For his new record, Matthew West did something unusual: He turned the microphone around. Rather than write about what he was experiencing in his life, he asked his fans to submit the stories of their lives. When he opened up this opportunity to his fans, the message spread quickly – and soon almost 10,000 stories were submitted. Radio stations, media outlets, and retailers caught the vision and helped spread the word of this unique album.
The stories gave Matthew a window into what his fans had experienced in their lives. And they covered a wide range of human experiences and emotions. From joy to sorrow, struggle to victory, and life and death. The song “Family Tree” describes how Christ gives us a new identity and legacy and life, while “One Less’ chronicles the joy of adoption and helping those most in need. “Broken Girl” tragically recounts the countless stories Matthew received about sexual abuse – and describes the healing and redemption that Christ promises. “My Own Little World” perhaps serves as a capstone to the entire album, describing a person who lived in their own “little world” and then was awakened to the bigger picture of need and God’s work in the world.
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#7 Album Of 2010| Posted December 21, 2010
2008's Something To Say established Matthew West as a great singer/songwriter in my book. He emerged as a fantastic story teller, wrapping his personal experiences in accessible hooks and pop music. For his fifth studio album, Matthew solicited stories from his fans, receiving an overwhelming amount of letters (over 10,000) from which he crafted the 11 songs of The Story Of Your Life. The songs that emerged deal with the burdens that so many were carrying on their backs. Abuse, being forgotten, bad self-image, divorce and hate.
With so many heavy topics, it's amazing to me how this album didn't turn out to be one of the most depressing albums I've ever heard, but through the entire album, West weaves poignant hope around these dark moments, shining light into the corners of these lives. It's right on par with the promise that God brings. He is with us in the valleys as well as the mountaintops. And despite circumstances around us that may be clouding our view, there is a God who loves us and wants to grab our hand, and lead us out of the darkness. This is far from a heavy listening experience and knowing the source material came from true stories makes it an incredibly personal challenge to listen to the stories around us and usher hope wherever needed.
Highlights on the album include "Broken Girl," "Strong Enough" and "My Own Little World."
A Shoulder To Cry On, a Hand To Comfort| Posted October 31, 2010
What?s your story about His glory? Whatever your situation, you may be able to relate to the stories creatively portrayed by award-winning artist, Matthew West, in his new record.
In what he describes as the ?sequel? to his 2008 album Something To Say, Matthew delivers a touching array of songs that will humble you, convict you, challenge you, and undoubtedly bring healing to many hurting hearts.
Inspired by the true stories of thousands of fans, The Story of Your Life digs into deep topics with a freshness and sincerity that?s often hard to come by. It tactfully covers issues like divorce and abuse, as well as a few tough questions people ask about life and the purpose behind it.
Above all, this album offers hope in the midst of hurt. To me, it?s the model of how Christians should comfort those who?ve been through rough times. It may be another follower of Christ or it may be someone who?s just searching for someone to love them. But when they cross our paths, what should we do? We should leap out of our comfort zone, out of our own safe little world, reach out our hand and say, ?I know it hurts. You?ve been through a lot, but your story can have a happy ending.? That?s what this record does. It?s like a shoulder for the broken to cry on, and then it gently lifts their face and says, ?This is the hope you can have in Christ ...?
Through his music, Matthew shows that whatever your story, Christ can be your hope and your healing.
An Album With Layers| Posted October 05, 2010
Matthew West?s last album, 2008?s ?Something To Say? is proof how talented of a songwriter he is. Never one to shy away from clever word play or in-your-face topics, people have a way of connecting to his songs unlike any other artist out there, that being made clear by previous hits such as ?The Motions? and ?More?. When Matthew announced in early 2010 he?d be working on a new project, listeners were somewhat intrigued by the idea behind it: he wanted fans to write in and share their story, and out of the entries received, he would take the ones that spoke to him the loudest and turn them into a song. When word of the project caught on over internet and radio, it took off unlike anything people had expected. Over the course of several months, Matthew received over 10,000 entries of people writing in sharing their stories? good, bad and ugly. The end result? A biography- like album entitled ?The Story Of Your Life?.
I?ll be honest from the get-go, this one isn?t for the faint of heart. While Matthew is known for his upbeat style of acoustic pop, this album, lyrically, has an edge, while, musically, it shies away from the upbeat sound Matthew has come to develop, most of it being pretty raw and organic, but it fit?s the idea of the album very well and it highlights Matthew?s songwriting ability. The album starts off with the title track and leads right into the first single, ?My Own Little World, which in a way, is the theme of the album --stepping out of your comfort zone to understand what others are going through.
It?s amazing to hear how each song covers such a broad range of topics, from ?Family Tree? (about a girl coming from a dysfunctional family) to ?One Less? (about a couple adopting a little girl from Guatemala) and how in the end, each song offers such hope to the listener and the truth of peace when they turn to God. ?Broken Girl? might be the standout track on the album, it is by far one of my favorite songs Matthew has done to date. It talks about a girl who has gone through sexual abuse and how she feels she is unworthy, the song going on to tell her ?your not as worthless as they made you feel, there is a love they can never steal away, you don?t have to stay the broken girl?. This is one I know many girls could relate to and I do hope to see it as a single in the future.
?Two Houses? is written from the POV of a child of divorce, while ?Survivors? covers the many stories he received about people dealing with some sort of cancer or sickness. ?To Me?, featuring guest vocalist Leigh Nash from Sixpence None The Richer, is my favorite track on the album, dealing with the story of a boy being bullied in school and how there is someone out there who really does love him for who he is. It?s one that many kids and parents are going to relate to right away. The closing track ?Healing Has Begun?, in a way, ties together all the stories of brokenness and pain and fashions them into a song that tells the listener that there is hope on the other side.
This album has so many layers, it?s hard to cover them all. It is going to touch those who have gone through similar struggles and triumphs, and effect the way believers treat others around them. In a way, the whole album is a challenge to step across the line and share the love of Jesus, even when it?s hard. I know many of the songs have challenged me on a personal level, and I pray they?d do the same for you as well.
This is going to be a standout album in Matthew?s carrier, as well as a standout album in the history of CCM. Nothing like it has been made before, although I can see many artists taking this approach to their music in the future? and for good reason. ?The Story Of Your Life? is a solid album with powerful music and an even powerful message. You won?t want to miss this one.
Matthew West [The Story Of Your Life]| Posted September 28, 2010
For his new record, The Story Of Your Life, Matthew West did something unusual: He turned the microphone around. Rather than write about what he was experiencing in his life, he asked his fans to submit the stories of their lives. When he opened up this opportunity to his fans, the message spread quickly ? and soon almost 10,000 stories were submitted. Radio stations, media outlets, and retailers caught the vision and helped spread the word of this unique album. What emerged on The Story of Your Life is a powerful collection of songs that cover a diverse range of difficult subject matter.
The stories gave Matthew a window into what his fans had experienced in their lives. And they covered a wide range of human experiences and emotions. ?My Own Little World? perhaps serves as a capstone to the entire album, describing a person who lived in their own ?little world? and then was awakened to the bigger picture of need and God?s work in the world. Following the great trend already established by Matthew West of completely transparent and vulnerable lyrics, "My Own Little World" addresses the truth of personal selfishness that most believers are too proud to admit. I applaud Matthew for once again convicting me that my faith is not just for me and God, but needs to be expressed in outward appreciation for what God has done for me. ?Strong Enough? is the most vertical worship song and my overall favorite song on the album. It includes a great bridge ?I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength, and I don?t have to be strong enough.? The song is based on Philippians 4:13 and is an uplifting, catchy and encouraging song.
Another of the album?s strongest tunes is ?To Me,? which West wrote in response to a letter from a mother whose heart was aching over the way other kids cruelly treated her son in middle school. ?So I wrote this song from the perspective of that parent,? West explains, ?and it says, ?they don?t know you like I know you and if they did I know they?d see. . .you are heaven?s finest invention by far, so even brighter than the brightest star, what I?d give to make you see who you are to me.?? Another powerful song about parenthood is ?One Less,? a song about adoption that West cites as one of his favorites on the album. ?There are a lot of stories that inspired this song, but there was one specific one from a family in Tennessee that went about trying to adopt this little girl from Guatemala,? he relates. ?It?s an amazing story of redemption, both for the child and for the parents.??Family Tree? deals with a dysfunctional family and a girl whose dying homosexual father talked about the family legacy. The girl who submitted the story felt God speaking to her saying ?You have My legacy because you are My child.? It is a poignant and moving song and has a great affirming chorus from God?s perspective: ?No, this is not your legacy, this is not your meant to be, I can break the chains that bind you.?
From "More" to "You Are Everything" and "The Motions," I continue to hear a progression musically and lyrically from Matthew West. The Story of Your Life is yet another solid album from one of Christian music?s most prolific singer-songwriters. Certainly "My Own Little World," ?To Me,? ?Strong Enough? and ?One Less? will all get heavy radio airplay and deserve recognition. Those songs all have very strong messages and are all catchy and uplifting.
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Continues to be one of the best| Posted November 01, 2010
Matthew West continues his climb as one of the all time greats in CCM music. His lyrics about changing your life and making a difference seem to be a secular idea until you take him as he does in the Christian context. We, as the Church, have a job today and Matthew's lyrics preach this very well and they make you reflect about what you personally are doing for the Kingdom.
Matthew West "The Story Of Your Life" Review| Posted October 30, 2010
With successful CCM radio hits such as "More", "You Are Everything" and "The Motions", you've most likely heard of Matthew West, a talented artist with a God-given gift of songwriting. Now he's back in 2010 with his latest offering titled The Story Of Your Life. Based on over 10,000 stories of listeners in the USA and from around the world, Matthew produces eleven beautiful songs about how God works through the lives of people.
The albums opens up with the title track "The Story Of Your Life". This song encourages people who have been broken in life to share their story with others, and that this is only the beginning of your life. "This is the story of your life, You decide how the rest is gonna end." This song is the classic sound from Matthew West and gets the album of to a flying start. The next song and lead single "My Own Little World" is basically a summary of all the stories that Matthew read and also lays out the direction that the rest of the album will take. It highlights the fact that we as human beings can be so selfish sometimes, and that we're usually too proud to admit it. The song encourages people to step out of their comfort zone and show love to those around us. One of the key lines is "....I could be living right now, Outside my own little world." This song is my favourite off the album because I strongly agree with the ideas presented.
"Strong Enough" is the story of a nineteen year old girl who planned to go to college but was stopped when she was involved in a car accident, shattering her leg. The song reminds us that we never have to go through anything by ourselves because God is always there.The song was inspired by Phillipians 4:13. "One Less" is about adoption and states that now that there is a little girl that has a home there's "One less broken heart in the world tonight." Matthew's heart goes out to school kids on "To Me", a song about bullying at school with a bit of a country flavour. This song is even better with a guest appearance from Leigh Nash. "Two Houses" is based on the story of a fifteen year old girl who had trouble dealing with her parents' divorce"...these two houses sure don't feel like home". The deepest song off the album is "Broken Girl". This song is based on over two hundred and fifty stories of women who had suffered sexual abuse as children, that Matthew received within the first two days. This is a truly heartbreaking song as it describes the evil of abuse, but also joyful as it says that you may have had your honour taken away from you but no-one can ever take away the love God has for you. "You're not the worthless they made you feel, There is a Love they can never steal away."
One thing is for sure. The Story Of Your Life is definetley not for the faint hearted and if you're looking for a fun, enjoyable album this won't meet your needs. This album covers themes of pain, suffering, abuse, divorce, bullying, sickness and all the evil in the world, but it also reminds the listener that in the midst of all evil God is and always will be there to carry you through. The lyrical depth of this album is incredible and that's what makes the album so emotional. This album is special because its the "people's album", and I'm sure at least one song will affect your life in some way. The only downside of Matthew's latest effort is the musical creativity. The sound is your typical contemporary radio sound and after a while the sound is too bland and you start to lose interest. But soon those thoughts disappear as you hear the emotional and personal stories of salvation that this album has to offer. For a challenging and thought provoking listen, I recommend giving this album a listen.
Amazing songs applicaple to everyday life| Posted October 09, 2010
This songs in this album is amazing and so much applicable to the questions and struggles we go through in our life.. Matthew West has rocked with this amazing album.. Its simply awesome.