Praise music from the past: “Thy Word”

Latest in an occasional series of praise songs from not now, some with Mass intents, some for the concerts only.

Oh, “Thy Word.” I have a love-hate relationship with this song.

The original version above, by Amy Grant (though Michael W. Smith wrote it) is awful. Go ahead, listen to it. The production is cheap sounding (argh, electric keyboards). it’s too fast, and it’s weirdly timed. But there’s a nugget of a decent song there. Recognizing that helps you understand how the song has lasted this long.

Amy Grant. (Photo from her website.)

The lyrics, which are taken from Psalms, are good, for once, and that doesn’t happen enough in CCM. The melody, when done slowly and reverently, is great. It’s relatively easy to sing, and the refrain is such that a congregation could be gently guided into singing along, even without being given the words.

I think this is best done as a meditation, and shouldn’t be used as one of the normal hymns in Mass (it’s in the Spirit and Song book and widely available). I first knew of this song in 6th or 7th grade, when we did it that way. The accompaniment I have access to for it, in Spirit and Song, still takes it way too fast — there are 32nd notes! — so I largely ignore it and take a minimalist approach.

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