Wednesday, September 16, 2015

One Wild Life: Soul by Gungor

Love will swim the oceans deep and blue
Sail across the sky ‘til the sky is through
Reach between the space of solitude
Span all other worlds just to get to you
 (from Moon Song by Gungor)

The Liturgists podcast has been one of the main things keeping the faith-room of my mind/heart (where is it?) well-lit and open over the past year while I’ve boxed up doctrines and theology and shifted them out. (Yes, it’s a weird metaphor, but I have limited time.) Half of the team, Michael Gungor, is also half of the band Gungor, who’ve very recently released an album called One Wild Life: Soul. I’ve stumbled upon previous Gungor albums and songs in various places over the last couple of years; my favourites are Beautiful Things and this one:

So. I didn’t know much about Gungor’s music, but I heard about and related to Michael’s journey through the podcast (the Lost and Found episodes are amazeballs), and I imagined how good it could be to hear what that experience sounded like after having been kneaded into poetry and music by the band, which made me decide to throw caution to the wind and pre-order the album. 

I flipping love this album, I can’t stop listening to it. (Please send help.) It probably is just a coincidence that it turned up in iTunes on the same day I’d read through a particularly awful kids’ Bible (a birthday gift for Hazel) – featuring an excessive amount of people getting injured by an angry God – but I’m enjoying attributing it to divine timing anyway. My first 19 or so listens were mostly about enjoying the sound and getting teary each time the music swelled and slowly piecing together lyrics and ideas; the subsequent 413 or so listens have been enjoying each song as a whole. I love both Michael and Lisa Gungor’s voices. I love the layers of sound. I love that the album draws you in and takes you somewhere, but that it’s equally good just playing in the background. (I have no idea how to write about music – is this clear yet?)

I’ve had numerous moments of finally figuring out what a part of a song says and feeling my insides spontaneously warm with complete understanding and relief and solidarity. One of my favourite moments on the album is about two minutes into We Are Stronger – a song about unity with people who don’t see eye to eye – where it says, at the end of a longer list, “Every gay life matters | Fundamentalists matter | Here's to life and all its branches” and then launches into a full choir-y celebration that makes you (me) want to throw your (my) hands into the air and/or cry with joy. It’s glorious. (The “together we are stronger” part that comes after this gets stuck in Mo’s head all the time, and I love hearing him sing it to himself.)

My favourite song, though, is this one, because the lyrics are perfect and it makes me dance, both of which fall extremely high on my list of criteria for falling obsessively in love with a song:

Prepare the way of the Lord
Wielding mercy like a sword
Every mountaintop will be made low
Know, He holds the earth like dust
And His judgement comes to us
And His judgement is love
May our judgement be love

I also love (LOVE) the song You. And Moon Song. And Lion of Rock. In fact, all of the songs are gold, except for Introduction (I skip this one, but only because I like the second song too much and can’t wait to get to it… I actually have no memory of what the Introduction sounds like. I should listen to it again), and possibly Am I (this one’s growing on me).

Musically, the album covers a variety of styles, which (I’ve realised, since spreading my obsession with this one to previous Gungor albums) could probably be categorised as “Gungor Style” (not to be confused with “Gangnam Style”), so it’s possible that there’s a sound in there for you (it depends who “you” is. There is no death metal on this album). Theologically, this album may be challenging for some, and written off by others. I think it’s safe to assume that the author of the kids’ Bible I mentioned, for example, would find the idea of Gods judgment involving compassion rather than screaming and bloodshed heretical – he would probably not appreciate this album to the same, thrilling extent I do. 

One Wild Life: Soul by Gungor is on Spotify, so you can preview it there, and I recommend it wholeheartedly. It scores 47 out of 5 soaring harmonies.


  1. So I listened to the podcast episode about this album today and after hearing you talk about the album and then reading this I'll be buying it for sure. Also, just a. Reminder that you need to FB the guys about the podcast you want them to do ;)

  2. I sooooo love the liturgists. thanks so much for recommended their podcast to me. It is currently filling the position of 'church' for me. x

  3. I'm soooooooo glad you love them! It's filling the same position for me, too.

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