Hymns and anthems don’t generally make for great poetry of the kind we are accustomed to from poetically inclined songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Cole Porter, et al. (When you’re done here, click on this for a fun discussion on NPR of “10 Nobel-Worthy Lyricists Who Aren’t Bob Dylan.”)
The churchy and/or patriotically laden lyrics of hymns and anthems usually get too flabby with arcane devotional language and banal nature references stripped of any surprise imagery, intriguing word combinations or fresh metaphors that make good poetry shine.
So I will begin the 35th rendition of this “Brilliant Songs” series with the caveat that “Hawai’i Aloha” is not per se a brilliant set of lyrics worthy of a place in some Songwriters Hall of Fame, which I didn’t know existed until I looked it up just now. (It’s in Nashville...Read More