Songs about God typically fall into their own distinct category.
Actually, you might say they fall into several categories/genres ranging from traditional hymns to worship and devotional songs to Contemporary Christian to pop.
But while songs about God have their own special space in music, they also infiltrate every genre, both in obscure lyrical ways and in more blatant terms.
Regardless of the genre they’re in, God songs carry a lot of the same narrative, either thanking God for being a constant presence or wondering where God is.
Now, while we’re always up for a good praise and worship or spiritual longing song, here at Audio Listed we get excited when a song about God or religion says something we haven’t heard before or haven’t heard in exactly the same way.
We think these God songs represent some of the most unique and standout in popular music, bringing a little something special to the topic.
Is God Real? Kasey Chambers
This song is pretty self-explanatory. The title pretty much captures the theme.
But it really takes on meaning when you know the story of why Kasey Chambers wrote this song.
She’s a believer, her son’s father is an atheist. She imagined that had to leave their kid pretty confused.
So, she tried to write this song from his point of view. (The video kind of tells that story and uses the real kid.)
It’s sweet, it’s gentle, and it works surprisingly well, because, for coming from the mind of a believer, it manages to be straight-up agnostic.
How Do You Do – Shakira
A song that’s questioning, much like the song above, this one harbors considerably more underlying anger.
And why not?
These are hard questions she’s asking, and where the f*ck are the answers?
This song also does the thing people simply aren’t supposed to do.
It doesn’t just question the infallibility of God, it straight up says “Hey God, you messed some stuff up.”
And it does so in a song that is musically outstanding with an absolutely chill-worthy bridge.
God Ain’t No Stained Glass Window – Johnny Cash
The divide between God as universal entity and God as a man-made construct (i.e. religion) is a ripe subject for song.
It’s been dabbled in from time to time, but rarely as simply or as directly as in this song.
The most interesting thing about the lyrics of this song is that they don’t even proclaim the existence of God, only the belief in the existence of God.
But they do proclaim, if God does exist, He (or She or It) isn’t locked inside a church somewhere.
Witness – Sarah McLachlan
While “Dear God” might be Sarah McLachlan’s more obvious entry into this category (and we do appreciate that song’s blatant declaration that all the pain in the world is exactly why it’s hard for some people to believe there is a God), we frankly find this the superior song.
First off, McLachlan co-wrote this one, which gives it deeper resonance.
Second, the theme is truly haunting.
We’ll do anything for a touch of grace, it says, anything.
But what if we’re wrong?
Borrowed Heaven – The Corrs
There are a whole lot of songs about Heaven as an escape from this mortal world.
There are far fewer about this world as an extension of Heaven. (For good reason, perhaps. Most of our visions of Heaven don’t include the hatred, violence, neglect, and pain that shapes so much of life on Earth.)
But this song does a bang-up job of reframing moments, of marking the heavenly instances in everyday living.
If there’s not a lyric or two in here that hitches your breath or tickles your tear ducts, we sincerely apologize, because this one gets us every time.
Different God – Brian Kennedy
There are so many different versions of God.
Between religions. Between believers.
God is malleable, bending to fit the needs and ideals of followers everywhere.
But, amidst those variations, one thing tends to hold true – if you find God through organized religion, He/She/It typically comes with a whole lot of fire and brimstone.
This song asks the simple, yet intensely deep question “Why?” Why have you taken something that should be so beautiful and made it so ugly?
Even God Must Get the Blues – Helen Darling
Last but not least on our list of songs about God that aren’t the usual fare is this song, which is (again) pretty self-explanatory – the title sums up the plot – and does something many songs do, assigning God human-like characteristics, namely the ability to feel and hurt just like us.
The song was popularized by Jo Dee Messina when it appeared on her 1998 double-platinum album I’m Alright.
But regardless of Messina’s success with it, and numerous incorrect attributions crediting her as the original artist, Messina was not the first person to record the song.
Three years before Messina, in 1995, Helen Darling included “Even God Must Get the Blues” on her only (released) studio album.
Now, not to knock Messina who has recorded many a song we love, but Darling has the better voice for this song and the more profound take on it, providing a grittier, gravellier, less flowery rendition that captures the ache in the lyric.
Other Unique Songs About God
To finish up, here are a few songs about God with a unique take that didn’t make our list, but are worth checking out.