‘Greatest Hits’ albums – they’re maligned by the ‘die-hards’ (The Cure’s army of shoe-staring devotees have always been the worst for this, by the way), but they’re perfect for the casual fan, who has only an entry-level interest in the artist or group. Almost any band that has enjoyed reasonable success over a sustained period will eventually release a ‘Greatest Hits’ compilation.
Few, though, have enough popular material to justify a ‘Greatest Hits: Volume 2’. The ones that try often end up dredging the bottom of the lake to fill the track list. I remember one of my friends in high school took his Credence Clearwater Revival Chronicle: Volume 2 disc to the local CD shop for a trade-in. The guy behind the counter asked how much my friend was willing to pay for them to take it off his hands.
So imagine my surprise to learn of a forthcoming ‘Volume 2’ from none other than Jesus himself! He’s digging deep into the catalogue, remastering old favourites and including bootleg recordings. Keep your eye on this year’s Grammy Awards, because this one’s easily the best album of spoken word since William Shatner’s The Transformed Man. Here are some of the highlights to be included:
- ‘He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. He found his place and decided to freestyle it: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor who help themselves and don’t take hand-outs. He has sent me to proclaim freedom to those who have undergone extreme vetting.”’
- ‘Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, provided it serves the national interest and doesn’t ask you to surrender any of your rights, freedoms or finances.’
- ‘When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” “You have spoken truly, Philip”, Jesus replied. “Why should our hard-earned money be used to feed these shiftless freeloaders?”
- ‘They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must realise that to make an omelette, you have to break some eggs. Do whatever it takes to get to the top. There’s no place in the kingdom for losers and failures.”’
- ‘[An expert in the law] asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?” In reply, Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho. Along the way, he didn’t pass any Muslims, illegals, Mexicans, gays, dangerous black people, single mums, feminists or liberals, and finally arrived safely to his suburban community and his true neighbours.”
- ‘Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. “Swing away!” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword understand their rights and strike a blow against tyranny!”’
- ‘He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach military, economic and cultural superiority to all nations.”’
Of course, we can expect an outcry from the purists at this album’s release. Why is Jesus altering his signature sound? They won’t appreciate these remastered tracks, which represent a major departure from his earlier gospel material on the Kingdom of God and a life of sacrifice.
But that stuff’s for old ladies and small children. Those who want to sit at the big kids’ table will love this record. Jesus is finally getting real, changing with the times and listening to the voice of the people – and they’re hungry for someone to take names and kick ass.
Like every top-selling artist, he’s giving the fans what they want.
- Feature Image: Image of Jesus from christian-daily.org. Doctored and re-photographed on the iPod by me.
- Creedence Clearwater Revival Chronicle: Volume Two album cover from Wikipedia, under fair use rules to reference the album.
Quotations (sort of) from Luke 4:18, Matthew 6:33, John 6:5-7, Mark 9:33-34, Luke 10:29-30, Matthew 26:50-52, Mark 16:15 in the New International Version