A playlist for the Ten Commandments

Music has always played a formative role in my life. So, whenever I’m writing, invariably at some point a song lyric will come to mind. As my second book TEN began to take shape, I knew I wanted to begin each chapter with a lyric that I thought captured the heart of that particular Word in some way. Now that TEN is out in the world, I thought it would be both interesting and kind of fun to crowd source a playlist for each Word. So for the next 10 weeks I’m hoping you’ll help me do just that. As an incentive for your participation, I’ll mail a signed copy of TEN to the person who submits the song lyric that strikes me as most fitting/clever/unexpected for that week’s Word.

My guess is that some Words will be easier to find songs for than others. When we get to the Word on adultery, for instance, I can imagine having to place a limit on the Country song entries. We’ll see. Just as in the book, we’ll take the Words in reverse order. So this week we begin with the Tenth Word:

          “You shall not covet your neighbour’s house;

           you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife

          or his male servant or female servant

          or his ox or his donkey

          or anything that belongs to your neighbour.”          Exodus 20:17

This Word is about envying what your neighbour has. And it’s not just about wanting what she has; it’s also resenting the fact that she has it. My friend Matt Russell has an equation for this:

Envy = Desire + Resentment

As I initially reflected on this Word, here’s what came to mind for me, from the British band James 1989 anthem, “Sit Down”:

“If I hadn’t seen such riches I could live with being poor.”

So – what song lyric springs to mind when you think about “coveting” or envying what your neighbour has? Add it in the comments section for this post, with the title of the song and the artist (and the year, if you’re a bit of an anorak like me). At the end of the week, I’ll announce my favourite entry, pop a book in the post to the person who submitted it, and then compile the entire playlist on Spotify for your musical edification.

[It’d be lovely if you were to take a moment to click a button or two below to share this post with your friends and help me compile a cracking playlist. Cheers!]

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16 Responses to A playlist for the Ten Commandments

  1. Camron Burtch says:

    Nickelback – Rockstar

  2. Phillp Hall says:

    IN an ironic twist, common people by Pulp

  3. Holly Sessions says:

    What about “Mercedes Benz,” by Janis Joplin?

  4. The easy answer is Cash Cow by Steve Taylor. The more ambiguous answer–in my opinion–would be…. New Knoxville Girl by The Louvin Brothers (you take care of two of the ten with one song). I also have Baby’s in Black by The Beatles and Welcome to the Boomtown by David and David. Not sure why that last one but it keeps coming to mind…. Thanks Sean! Hope all is well.

  5. Sean says:

    I wish that I had Jessie’s girl!

  6. Alan Combs says:

    Sleep Now in the Fire by Rage Against the Machine

  7. joshrockett says:

    Like a Rolling Stone – Dylan. The person Dylan is singing about has lost everything yet is unaware of the peace it could bring. Instead he longs for what he once had.

  8. Shan says:

    “Once in a Lifetime” – Talking Heads
    The drudgery of living up to social expectations and dreams of pursuing conventional success typically yield much envy. As far as songs getting stuck in my head, this one is always most welcome 🙂

  9. Skee-Lo: “I Wish I Was a Little Bit Taller”

  10. Foreigner: Juke Box Hero

  11. David Dark says:

    REM’s “Circus Envy.”

  12. “If I Had A Million Dollars” by the Barenaked Ladies… on the surface, apparently “coveting” the things that $1000000 could buy… but a delightful and playful “twist” on the familiar “if only I had more money” thing, as the focus is on the (mostly silly) things that I’d buy for YOU (not me)… a thumbing-of-the-nose at the uppity assumptions/expectations of more expensive tastes (“we wouldn’t have to eat Kraft Dinner… but we would eat Kraft Dinner… just more… with really expensive ketchups…”) 🙂 Brilliant idea, Sean!

  13. Holly Sessions says:

    “Popular” by Nada Surf – because people WANT to be popular, they do things that are painful and/or distasteful to accomplish that goal – coveting acceptance/status.

  14. Brian Miller says:

    “I’ll be a big noise with all the big boys, so much stuff I will own
    And I will pray to a big god, as I kneel in the big church.”

    “Big Time” – Peter Gabriel

  15. Brian Miller says:

    Also, “The Grand Illusion” by Styx is an interesting combination of the last (or first) two Words. American culture bearing false witness against real worth of life leads to envy.

    “So if you think your life is complete confusion
    Because your neighbors got it made
    Just remember that it’s a Grand illusion
    And deep inside we’re all the same.”

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