Bethel Music, the worship ministry of Redding, CA-based Bethel Church, releases its highly anticipated and first-ever full-length studio recording, TIDES, Sept. 3 with global distribution through Fuel Distribution / Tonetree Music, plus physical distribution in the U.S. to Christian stores through New Day. Featuring original songs and music led by senior worship pastors Brian and Jenn Johnson, and worship leaders Jeremy Riddle, Steffany Frizzell Gretzinger, William Matthews, Matt Stinton and Hunter Thompson, the album is an expression of passionate emotion, anthemic declaration, and sometimes surprising experimentation.
The album also addresses the popular maxim that “the only thing you can count on is change.” Brian Johnson’s answer is that there is one more thing you can count on. “Through it all,” he declares, “God is in control. Through the whole album, there’s struggle, there’s tension, but then there is a reminder that God is always in control.”
Experiencing that firsthand, Bethel Music has grown over the last four years from being a local church music ministry to becoming a global outreach, featuring a cadre of songwriters and worship leaders, a half-dozen CDs, chart-topping songs such as “One Thing Remains,” and both online and on-campus worship schools. A Bethel song, “Love Came Down,” written by Johnson and Riddle, was even featured on American Idol last season as part of the “Songs I Wish I’d Written” night. And while other artists have garnered significant airplay with their recordings of Bethel Music songs, for the first time ever, Bethel Music will release a single directly to radio in August.
Lead single “Chasing You” from TIDES is a Jenn Johnson led pop song about following God with insatiable abandon.
With more songs of adoration, instruction and worship that speak not only of what God has done, but also what He is doing now, in the highest and lowest of tides, Brian and Jenn Johnson, Jeremy Riddle, Steffany Frizzell Gretzinger and William Matthews will be taking the music and message of TIDES across the West Coast. Bethel Music’s “Night of Worship & Ministry” tour launches Sept. 5.
Like the music to be heard on tour, the new, inventive sounds and styles heard on TIDES have been organically produced through the Bethel Music creative community that consists of over 50 people. From the songwriting, to the artwork, to the track listing, to the marketing, everything was done in community.
“We’ve made a commitment to always try to use musicians in the local church,” Johnson says. “The people you hear on the albums are the normal worship leaders in our church. We try to keep connected as much as we can. Everyone has a position in a local church.”
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From my first listen, I was totally captivated by this studio album Tides by Bethel Music, a ministry of Bethel Church in Redding, California. The opening track "Chasing You" by Jenn Johnson has an upbeat electronic dance music worshipful flow and is such a fresh song. I'm really engaged by Jenn's emotional vocals and the deep, prayerful lyrics throughout the album. "I want to know You, I'm after Your heart…/ I'm chasing You, I'm so in love, captivated, I just can't get enough, I'll spend my days running after Your heart" are her cries of submission, phrasing biblical truth in a creative and personal way.
"Breaking Through" and "Heaven's Song" by Jeremy Riddle along with "Forever" and "Strong in Us" by Brian Johnson each feature an engaging Brit-rock musical style. The exciting musical feel is just one of the many attractions to savor about this fresh and moving worship album, one of the best of the year.
I find many of the songs, like "Forever," have me pondering eternity, such as: "Now death where is your sting, our resurrected King has rendered you defeated / forever He is glorified, forever He is lifted high, forever He is risen / He is alive, He is alive!" Amen to that! "Heaven's Song" includes the refrain believers will be singing for eternity, "Holy, Holy, Holy, all of Heaven cries, worthy, worthy, worthy, ‘cause You were crucified."
"Forever" is an emotive and poetic description of a beautiful picture of what Jesus did for us. Just like Brian's and Jeremy's previous songs for the Church, "One Thing Remains" and "Love Came Down," you'll want to join fellow believers in singing these words: "We sing hallelujah, the Lamb has overcome. Now death where is your sting? Our resurrected King has overcome."
"Letting Go" by Steffany Frizzell-Gretzinger is a gorgeous offering to Jesus, proclaiming, "You've brought me to the end of myself / just when my hallelujah was tired, You gave me a new song / I'm letting go…falling into You." Like her great songs "You Know Me" and "Closer," you'll be worshipping our King Jesus right along with Steffany. She also sings on "Be Still," which is a great prayer based on Psalm 46:10: "Be still my heart and know that You are God alone. / You alone are God, there will be no other, You have won my heart more than any other, so I will give it all, ‘cause You gave it all for me." What a great way profess and ask the Lord to "be still my heart." You can sincerely pray these words along with Steffany, and "Be still and know that He is God."
I can't get enough of the stand-out song "I Can Feel You" by Jenn Johnson. Jenn's tender, emotive and powerful vocals take listeners on an emotional journey that gives me goose bumps every time I hear this song. The lyrics are very stirring: "In the chaos of the storm I had drifted far, far away, but I called out Your Name, and You were just a breath…a breath away / then through the shadows Your light appears, I know You're with me, but now it is clear / I can feel You, Jesus all around. Like sun on my skin, warm to the touch… I can feel You, Jesus all around." There's even an incredible saxophone solo in the song. Jenn has quickly become my favorite female worship leader, and you'll be belting out the bridge with her— "There is nothing in this world that will satisfy my soul like You do!"
"For The Cross" by Brian and Jenn Johnson is my favorite new worship anthem of the past year, which I hope I'll be singing with fellow believers "soon and very soon." The song has a great worshipful chorus, with Brian singing: "Hallelujah You are the Savior… / Hallelujah, You are the King forever, we thank You for the Cross." Then, amidst Coldplay-esque swelling guitars, Jenn belts out: "Hallelujah, it is finished, Hallelujah it is done / Hallelujah King forever, we thank You for the Cross… / Though our sins are scarlet, You've made us white as snow." Amen to that!
Closing Thoughts: These excellent studio recordings on Tides are all prayers and personal confessions of submission to God. These are great songs to pray along with these anointed worship leaders and express your own yearnings for holiness and God's presence. I really love how expressive these songs are, and they allow listeners to reflect on profound words like "This life, this love was always meant to be a wild crazy adventure, discovering the thrill, the rush, the more of You I see, the more it leaves me wanting everything, You're everything" from guaranteed hit song "Chasing You."
I'm impressed by the consistent quality and fresh worshipful songs that come from Bethel Music. This album is no exception. Tides is about proclaiming the majesty of God and crying out for His Presence throughout this incredible worship experience. This album is a must-have for your praise and worship collection.
Song to Download Now: "Chasing You" (Get it on iTunes here.)