2024 Eastertide Playlist Notes

Welcome to PACC’s 2024 Eastertide Playlist notes! This is an eclectic mix of music meant to help us get in (and stay in) the groove of Resurrection during the season of Eastertide, which runs from Easter to Pentecost.

Listen to the playlist here; send me suggestions for additions at PastorLeah at pacc-ucc.org. 

Window in the Skies, U2. The epitome of a pop resurrection anthem: “The grave is now a groove!” The chorus asks us over and over again, “Oh can’t you see what love has done – what it’s doing to me?”, reminding us that Easter isn’t just an event we witness – it’s one that works on us throughout our lives if we let it. Bonus: the music video is a treat.

Redemption Song, arr. Sheku Kanneh-Mason. This moving instrumental take on Bob Marley’s iconic piece is arranged by world-reknowned 25-year-old Black British cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason and is played by Sheku and his six siblings: Isata (piano), Braimah (violin), Konya (violin and piano), Jeneba (cello and piano),  Aminata (piano and violin), Mariatu (cello and piano). “Won’t you help me sing these songs of freedom?” 

Spirit in the Sky, Norman Greenbaum. This 1970 classic opens with that iconic fuzzed out guitar, which gives such a great vibe we’ll ignore the questionable theology about having to be perfect to get to heaven 🙃 Greenbaum, an observant Jew from Malden, was inspired by gospel singer Porter Wagoner and by Westerns where cowboys and varmints want to “die with their boots on”1; Jesus was just something he used for content, but luckily for us he did! Although it was his only hit, the song has been featured in 100+ movies and TV shows. 

Halo, Beyoncé. It’s written about a romantic partner, but ever since a youth group kid in Atlanta shared that this song encapsulated her relationship with God, I can’t unhear it – because life with God can be risky and sometimes it’s hard not to shut God out. Plus it’s Beyoncé, without whom no playlist is complete.

Kyrie, Mr. Mister. This gloriously 80s track, the refrain of which means “Lord, have mercy,” has some great wilderness/Garden of Gethsemane lyrics (and is great for singing in your car). But the feel of the soaring chorus is 100% resurrection. 

Can’t No Grave Hold My Body Down, Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Known as the godmother of rock and roll, Tharpe was a Black gospel electric guitarist and singer who pioneered a new style (including her use of distortion) that strongly influenced later musicians like Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, and Johnny Cash, whose favorite childhood singer was Tharpe.3 She believed gospel didn’t just belong in church; controversially, she took her music to nightclubs and music halls, including this piece which she introduces as an Easter song. Learn more about her legacy here.

Solsbury Hill, Peter Gabriel. Written about a spiritual experience Gabriel had after leaving the band Genesis, Gabriel has said the song is “about being prepared to lose what you have for what you might get”2, which sounds a lot like resurrection and Jesus’ words about the Gospel to me.

Joyful, Joyful, Lauryn Hill, Sister Act 2. This one opens with the incomparable Ms. Hill’s vocals and then gets you on your feet with its early 90s hip-hop take on the classic hymn. 

Beautiful Things, Gungor. A lovely, gently rock meditation on the power of God’s resurrection love. You might recognize my Ash Wednesday blessing from this song.

Good People, Mumford & Sons x Pharrell Williams. This collaboration by the British folk rock band and the American pop/rap/hip-hop star also features backing vocals from Native Voices, a six-person choir of Indigenous singers form the Northern Great Plains in the US and Canada. Martin Mumford spoke on the “gospel influence” behind the song, saying “We talked about how change doesn’t come without a revelation first…We’d all had experience with that, and it felt like we were ready to write a song that felt quite connected to how we were feeling and reaching into some soulful level.”4

The Holy City, The Aeolians under Jason Max Ferdinand. We finish with this stirring rendition of the Victorian classic by Michael Maybrick (writing as Stephen Adams) and Frederic Weatherly, which describes Palm Sunday, its aftermath, and the vision of a new heaven and earth from Revelation. The Aeolians are a heavily accoladed choir from Oakwood University, a historically Black Seventh Day Adventist college in Huntsville, Alabama.


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Greenbaum
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solsbury_Hill_(song)
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sister_Rosetta_Tharpe
  4. https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/mumford-and-sons-pharrell-good-people-single-1234948055/