The dynamic, multicultural youth ministry of Planetshakers Church, planetboom, released its third album, You, Me, The Church, That's Us - Side A, over the weekend to digital and streaming outlets globally from Venture3Media.
The diverse youth culture at planetboom that represents at least 60 nationalities translates the mission of Planetshakers Church into eclectic music that creates a unique space for an international audience to find an intimate sense of belonging as part of the church family. Still just scratching the surface of their sonic identity, You, Me, The Church, That's Us - Side A was produced by creative director Josh Ham, mixed by worship leader Joth Hunt and written or co-written by Ham, worship leader, vocalist/rapper Noah Walker, and planetboom youth pastor, songwriter, author and drummer Andy Harrison.
"With the new album, we would love for people to walk away with their minds opened a little bit to what a praise and worship expression can sound like," says Harrison. "It is unique from almost anything else in the praise and worship genre. It might surprise people, and they might say, 'Wow! OK, we can worship God like that. We can praise God like that.' Everything we are doing is to lead young people to an encounter with God."
Recorded at the planetboom conference held in April 2021 and in Planetshakers' Melbourne studio, the combination of tightly crafted studio arrangements and live worship creates a dynamic record that ranges from big, broad statements about the church family, to intimate, personal moments between individuals and God.
Intended to be listened top to bottom, with each song leading purposefully into the next, the album opens with the raucous, rhythmic rapper "The Core" and moves through a varied yet cohesive set consisting of tracks like the plaintive, worshipful "Back To Life" led by Aimee Walker, the Noah Walker-led upbeat studio pop song "I Believe," and the proclamatory "That's Us." The latter song inspired the album title and is a catchphrase that, according to Harrison, allows students and leaders to find identity within the ministry.
"What we're getting at is that what God has done in each of us individually has joined us to be part of this broader family," Harrison says. "We have people from every different nationality...standing together, arms around each other."
"We have noticed that young people are listening to whole albums and experiencing music again, which is exciting for me as a musician. I love that, and it is a bit nostalgic," adds Harrison. "We have a lot of songs, a lot of creativity, and we wanted to be able to express all of this. When we were recording, we thought, 'why stop? Let's record these songs together,' and that's going to flow into the next side, side B, as well."
Side B of the album was recorded at the latest planetboom conference held earlier this month in Melbourne and is scheduled to release April 2022. The new music adds to the linear fashion of the tracklist and is meant to move listeners directly from the Side A, soul-soaking last track, "Selah Moment," into the next phase of worship.