The Call" by Regina Spektor from The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian original soundtrack

While the song's opening lyrics are placed awkwardly in the movie (e.g. right after the Susan-Caspian kiss that should never have happened), the lyrics as a whole actually cover a good deal of the remaining books, with references to the children coming back when called and "when it's over." There's even a hint of warning in the lines about others being unable to feel what the children feel, a warning emphasized in the film as the camera remains on Susan as she reenters "normal" life.


"Music from a Garden" and "Silver" by The Gray Havens from Where Eyes Don't Go

If you have not had a chance to look up this band, do so now. They are fantastic sing-songwriter-storytellers. With a name like the Gray Havens (spelled slightly differently from the Grey Havens of Middle-earth), you expect to have some Tolkien and/or Lewis references show up in their music. These two songs, from their EP, are the most Lewis-infused. "Music from a Garden" incorporates the imagery common to both Lewis' and Tolkien's creation stories in The Magician's Nephew and The Silmarillion respectively – that of the universe being sung into being. It also speaks of the Lion as the Creator and of His return. "Silver" borrows from both VDT and The Silver Chair to tell a new story about seafaring adventurers.


From Courage, Dear Heart by Meg Sutherland:

"Real" deals with Lucy not wanting to leave Narnia at the end of VDT and her faith in the realness of Aslan. She reminisces about her journey, recalling the appearance of the albatross on the Dark Island, and prepares to return to her own world. This is one of the best Narnian songs I've come across

"Doug's Song" borrows imagery from MN similarly to "Music from a Garden."

"Don't Be Afraid of the Dark," while not specifically Narnian, fits nicely with "Real" and the use of the Dark Island and serves as a reminder not to be afraid of the hard times we face in life, because they can be used for something better.

You really should check out this entire album. Douglas Gresham helped produce it, and his remarks on Ms. Sutherland's ability to capture the nostalgia and longing for Narnia come as very high praise.


Music Inspired by The Chronicles of Narnia by Various

There are a couple of songs on here that are especially Narnian in my opinion. A couple, like "Turkish Delight" and "New World," aren't exactly Narnian in style but still evoke the book in a fun way. I wouldn't ask the artists to change their musical styles just for this album, and the fact that they somehow capture Narnia in such non-Narnian music makes me love the songs even more. I think "Remembering You" and "Lion" are possibly the most Narnian songs on this album. The first looks back at Aslan from the end of LWW from the viewpoint of several characters and does a handy job of encapsulating the emotion of the book. "Lion," on the other hand, focuses on Aslan in the midst of the story; I'd actually argue that this song fits Lucy in the middle of Prince Caspian better than it does LWW, but I think that's primarily due to the "Now you are a lioness" line from the book. This album is available on Spotify.


"Further Up/Further In" by My Epic from Yet

This band seems to have a mild Lewisian influence, and this song has only the barest of Narnian references despite the title – it talks about all times being "soon" to God. That said, it's worth a listen because they make that line the linchpin of the song. Their song "Rich" also carries some of the longing from The Last Battle and mixes it with imagery from VDT.


"The Witch and the Lion" by Narnia from Desert Land

One of the band's few songs actually featuring Narnia-related lyrics, it's worth checking out if you enjoy heavy metal. The band's music is pretty good in general and rife with references to God and His saving grace, but surprisingly lacking in Narnia references.

"When the Stars are Falling" by Narnia from The Course of a Generation

This song, while not explicitly Narnian, seems to have some overtones from The Last Battle.


The Roar of Love by 2nd Chapter of Acts

This album is a bit odd because it's one of the better-known and -loved Narnia-related musical projects but its style is not something I care for overall. That being said, there are a few songs that I would consider going back to apart from the album (which carries the listener through the entire story of LWW).

"Tell the Truth" and "Turkish Delight" both deal with Edmund's first visit to Narnia and its aftermath. I don't find this "Turkish Delight" as memorable (or fun) as David Crowder's, but it's a livelier song than most on this album, and it fits very well with the plaintive tone of "Tell the Truth."

"Christmas Where Are You?" takes its inspiration from the same line as Relient K's "In like a Lion" but isn't quite as memorable.

"I've Heard the Stars Sing Before" actually hearkens back to MN; I think it's meant to be the Professor's song, meditating on his mysterious (if you've read LWW and not MN) connection to Narnia, but it follows Aslan's resurrection so that may not be the case.

"He's Broken Thru" celebrates Aslan's resurrection and the freeing of the statues in the Witch's house. It also reveals the Witch's knowledge of Aslan's victory over her magic.

"Something is Happening in Me" and "White Stag" close out the album by examining Edmund's change of heart and the return of the children from Narnia. Though not necessarily high on my list of Narnian songs, this album is one Narnia fans should listen to just to have the experience. The entire album is available on Spotify.


Awake! by The Pilgrim's Regress

This is a concept album based on The Magician's Nephew. It's only five songs long, but it has some fun instrumentals. The best vocal song is "The Bell and the Hammer."


"Eastward" by Nick Milos

This song is meant to be from Reepicheep's perspective during VDT. It reminds me of "Bright Eyes" from the film of Watership Down.

Are there albums or songs that I've missed? Despite my intentions for this to be a "favorites" post, it seems to have grown into more of a list of what's out there (though it doesn't include songs from the musical productions that have popped up around the globe). I'm always interested in finding new songs based on Narnia. Let me know in the comments!

2 comments:

  1. I just found your blog via Mirriam's, and got rather excited when I read this post and saw so many personal favorites...and so many that I hadn't yet discovered. I've poked around a bit on your older posts (I'm an irrepressibly nosy blogger) and have found inspiration and some food for thought. Thanks for making the internet a bit more wholesome.

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    1. I'm glad you've found something new, Janie, and that you've found some inspiration among my ramblings. Thanks for reading; I hope you'll keep coming back!

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