Songs about forgiveness?
August 22, 2005 7:34 AM   Subscribe

Songs with "forgiveness" as theme?

-Specific question: I'm looking for a song that I can use as a teaching tool for a Yom Kippur workshop for teens on the theme of forgiveness. Anything from Dylan, Springsteen to obscure long as the lyrics are poignant and meaningful. Bonus points if: it can be downloaded from iTunes and/or the lyrics/chords are available online
-General followup: I vaguely recall there being a resource where music was catalogued/indexed by themes/lyric keywords, to make this type of search easier. Is there such an online/software-based resource?
posted by ericbop to Media & Arts (41 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Not directly about forgiveness, but moreover the implications of forgiving too late - Our Lady Peace's 4am.

Otherwise, I dunno, Don Henley's the Heart of the Matter? Probably too sappy for teen youth group. I'll give it some more thought.
posted by psmealey at 7:47 AM on August 22, 2005

I Apologize/Husker Du
Dust In the Wind/Todd Rundgren
posted by AJaffe at 7:53 AM on August 22, 2005

"Boys Don't Cry" - The Cure
"Forgiven Not Forgotten" - The Corrs
posted by veedubya at 8:03 AM on August 22, 2005

Maybe not appropriate due to country/western genre and cynical outlook on forgiveness, but Lyle Lovett's song "God Will" comes to mind. Perhaps as an example of an attitude NOT to have...
posted by junkbox at 8:14 AM on August 22, 2005

Willie Nelson - Forgiving You Was Easy
posted by iconomy at 8:32 AM on August 22, 2005

A Quick One While He's Away- The Who. (more coming as a scan my library...)
posted by klangklangston at 8:32 AM on August 22, 2005

All We Need is Another Chance- The Escorts (a soul band that was in prison when they recorded their single, all about how they've reformed...)
posted by klangklangston at 8:34 AM on August 22, 2005

"Secret World" - Peter Gabriel (not directly about it, but it's what I get from it -- someone looking at a relationship receding behind him, wondering "what was it we were thinking of?" -- how everything went so wrong)

"My Big Mouth" and "Apology" - The Posies

"A Minor Incident" - Badly Drawn Boy (although it is a suicide note put to music, so that might now be what you're looking for)
posted by papercake at 8:35 AM on August 22, 2005

Ambulance Driver by Superdrag (obliquely about forgiveness).
posted by klangklangston at 8:35 AM on August 22, 2005

Finds You Well- Dabenport
posted by klangklangston at 8:40 AM on August 22, 2005

I'm Still Loving You- Kim Weston
posted by klangklangston at 8:45 AM on August 22, 2005

I Can't Give Back The Love I Have- Rita Wright
posted by klangklangston at 8:45 AM on August 22, 2005

"Kyle Quit the Band" by Tenacious D
posted by agropyron at 8:46 AM on August 22, 2005

Minneapolis singer-songwriter Mason Jennings has a rather poignant song called Forgiveness. I'm not sure if it's on iTunes.
posted by teg at 8:55 AM on August 22, 2005

I'm Sorry - Red House Painters
posted by Felicity Rilke at 9:02 AM on August 22, 2005

Life in Prison by The Byrds
Payback is a Grandmother by Common
Reconsider by Brenda Halloway
Repatriation by Horace Andy
posted by klangklangston at 9:03 AM on August 22, 2005

So. Central Rain by REM.
posted by jeffmshaw at 9:07 AM on August 22, 2005

Ani DiFranco, "Not Angry Anymore"
Alison Kraus, "Stay"
Bob Dylan, "One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)"
Bruce Springsteen, "Book of Dreams"
Bruce Springsteen, "My Father's House"
Carole King, "It's Going to Take Some Time"

more when I finish looking through my music.
posted by smash at 9:19 AM on August 22, 2005

The Magnetic Fields - Sugar World
The Jackson 5 - I Want You Back

Maybe more to come after some thought.
posted by ktrey at 9:23 AM on August 22, 2005

The poem A Poison Tree by William Blake is about not forgiving, about carrying a grudge, and the consequences of it. It's been set to music, but I haven't heard it, so I don't know if it's any good.
posted by CrunchyFrog at 9:32 AM on August 22, 2005

Lots of great tunes here, but contrition ("I'm sorry") isn't the same thing as forgiveness.
posted by psmealey at 9:35 AM on August 22, 2005

"The general" by Dispatch. It ends with a repition of the line "go now, you are forgiven." Also: great song.

"Man is the baby" by Antony and the Johnsons.

Another Mason Jennings song that has forgiveness themes is "birds flying away."
posted by ORthey at 9:37 AM on August 22, 2005

The Apology Song by the Decemberists.
posted by matildaben at 9:46 AM on August 22, 2005

"Forgiveness" by Luka Bloom. Great tune, especially with the majestic change of pace at the end.
posted by swordfishtrombones at 9:57 AM on August 22, 2005

"Forgiveness" by Goldfinger (with the added bonus of being punky music like the kids like these days)

"Forgive and Forget" by The Get Up Kids (also punky)

"To Forgive" by The Smashing Pumpkins (alt rock)

all available on iTunes
posted by geeky at 10:27 AM on August 22, 2005

"Forgiveness" by Patty Griffin.
posted by whatideserve at 10:55 AM on August 22, 2005

Not my favorite song but how about Chicago's Hard to Say I'm Sorry

Or Dwight Yoakam's excellent Please, Please Baby.
posted by captainscared at 10:57 AM on August 22, 2005

Forgiven by Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians, second album. Great song.
posted by Manjusri at 10:58 AM on August 22, 2005

I'm not sure it's quite what you're looking for, but I'm partial to Christine Lavin's song "Regretting what I said to you when you called me at 11:00 on Friday morning to tell me that 1:00 Friday afternoon you were gonna leave
your office, go downstairs, hail a cab, to go out to the airport, to catch a plane, to go skiing in the Alps for two weeks. Not that I wanted to go with you; I wasn't able to leave town, I'm not a very good skier, I couldn't expect you to pay my way, but after going out with you for three years, I don't like surprises" (subtitled "A Musical Apology").
posted by cerebus19 at 11:27 AM on August 22, 2005

"Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" by Paul McCartney (has the lyrics "we're so sorry uncle albert/we're so sorry if we caused you any pain")
posted by macadamiaranch at 11:30 AM on August 22, 2005

The Smiths – Bigmouth Strikes Again
posted by fvw at 12:10 PM on August 22, 2005

'Forgive Me' -- Eva Katzler
'Forgiveness' - Patty Griffin
posted by feelinglistless at 2:19 PM on August 22, 2005


"Forgiveness" by Collective Soul
"Angry" by Matchbox 20
posted by geeky at 3:12 PM on August 22, 2005

10,000 Maniacs, "Please Forgive Us"
posted by kirkaracha at 3:36 PM on August 22, 2005

Paul Weller, "With Time and Temperance" (from the album Heliocentric)
posted by scody at 4:03 PM on August 22, 2005

"Love Letter" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
"The Sorrowful Wife" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
There are more NC&TBS songs that deal even more specifically with forgiveness than these, but I can't think of them right now - forgive me.
posted by bunglin jones at 7:08 PM on August 22, 2005

"Forgiveness" by Bobby Tomberlin and Jim Witter always gets to me. Here is the only place I've found the lyrics online.
posted by Nedroid at 8:08 PM on August 22, 2005

Oh - "The Good Son" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds is a take on the bible story of the prodigal son, so it deals very specifically with forgiveness (and how, to the outsider, forgiveness can seem like an unfair thing), rather than just contrition.
posted by bunglin jones at 9:36 PM on August 22, 2005

This is the last one, I promise - but Kylie Minogue's song "Better the Devil You Know" also contains within its lyrics a surprisingly dark treatment of the idea of forgiveness - if you can let yourself listen to it. I know that Stock Aitken and Waterman aren't genreally considered to be very profound songwriters, but there's something about this song, really there is.
posted by bunglin jones at 9:40 PM on August 22, 2005

Luka Bloom's "Forgiveness" has already been mentioned, but he also has another song called "Miracle Cure" on the same theme. (It's on Innocence.)
posted by kindall at 11:16 PM on August 27, 2005

The soundtrack from The Fan has a track by Terrence Trent d'Arby called Letting Go. The music was composed by Hans Zimmer.

"There's a peaceful feeling in letting go."

posted by Moistener at 4:08 PM on August 30, 2005

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