Songs That Use Religion As Metaphor for Love or Sex
September 1, 2019 4:14 PM   Subscribe

I’m looking for songs that use religion, god, Jesus, holiness, etc as a metaphor for love or sex. Think Hozier’s Take Me to Church, Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, Leon Bridges’ River, and Regina Spektor’s Samson. Any genre is acceptable, as long as the lyrics are religiously tinted. Bonus points for songs by women, but that’s not a requirement.

Other songs I already have: Eve by Neulore, Milk and Honey by Jessarae, Jezebel by Iron & Wine, John My Beloved by Sufjan Stevens, Holy Ghost by Borns, and Worship by Years and Years.
posted by Anne Shirley to Media & Arts (51 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Worship by Lizzo
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 4:17 PM on September 1, 2019 [3 favorites]


Like a Prayer by Madonna?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:20 PM on September 1, 2019 [27 favorites]


Baptize Me, from Book of Mormon
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 4:29 PM on September 1, 2019 [10 favorites]


Hozier also has the deliciously fallen “From Eden.”

George Michael’s “Father Figure”

U2’s “Mysterious Ways”

I’d argue for Sarah McLachlan’s “Building a Mystery” but maybe I just want it to be about sex?
posted by armeowda at 4:34 PM on September 1, 2019 [5 favorites]


Eva Cassidy did a nice cover of Take Me to the River.

The Indigo Girls, "Shed Your Skin"

Depeche Mode, "Personal Jesus"

Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man" (sort of)
posted by praemunire at 4:41 PM on September 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


TVTropes: Love is Like Religion
Love Is Like Religion is a trope commonly found in pop songs and other romantic works where religious imagery and terminology are used to talk about love as though it itself were a faith or as though the beloved were a celestial being.
Lots of musical examples inside.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:43 PM on September 1, 2019


NIN, Closer
Talking Heads/Al Green, Take me to the River
U2, Mysterious Ways
Ariana Grande, God is a Woman
Bob Dylan, Gotta Serve Somebody
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 4:45 PM on September 1, 2019


Land of Canaan- Indigo Girls
posted by jeszac at 4:52 PM on September 1, 2019


Pedro the Lion - Rapture
posted by misskaz at 4:56 PM on September 1, 2019


Joni Mitchell, Jericho
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:13 PM on September 1, 2019


Losing My Religion - REM
posted by SisterHavana at 5:26 PM on September 1, 2019


False God, Taylor Swift
posted by Tamanna at 5:43 PM on September 1, 2019


Houses of the Holy -- Led Zeppelin
posted by Alexandra Michelle at 5:48 PM on September 1, 2019


Just about any U2 song, but particularly With or Without You.

Tori Amos's Icicle Icicle.
posted by Violet Hour at 6:15 PM on September 1, 2019


I came in here to suggest Tori Amos, her signature (particularly in the early years) was blending religion and sexuality.
posted by seesom at 6:33 PM on September 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


Take Me to The River - Talking Heads
Angel of the Morning - Juice Newton
posted by brookeb at 6:51 PM on September 1, 2019


Church by Fall Out Boy
posted by brook horse at 7:04 PM on September 1, 2019


Hmm, does Divine Hammer count?
posted by Beardman at 7:18 PM on September 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


Virtually all of Prince’s output FEELS like this, I think.
posted by cakelite at 8:11 PM on September 1, 2019 [8 favorites]


Florence + the Machine - Bedroom Hymns
posted by yasaman at 8:12 PM on September 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


Halestorm - I Like It Heavy sort of fits.
posted by ninazer0 at 8:42 PM on September 1, 2019


Godless by BANKS
posted by Amanda B at 8:46 PM on September 1, 2019


Green Day's "Church on Sunday"
Sting's "If I Ever Lose My Faith In You"
posted by soelo at 9:10 PM on September 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm going to go with

Peter Gabriel: Blood of Eden
Alynna Myles: Black Velvet

and before this gets too serious:

Crash Test Dummies: Swimming in Your Ocean
God Shuffled His Feet
posted by effluvia at 9:40 PM on September 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


Also by Peter Gabriel: In Your Eyes
posted by effluvia at 9:58 PM on September 1, 2019 [3 favorites]


Dixie Chicks’ Sin Wagon
posted by Liesl at 10:25 PM on September 1, 2019


Jesus was a Crossmaker - by Judee Sill - some good cover versions of this one too.
posted by rongorongo at 11:02 PM on September 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


Ah dang, I see you already have John My Beloved. I'm sure you know, but the question "Is this Sufjan Stevens song gay or just about God?" concerns his entire back catalogue.
posted by Balthamos at 11:21 PM on September 1, 2019 [7 favorites]


Pixies- Gouge Away. Definitely other Pixies songs too
posted by atlantica at 11:30 PM on September 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


Tori Amos - Crucify
posted by thetarium at 12:24 AM on September 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


Cecilia By Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel is about a romantic relationship with Cecilia- Saint Cecilia is the patron saint of music, and the song is a metaphor for the fickleness of music popularity.

Probably the metaphor flowing the other way from what you're looking for, romantic relationship as a metaphor for a religious concept, but I thought I'd add it in anyway.
posted by freethefeet at 2:05 AM on September 2, 2019 [5 favorites]


Not a song exactly, but there is definitely a biblical basis for doing this: Song of Solomon
posted by Blasdelb at 2:16 AM on September 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


Depeche Mode "Personal Jesus": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1xrNaTO1bI
posted by alchemist at 3:57 AM on September 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


Kate Bush has an amazing song called Song of Solomon. But I'm not sure I'd even call it a metaphor, it's just an interpretation of the Biblical text really.
posted by cpatterson at 4:42 AM on September 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


Prince did this a lot
posted by 0bvious at 5:37 AM on September 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


King Princess does this a good bit. Check out Holy, 1950, and Pussy is God.
posted by woodvine at 6:24 AM on September 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


Another Florence + the Machine song: Big God
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:08 AM on September 2, 2019


Bad Religion by Frank Ocean
posted by arkady at 10:53 AM on September 2, 2019


Jesus and I Love You by April March
posted by cali59 at 11:10 AM on September 2, 2019


Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: pretty much most of their songs, Brompton Oratory in particular.
posted by kapers at 11:21 AM on September 2, 2019


Neil Diamond, Holly Holy
Beyonce, Halo
Etta James, A Sunday Kind of Love
posted by TrishaU at 1:55 PM on September 2, 2019


Neutral Milk Hotel's King of Carrot Flowers
posted by Ragged Richard at 2:52 PM on September 2, 2019


As hinted at by the title, more than one track on Now, Now's album Saved follows this trope.
posted by dbx at 3:09 PM on September 2, 2019


More Kate Bush (with Prince!) - Why Should I Love You.
posted by brushtailedphascogale at 3:15 PM on September 2, 2019


A few of the songs that have been suggested arguably don’t fit the query, if you really look at and understand the lyrics, but I suppose OP will sort them out if they need to.

Anyway, Depeche Mode’s Songs of Faith and Devotion is an entire album full of songs like this, or close to it; some are a little more about someone’s sense of interpersonal martyrdom.
posted by verbminx at 11:33 PM on September 2, 2019


Melissa Etheridge's Mercy and Angels Would Fall both might work.
posted by darchildre at 11:27 AM on September 3, 2019


Aretha sang one hell of a gospel number at the Fillmore West: Dr. Feelgood.
posted by toxic at 12:26 PM on September 3, 2019


Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. I like this cover
posted by dudiggy at 12:08 AM on September 5, 2019


I can’t believe I forgot this one: “Judas” by Lady Gaga
posted by SisterHavana at 2:01 PM on September 5, 2019


George Michael's Faith?
posted by freethefeet at 2:57 AM on September 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


Work Songs for a New Moon by Rob Jungklas, which includes "Water into Wine," "Thirsty at the Well," and "Lion and the Lamb" (but as I recall, the entire album has a love-and-sex-as-holy-sacrament thing throughout).
posted by kristi at 5:05 PM on September 8, 2019


« Older Maths for quantum physics?   |   Driving I80 Through Wyoming in October - Snow?... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments