The prequel to the prequel, "Prologue" is about the darkness of the cross. They are five songs about the death of Jesus, opening with his last words on the cross and ending with his body in the tomb. The release of these records to mirror the passage from Lent to Easter, which means dwelling on the darkness before the dawn. These five songs are waiting songs, Lenten songs, songs that remind you of the gravity of the crucifixion and pique your longing for the moment when morning breaks and Christ triumphs over the grave.
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What it Sounds Like:
Peterson takes the gloomy moment of Jesus' death and dwells on the beauty found in the sacrifice. The project starts with "Last Words (Tenebrae)," a song with beautiful piano melody as a backdrop with crescendos and decrescendos to pull attention to the message. "Well Done, Good and Faithful" and "God Rested" show off the classic Andrew Peterson style: lovely vocals and acoustic undertones. "The Ninth Hour" draws you in as the dramatic strings and soft piano speak for themselves. In the bittersweet "Always Good," Peterson lays out a prayer recognizing God's goodness in a tough moment where goodness seems far away.
Written as a Lenten prayer, this EP is essentially a study guide accompaniment to the death of Jesus. The intention of Prologue is clear: to bring us a timely reminder. "Last Words (Tenebrae)" repeats the phrase, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." The more you listen to those words, the more you will be brought down to your knees in awe. "Well Done, Good and Faithful" brings more light to humanity's affliction in the story and Jesus' prayer on the cross: "You are he who formed his flesh, by your almighty word / And since he hung upon the breast, his hope was in the Lord."
Best Song on the Record:
Last June, I remember reading about a mother who had just given birth and died shortly after. My heart broke for the new family, and I watched as a community rallied together to offer whatever they could. Andrew Peterson knew the family and wrote "Always Good" after hearing the husband, lying on the floor, say "He is always good" over and over again. After learning about that, "Always Good" has become my favorite song on this EP. Mandolin undertones bring this beautiful anthem to life as Peterson looks past the immediate sorrow to find goodness.
Peterson writes a story in music of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Prologue is an amazing EP, packed with reminders about the true meaning of Easter. The perfect soundtrack to your Lent Bible study, I cannot wait to hear Resurrection Letters: Volume 1 on Easter morning.
Prepare Your Heart for the Lord's Resurrection| Posted February 10, 2018
Ten years ago, Andrew Peterson, one of our most respected singer/songwriters, was working on an album that he says was more or less on the resurrection of Jesus. As he started working on the songs, he realized that they actually were more about the way Jesus’s resurrection plays out in our lives rather than the resurrection itself. So, the album was creatively titled Resurrection Letters, Vol. 2.
This year, Peterson finally began work on Vol. 1 with producer Ben Shive, who also produced Vol. 2, ten years ago. But Peterson felt it would be odd to write about Jesus’s victory over death without spending writing about his death itself. That led to this recording, which he humorously has called the prequel to the prequel. Got all that? Volume 1 will be out soon. For this release, Peterson has written ““The five songs on Prologue are meant to be a sort of fast, opening with the last words of Jesus on the cross and ending with his interment in the tomb. May they be a good reminder of the hard road Jesus walked in order to make the world new.”
Let’s look at the excellent EP, Resurrection Letters: Prologue, which is superbly written and performed: Last Words (Tenebrae) – This beautiful song driven by piano, light percussion and backing vocals, focuses on Jesus’s last words on the cross, beginning with, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do”. The vocals are layered and build powerfully throughout the song. Ending with “Father into your hands I commit my spirit”. Well Done, Good and Faithful – This song features piano and light percussion. It takes the listener through the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross, through his cries and groans when his Father turned away from him. The chorus is based on Hebrews 12:2 which reads in part “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus finished his work, well, good and faithful, reminding us of the servant in Matthew 25:23. The Ninth Hour – This is a beautiful instrumental featuring strings and piano. Mark 15:33 states “And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.” Always Good – This intimate song to Jesus is driven by acoustic guitar and backing vocals. Jesus, who laid down his life and suffered for us, knows what we are feeling. Somehow His sorrow is shaping our hearts like it should, as we try to believe what is not meant to be understood. It’s hard to know what He is doing. Help us to trust that His intentions for us are still good. Maybe the answer surrounds us, but we don’t have the eyes to see that He’s always good. God Rested – The EP ends with this song about Jesus’s body being taken down from the cross and being buried in the tomb of a rich man. Pilate had no peace during this time. Peterson creatively connects God’s work in creation with Jesus’s work. “Six days shall you labor, the seventh is the Lord’s. In six He made the earth and all the heavens, but he rested on the seventh.” He worked till it was finished (Matthew 19:30). God blessed the seventh day. The song is driven by piano, drums, synth and backing vocals.
Peterson has stated that his hope is that the listener would use these five songs during Lent and Holy Week to dwell on the terrible road Jesus had to walk in order to conquer not just sin, but the grave.
Meditate on these songs as you prepare your heart to celebrate the Lord’s resurrection.