|Category 4.5! | Posted October 15, 2013
If there's one thing you can be sure of in contemporary Christian music, you can expect big emotive vocal moments from the Gospel Music Association's multi-year female vocalist winner, Natalie Grant. From the first time I heard her song "I Will Be" from her album Deeper Life, to the Dove Award winning song of the year "Held," and most recently her award winning worship song of the year: "Your Great Name," I've always been emotionally connected to Natalie's songs.
Available everywhere October 15, Natalie Grant's release Hurricane blends everything I've always enjoyed about her music ministry and this is her career best album in my opinion.
"Closer To Your Heart" establishes the electronic dance musical flow found in several songs throughout the rest of the album and you can physically feel the emotion in Natalie's vocals. In a slam out of your speakers song that could be played alongside any of the top songs in mainstream music, Grant lays down some of her most vulnerable lyrics to open the song praying, "Here I am once again crying on the floor." The song beautifully blends weighty lyrics with pop sensibilities. It is one of the best pop songs I've heard this year.
"Hurricane" is a great reminder that we're all in storms, and the lyrics are a message for every follower of Jesus to cling to, "It's never too late / Never too far / for you to reach out / and take a hold of love." I hear Natalie's passion in her voice when she sings those lyrics. As the song reminds us, "When you feel the rain / Call His name / He'll find you in the hurricane." What an inspirational message. Jesus commands each of us to trust Him completely. Trusting Jesus assures us that we don't have to be afraid. Pray these words along with Natalie: "Step out on the edge. Don't be afraid of it. Just let go / ‘cause you are held in His arms." Amen.
I love the prayerful offering sung directly to Jesus: "For All Of Us." The song has already become one of my personal worship anthems with the piercing words: "Here at the Cross / Your death the price / Your agony means life for all of us / You did it for all of us." Like "Your Great Name," the emotional song is vertically focused on Jesus. You'll feel the emotion expressed by Natalie as she passionately cries out "Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain." Amen.
"Whisper" is a confessional song about her desire to see God in her life, where Natalie offers the sincere and vulnerable prayer: "I keep wanting something bigger, sometimes I miss Your whisper," which leads to the acknowledgment, "let it go and listen now, I don't want to miss Your whisper." I can't get enough of the musical and vocal build. Don't miss this standout track.
In her gorgeous and personal piano-based ballad "Burn Bright," Natalie emotionally sings, "You were made to shine, you were made for life, even if you've lost your way, turn and hear Love say, you were made for more, so much more, child of everlasting light, made to blaze away the night, baby burn bright." These are great prayers for followers of Jesus looking for ways to express their gratitude for what Jesus has done for us.
"This Is Love" has a great dance-infused musical flow, and Natalie brings home the infectious biblical message of the song, "hope is rising, there is joy, It's in dying, we are born, and as we give, so we receive, the grace to impart in another, redeemed by Him…give it away, let mercy reign, this is love." In the song is a great reminder for all Christians: "be an instrument of truth, live it out, let words be few, let our lives be living proof, this is love." Amen.
EDM song "Dead Alive" keeps the danceable musical flow going and includes one of main themes of the album—"hope inside is rising…You stole my heart, You're my only obsession, You've electrified my soul and You're making the dead alive, I'm alive…My voice sings Your praise, My King of Glory, I want to be a page in Your story." These are some of the best lyrics in catchy dance songs I've ever heard.
What sets this album apart from most of what I hear in music can be found in the last two tracks, "When I leave the Room" and "In The End." Natalie sings the lullaby song "When I Leave the Room" directly about her daughters. The gorgeous and tender ballad is yet another highlight on this mesmerizing and worshipful album.
One of my favorite moments of every night as a father of three young girls is to visit their rooms and say goodnight prayers with them and pray over them "when I leave the room." It's a part of every day that I savor, and the song perfectly captures the emotion I feel as a parent. It's a sweet time, hoping they are dreaming big dreams and thinking vertical thoughts. I pray for them to share what is on their hearts with their Heavenly Father, and that they are also thinking of others as greater than their own needs.
Don't miss the gospel-infused closer, "In The End." It has a celebratory chorus—"We win in the end." The exciting song, featuring Natalie's signature vocal expression and a banjo-led melody is a celebration that in the end, Jesus will overcome. Although we may feel like losers in life, if you've put all of your hope and trust in our perfect Savior, in His eyes we are winners. What we see dimly now, we'll see clearly in Heaven. What makes no sense now will make perfect sense in eternity. Amen to that! Natalie pours her heart out in every single song. I really enjoy how this album tells the story of hope in the midst of the storms in life as each song gives a glimpse of how Natalie offers her prayers to God.
To me, Hurricane represents the best of Natalie's illustrious career, seamlessly bringing together all of her elements of infectious melodies, stellar vocals, and worshipful lyrics in a flawlessly produced album. Every song is catchy and meaningful. They are all standout tracks. There are emotional ballads including "Burn Bright," "Born To Be" and "When I leave the Room," exciting pop songs, "Closer to Your Heart," "Hurricane," "Whisper," "This Is Love" and "Dead Alive," and the worshipful celebrations, "For All of Us" and "In The End."
The album is all about finding hope in our times of storms. Hope is what keeps the lights on, and our ultimate hope is Jesus. His goodness is proclaimed in every song. This album is a reminder that even in our "hurricanes," a better day is coming. The clouds are going to part. This album is not full of Christian clichés, but instead is loaded with fresh offerings of praise that every believer can celebrate. The song order is also meant to take listeners on the journey with Natalie from "crying on the floor" to "we win in the end." This album is loaded with radio hits, but more importantly it takes listeners on a spiritual journey learning truths about Jesus that changes and moves you. I fully expect this album to win multiple awards. Hurricane is one of my top albums of the year.
Song to Download Now:
"Hurricane" (Get it on iTunes here
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|In the eye of this hurricane there is the Truth | Posted November 08, 2013
In the eye of Natalie Grant's new cd, "Hurricane", there is peace, conviction, salvation, and truth, all wrapped up in a neat package that spans modern danceable pop, country, folk rock, and moving ballads. On its musical surface it seems she wished to craft an album that would appeal to a broader audience than usual, and if that was the intent...well, it works.
Kicking off with the upbeat "Closer To The Heart", she gets her listener moving right away. By song's end if you aren't dancing around the room you are at least tapping the beat out somewhere. Forget all the Katy Perrys out there, this is the dance pop anthem for the girls of 2013.
Another track. "For All Of Us", enters the praise and worship arena, taking the listener to the cross and celebrating the victory of the crucifixion. I can imagine this tune carried across the festival stage and crowd, hands raised high in the air.
Then there's the piano pop ballad, "Burn Bright", an encouraging and uplifting ode to self worth and esteem. "You were made for so much more", she sings triumphantly, and we believe it wholeheartedly. If there's a young female, or even male, that you know is struggling with these types of self issues, play them this song. It lifts me up, and I'm pushing 50 here!
In "This Love" she returns to the dance pop sound that is so popular on modern secular radio these days. But instead of celebrating false notions of love that get preached to the masses in today's world, she delights in Truth and tells us what love really is. This is another pop anthem that not only gets you moving but lifts you up as well.
This album is really good, and plays out well on a whole. Though, I have picked only a selection of tracks to talk about here, this album isn't a random selection of tunes that she or her producers just threw in here. From its upbeat anthemic opening, to its equally anthemic closer, "In The End", the songs have a certain order and theme that is best listened to in its entirety. This makes that final song even more triumphant. "In The End" takes the indie folk sound of secular groups like Of Monsters And Men, or Mumford & Sons, and brings them into the Christian music scene. Laced with banjo and a sing along chorus, this leaves you at album's end feeling like you've been to a tent revival meeting, especially with its nod to traditional hymns and its sing-with-me refrain of Glory, Glory, Hallelujah.
So, we go through the hurricane, settle down in the eye with some life affirming, soul convicting assurances, then come back out the other side feeling changed and lifted. Amazing work, Natalie Grant. Can't wait to see what you do next...
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