Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Review Week (#2)

This week, I'm reviewing an album each day. I've recently come across quite a few good projects and I want to spread the word.

Steven Curtis Chapman - BEAUTY WILL RISE
Like a lot of Christian music fans, I was eagerly waiting for Steven Curtis Chapman's new release, Beauty Will Rise, which documents the year-long journey after losing his daughter in a horrible car accident at the Chapman home.

As a father and musician, I can imagine turning to music to cope, grieve and process loss, but the idea of revealing those thoughts is pretty daunting. I figured that this project would be all heart...that it would painfully reveal the struggle of a Christian father facing doubt and searching for hope.

I was right.

But I was also wrong.

This record is heart-felt, to be sure. It's a gritty peek inside a broken family...but it's also an amazing record. It sounds weird to say that the songwriting or production is good on a project like this - it feels petty. It feels like I should like this record no matter what because this is a Dad pouring out his heart.

But I'm here to tell you that this record is some of the most creative work Chapman has done in his career. It's not a pop record; gone are standard arrangements and predictable builds. Instead, it's layered and textured to complement, and even focus, these songs. It's a hopeful record and that comes off as an honest expression from Steven Curtis, but the hope is hard won. There are moments in this record that are hard to listen to, but we listen because we realize that if a mere song can take to a place of weakness, how much more battered are the hearts of this Chapman family.

People all the time talk about the need for lament in our music. I don't think Beauty Will Rise will ever have 'hits;' seems kinda' silly to think of it like that, doesn't it? But I do think that it's a record that every Christ-follower should listen to. God has used Chapman to exemplify what His children do when disaster hits...and I think we all need that.