The only new composition on what became the second Simon and Garfunkel album, Sounds of Silence, Blessed is a churning, eerie sermon, offering blessings to all manner of folks from the meek and the lamb to the meth drinkers, pot sellers, and illusion dwellers.
These blessings, often incomplete, are interspersed with cries of ‘O Lord, why have you forsaken me’ from a soul clearly in distress.
It’s dark, stark, and disquieting, in part because the almost violent backing track sounds to my ears like it could have slotted easily on the first Velvet Underground album.
And yet, Blessed predates the release of that seminal classic by a year, although the VU began recording their debut in spring ’66, just a couple of months after Blessed appeared on Sounds of Silence.
Any question as to whether it might have been influential is as unresolved as the spiritual turmoil at the heart of Blessed, but Lou Reed did eventually record a song called Jesus, so who knows?
But when it starts to fade out, you might feel forsaken too…