On the new album, this beloved Centricity Music recording artist is less of a host and more of a participant in the stories he's telling. Rather than leading listeners on a journey revolving around a central theme like he did with 2020's Order Disorder Reorder, this album serves up a batch of pop-friendly, radio-ready contenders primed for conversation.
"Concept albums tend to ask something of the listener," Gray says in regards to Land of the Living's predecessor. "This record is a little bit more, 'Thank you for your attention. That was the meat. Let's have a little dessert.'"
This cherry-on-top addition to his catalog is full of meaningful songs marked by Gray's remarkable ability to plumb the depths of the human experience -- all within the confines of a three-minute pop song.
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Gourmet lyrical phrasing filled with truth| Posted November 02, 2023 What You Need to Know Ever since I first heard "Blessed Be" by Jason Gray from his album All the Lovely Losers, I was hooked by the emotional and biblical messages of his songs. In fact, that song was the 8th song I featured for my "behind the song" devotional article series which started back in March 2008.
Jason is an anointed songwriter and singer, and he has a profound way of piercing my soul with his poignant words, tender singing, and inspirational truths. He has returned with Land of the Living. The album was preceded by the hit standout songs, “Place for Me,” “Good Man,” “Be Kind,” and “When I Say Yes.” “Place for Me” is a beautifully crafted, driving pop song lifted by Jason’s vocals and a chorus of voices singing about the universal human need for belonging.
What it Sounds Like Similar to his previous albums, the central theme of this release is discovering our identity in Christ, being truthful and open with ourselves and others, and allowing God's grace to illuminate our lives by showcasing how His strength is flawless in our vulnerabilities.
Jason is a gifted storyteller, and like in his previous offerings, the highlights are found in his vulnerable prayer-songs, including lead single, “Place for Me.” It is a powerful song which praises the loving and merciful attributes of our Savior. God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness, and that biblical truth is perfectly portrayed throughout this album.
“Good Man” reminds me to make Jesus the Lord of my life and for every activity and thought in my life to point to His complete Lordship. “Land of the Living” ties all of the other songs together, anchored down by the hopeful refrain.
Spiritual Highlights “Place for Me” is a great reminder that our circumstances don't define our joy. Our position in Christ and His unending faithfulness is worthy of all our gratitude and adoration. This song gives me more conviction to not feel worthless or afraid. With many areas in our lives, we also spend a lot of time worrying. We need to let that go and allow the Lord to be our Redeemer. We live in a fallen and sinful world. “Place for Me” is a gorgeous offering of praise to the only One who has power to save. It is a very sing-able song, and I love singing the joyful lyrics, “If my failures preach the gospel, more than my success/Then it’s a good thing I’ve got more than enough/Hallelujah there's a place for me /In the company of sinners saved by grace/Here among the broken on their knees/Hallelujah/Thank You Jesus, there’s a place for me.”
Once you adopt the words of this song into your heart, you will remember the truth that Jesus has always been, He is today, and He always will be the One who makes a way for us, even when it seems impossible. That's something to remember and rest upon. In any situation, God will make a way for His children. As we look at the fallen world around us, we all need to lift our eyes up to God and put all our faith and hope in Him. It's in our weakness that God is made strong. It's only through God's grace that we can overcome our emotional conflicts of feeling invisible and conspicuous at the same time.
Best Song on the Record A soft melody frames the transparent, vulnerable, and moving track, “Worth Staying.” God promises us in His Word that His mercies are new every morning. Whatever situation you are facing you can know that God is with you, always. “Worth Staying” is a powerful song which praises the loving and merciful attributes of our Savior as he achingly sings his story. God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness, and that biblical truth is perfectly portrayed throughout this album.
Right from the opening notes, you’ll be mesmerized by the melody and message of “Jesus Loves You (And I’m Trying).” He sings about God’s faithfulness with his unique brand of gourmet lyrical phrasing filled with the truth of the Gospel for those “with ears to hear.”
Final Word If you like singer-songwriters who wear their hearts on their sleeves and sing about the truth of what it means to walk with God and work out their salvation with fear and trembling, then don't miss out on one of Christian music's most treasured artists. Jason has once again invited listeners into his story of faith. Jason is one of my favorite writers in all of Christian music because his songs are so emotional, vulnerable, and authentic.
Land of the Living is an emotional listening experience. All twelve songs are catchy, personal, and biblically focused. If you liked A Way to See in the Dark, then you absolutely must have this album. With each album, I hear maturation in the subject matter with lyrical depth and musical layers that have made Jason among my favorite male artists, along with Matthew West, Brandon Heath, and Dan Bremnes.
If you like a singer-songwriter who lays their heart on their sleeve and sings about the truth of what it means to walk with God and work out their salvation with fear and trembling, then don’t miss out on one of Christian music’s most treasured artists. I get welled up singing along with several of the emotion-laden songs, especially “Jesus Loves You (And I’m Trying),” “Hold on to Hope,” “Worth Staying,” “Good Man” and “Place for Me.” If you are looking for the top male singer-songwriter album of the year, look no further than this stellar offering.