This summer my church is doing a sermon series on Psalm 46. It’s something we’ve been doing every summer for the last few years—picking a Psalm and reading through it every week. Naturally as a music lover I enjoy looking to see what artists have made a song based on the Psalm that we’re studying. This year I might have gone a little overboard though. Do you know how many songs titled “Psalm 46” there on Spotify? Yeah, neither do I. As it turns out Spotify’s search function stops at 1,000 songs. Go figure. Not to be deterred though I proceeded to listen to all them. Well not really. You see a bunch of them were false positives—sorry Spotify, I’m looking for Psalm 46, not Psalm 64. Then you take out all the duplicates (single and album versions of the same song), covers, audio bibles, and non-English songs and playlist drops from 1,000 songs to only a few hundred. Let the adventure begin!
The first thing I discovered is that Shane & Shane wrote a very popular song called “Psalm 46 (Lord of Hosts)” which is been covered a lot. Like a whole lot. I wish I had been keeping count. Instead though I just ended up skipping most of them because they didn’t differ much from the original. The most notable cover I came across though was the metal version by Ben S Dixon. That one at least showcased a genre of music I didn’t come across a whole lot while making this playlist.
Speaking of genres, Psalm 46 as it turns out is a great example of the diversity of Christian music. Sure, a large percentage of the songs I listened to fall very squarely into the category of modern worship. But was also alternative, country, electronic, folk, hip hop, pop, rock, etc. So I’ll spend the rest of this article exploring a few of my favorite finds.
Let’s kick things off with a throwback to 1987: “Psalm 46: God Is Our Strength And Refuge” by Ian White. If you were wanting a version of Psalm 46 that sounds like 80’s CCM then look no further. The song went on to be included on a compilation album in 1999 and was remastered for a compilation in 2007.
Sticking with the throwback theme, let’s fast-forward a decade to the year 2000 and “Refuge – Psalm 46” by Judy Rodgers. Like the last song, it may sound a little dated but it’s nonetheless a beautiful piano ballad interpretation of Psalm 46.
One more before I move on to the iTunes era: “Psalm 46” by Cicy Campbell. It would have been an easy one to skip over since it’s album artwork doesn’t exactly scream quality. But I really enjoy the soul and gospel styling of this one. A diamond in the rough you might say.
Up next is “Trouble Won’t Go (Psalm 46)” by Enter the Worship Circle. This one features Aaron Stumpel, Tim and Laurnie Thornton, and Robin Pasley. It might just be my favorite song out of all of these.
I totally missed this one when going through my giant playlist of Psalm 46 songs. Thankfully I still stumbled onto it before publishing this article. “Psalm 46 (2011)” is one of the b-sides Abandon Kansas included on the deluxe version of their album You Build a Wall, I’ll Build a Ladder that they released for its 10th anniversary.
I’m not sure if Spotify’s search function just favors newer music or if it’s the rise of Christian indie music but there’s been an explosion of songs based on Psalm 46 in the last 5 years. One those is “Psalm 46” by The Empty Room. While I’m not crazy about the way the vocals are mixed the indie rock sound is a welcome change of pace.
If you thought that meant I was done with worship songs though, sorry, you’re not out of the woods yet! Seriously though, “Psalm 46” by Kari King is worth a listen. It may not differ drastically from most modern worship songs but it’s really well done.
What’s that? You’re still waiting on a hip hop take of Psalm 46? Well you go, “Psalm 46 (feat. Hawthorne” by AaronBrownTU. Yeah, hip hop’s not really my taste but confess this ain’t too bad.
I’d be amiss if I made this whole article on Psalm 46 songs and didn’t mention Poor Bishop Hooper. In fact, they were the first place I thought to go when I wanted to listen to a song based on Psalm 46. For the last two and a half years Poor Bishop Hooper as been dropping a new song every week based on a Psalm with the plan being to release a song for all 150 Psalms. As of writing they’re on Psalm 133! Almost there, keep it up guys!
Before I wrap up I’ve got one more song for you. This time it’s an instrumental song with a cinematic vibe by Taryn Harbridge. It’s beautiful. Give it a listen.
Well that’s it folks! For those of you who are took the time to read about my journey down the rabbit hole of songs titled Psalm 46 (yeah, I didn’t even get around the songs not titled Psalm 46 but still are still based on it!) I appreciate you sticking around. I’ve made a Spotify playlist with over forty Psalm 46 songs just in case you didn’t get your fill from this article.