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The Velvet Underground’s earnest prayer: “Jesus”

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A delightful meditation from one of the most influential bands

The Velvet Underground is a hard band to pin down. Their eclectic music ranges from the genres of standard rock to the avant-garde, which was why this soft prayer, “Jesus,” was surprising to find on their self-titled third studio album.

The lyrics are simple and remind us of the Jesus prayer. It’s short and to the point:

Jesus, help me find my proper place
Jesus, help me find my proper place
Help me in my weakness
Cause I’m falling out of grace
Jesus
Jesus

To add to the reverence of the tune, these lyrics are sung three times, which of course reflects on the Holy Trinity.

The scant accompaniment, just a guitar, bass, and one backup voice, adds a quiet contemplation to this song. It sounds like an impromptu session, almost as though Lou Reed picked up his guitar at the end of the day and just decided to sing to Jesus. It is more akin to a hymn than a pop song.

One of the great mysteries of prayer itself: It can come from any source.

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. — Psalm 130

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