Brian Eno, known to many as the brains and brilliance behind Roxy Music, and also the production muse on albums by David Bowie, The Talking Heads, U2, and Coldplay, was interviewed in The Guardian. He has a lot to say about music in general, but I was struck particularly by his take on gospel music:
“I belong to a gospel choir. They know I am an atheist but they are very tolerant. Ultimately, the message of gospel music is that everything’s going to be all right. If you listen to millions of gospel records – and I have – and try to distill what they all have in common it’s a sense that somehow we can triumph. There could be many thousands of things. But the message… well , there are two messages… one is a kind of optimism for the future rather than a pessimism. Gospel music is never pessimistic, it’s never ‘oh my god, its all going down the tubes’, like the blues often is. Gospel music is always about the possibility of transcendence, of things getting better. It’s also about the loss of ego, that you will win through or get over things by losing yourself, becoming part of something better. Both those messages are completely universal and are nothing to do with religion or a particular religion. They’re to do with basic human attitudes and you can have that attitude and therefore sing gospel even if you are not religious.”
I wanted to jump up and down and shout “Hallelujah!” when I read this. What do you think?