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Heaven Is All Around (Live) by Kaylee + Erica Heaven Is All Around (Live) by Kaylee + Erica
What You Need To Know
Cleveland, TN based sister duo
Iron Lung by Martin Iron Lung by Martin
What You Need To Know
Breakthrough by Battledrums Breakthrough by Battledrums
What You Need To Know
New Mexico-based worship collective from Calvary Chapel...

Showing 1-10 of 15 |   View Next 10 Album and Book Reviews
Sincere Worship and Encounter With God | Posted July-16-2019
What You Need To Know

Cleveland, TN based sister duo Kaylee + Erica release their live album, Heaven Is All Around (Live).



What It Sounds Like

Kaylee + Erica have created a sound that is the perfect blend of contemporary and Gospel influences ("My Soul Says Yes," "Speak Victory"), and overflows with a passion that comes from deep relationship with God and longing for His presence. Kaylee + Erica are passionate worshippers, stellar vocalists and great songwriters and all three of those elements are evident on every song. 



Of particular note is the way the instruments support and accent the lyrics and moments within the songs in such a way that they help your heart connect with God as much as the lyrics do ("Mountaintop," "Peace Reigns"). Every drum hit, chord change, build, break and melody line is intentional and serves a purpose in the song. The album also includes stirring renditions of known worship songs such as "To Worship You Live," "Shout to the Lord," "Draw Me Close", and a cover of Rita Springer's "Never Lost" that will stir your faith and leave you hitting repeat.   



Spiritual/Lyrical Highlights

"All of Creation" contains a particularly beautifully written lyric. It's a poetic declaration of the truth that God has created us and redeemed us so that we could know Him and praise Him with our lives. From dust we came, scattered and broken / You gave us a name, worthy, chosen / You took our shame and made us beautiful / We want to know You, Creator, Redeemer / Tell us all about Your deepest secrets / And we'll shout the praise of everything You are



Best Song On The Record

"Heart's Desire" is a standout on the record. With beautiful gospel-influenced chord progressions that bring the song to life, "Heart's Desire" is a raw cry of love for Jesus and desire for Him more than anything and the end of the song captures a powerful spontaneous moment of worship. Kaylee + Erica's heart for God shine through especially in the vulnerability of that moment and give us a special glimpse into the type of encounter with God they desire to bring people into through their music and ministry. 


 



For Fans Of

Elevation Worship, Hillsong Worship, Travis Greene, Tasha Cobbs Leonard



Final Word

In the Bible, the Psalms are filled with vulnerable songs of seeking God, praising Him, and declarations of faith and prayer with passion, longing, sincerity and vulnerability. Those are the types of songs Kaylee + Erica have crafted and the types of worship moments they have led us into with Heaven Is All Around (Live). More than simply offering good music to listen to, this album will lead you into a personal encounter with God. 



Buy or stream the album on Apple Music.


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Worship In Community | Posted May-19-2019
What You Need To Know

New Mexico-based worship collective from Calvary Chapel Albuquerque release their project, Breakthrough



What It Sounds Like

What's most striking about Breakthrough is the lyrics: they really are simply stories of believers walking through life with God and singing about their faith together, and that's what makes the album so powerful and such a pure expression of worship. ("What Are We Afraid Of", "Grace After Grace") The arrangements and instrumentation on Breakthrough do an excellent job of supporting and elevating the lyrics so that they stand out and draw the listener in. ("Breakthrough," "Just A Glimpse")



Spiritual/Lyrical Highlights

Battledrums describes part of their mission as inspiring the church to sing anthems that will help us live victorious lives, and "Emmanuel" is a song that perfectly captures that. The lyrics passionately proclaim that God is with us and that we are victorious in Him.



Best Song On The Record

"Edge of Heaven" wins for best song. It has an anthemic, drum-heavy bridge that connects with many when listening to the worship genre. More than that, however, it describes a longing for God's presence that is raw and sincere.

 

For Fans Of

Here Be Lions, Elias Dummer, Freedom Movement



Final Word

There's something powerful about worship songs that are born out of a local community of believers living life and pursuing Jesus together, and Breakthrough will draw you into the preciousness of that experience.



Buy the album on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify


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Worship Meets Rock | Posted May-19-2019
What You Need To Know

Martin Smith, best known for fronting beloved Christian worship band, Delirious?, releases Iron Lung, his first studio album in six years.



What It Sounds Like

With Iron Lung, Martin Smith gives us a sound that is the perfect combination of worship ("Exalt," "Fire's Gonna Fall") and rock ("Iron Lung," "Great and Glorious"). The album is synth-heavy and atmospheric while at the same time giving space for guitar and drums to shine. As usual, Martin's iconic vocal brings heartfelt lyrics to life as only he can.



Spiritual/Lyrical Highlights

The title track, "Iron Lung", is inspired by a miraculous story from Martin's life. As a baby, he came down with bronchial pneumonia and was placed in an iron lung to help him breathe. Prior to his recovery, his mother prayed and promised to dedicate Martin back to God if He would heal him. The song paints a powerful image of remembering our stories, the trials God has brought us through, and how He brings purpose out of some of our most difficult moments.



Best Song On The Record

"Everybody Is Broken" is a standout on the album. It's sonically diverse and super interesting to listen to. Martin speak-sings the lyrics in a way that almost makes the song feel like a spoken word piece. The lyrics cleverly weave in the themes of Ezekiel 37 and the valley of dry bones story to convey that although each of us is broken, God restores and brings dead things to life.



For Fans Of

John Mark McMillian, David Leonard, We Are Messengers



Final Word

Iron Lung is a creative body of work that is as heartfelt as it is lyrically and musically intriguing, and it won't disappoint.



Buy the album on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify


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The Power of Worship | Posted April-04-2019
What You Need To Know:

Former lead singer of Desperation Band and New Life Church Worship Pastor Jon Egan releases a solo-project, Unveil, on Integrity Music.



What It Sounds Like:

There's nothing like a live worship experience and Unveil captures the power of these moments perfectly. Sonically, this album creates the feel of passionate corporate worship from top to bottom, because that's exactly what it is. It offers us the rawness of live worship and a congregation singing praise together. Each song is played by a live band throughout the album, with drums that know exactly when to be subtle or when to build to elevate a moment ("The Name We're Running To," "What You Said") and several hauntingly beautiful piano melodies ("Pure Exaltation," "Unveil"). "This Changes Everything" would make a great addition to Easter Sunday worship sets.



Spiritual/Lyrical Highlights:

With many of these songs born out of Jon's battles with anxiety and depression, this album highlights the power of worship to help us fight spiritual battles, to turn our hearts to God when life is overwhelming, and to encourage and comfort our hearts with God's presence through hard times. 



Best Song On The Record

"Be Strong" wins best song on the record. It's both a vulnerable cry to God to rescue you from hardship and give you victory, as well as a moment of speaking encouragement over your own soul that God will break through into your dark situations. 



For Fans Of:

Passion, Here Be LionsDesperation Band



Final Word:

Jon Egan has a gift for crafting songs for God's people to sing together - anthems of faith and praise. With Unveil he delivers, once again, a collection of songs that will lead you into passionate, powerful moments of connection with God. 



Buy the album on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify

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Vulnerability and Versatility | Posted March-26-2019
What You Need To Know:



David Leonard, former member of worship duo All Sons & Daughters, releases his debut solo album, The Wait, on Integrity Music.



What It Sounds Like:



With The Wait, David brings us the folk-acoustic worship style reminiscent of his time with All Sons & Daughters ("Know Your Heart," "Come As You Are," "There's Nobody"), and explores new sounds we haven't heard from him before, such as rock ("Share This Burden") and synth-pop and alternative ("By My Side," "Signs of Life"). This collection of songs showcases David's vulnerability as a person and songwriter, as well as his versatility as a musician.   



Spiritual/Lyrical Highlights:



The album vulnerably explores themes of wrestling with faith, waiting, and trusting God. In "I Will Wait", David sings I won't forget that Your hand will hold me / Your love sustains me through the wait. That lyric reminds me of Psalm 139:7-12, which speaks about God being with us, guiding us, and strengthening us even in seasons that feel dark and difficult. In the lyric itself, David sings phrases verbatim from Psalm 103:1-2, "Let all that I am praise the LORD; with my whole heart, I will praise His holy name. Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things He does for me."





Best Song On The Record:



"Know Your Heart" stands out as best song on the record. It's possibly the closet moment on the album to the type of heartfelt worship anthem that you've come to appreciate so much from David's time with All Sons & Daughters, but David definitely leaves a mark on this song that is all his own. The chorus is both catchy and prayerful. It's one you will walk away from this album singing and praying throughout your day.



For Fans Of:



Elias Dummer, Michael Farren, We Are Messengers



Final Word:



David has opened up his heart on The Wait, honestly sharing his journey of faith and conversations with God. His words will give voice to your own journey and conversation with God as well. 



Buy the album on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify

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Worship In Many Musical Styles | Posted February-14-2019
What You Need To Know

Bethel Music releases their latest live worship collection, Victory (Live). This project features familiar Bethel Music voices such as Brian and Jenn Johnson, Cory Asbury and more, as well as some new voices such as Molly Skaggs, Bethany Wohrle, Emmy Rose and Daniel Bashta.



What It Sounds Like

No stranger to musical excellence and exploration, Bethel seems to have stepped out even more stylistically with Victory (Live). Even in subtle ways, these songs reveal the influence of various genres such as folk ("Raise A Hallelujah"), country ("Goodness of God") bluegrass ("Ain't No Grave"), while still creating moments of God's people singing and experiencing Him together in corporate worship, which Bethel does so well ("Praise Is A Highway", "Promises Never Fail"). 



Spiritual/Lyrical Highlights

These songs were born out of Bethel Music artists facing and overcoming real trials in their lives, such as Brain Johnson's battles with anxiety or the life-threatening sickness of Bethel Music CEO Joel Taylor's son. These declarations are honest and faith-filled. It's clear that they are written and sung from a place of clinging to God's character and promises and declaring the hope and victory we have in Him over every circumstance.



Best Song On The Record

"Stand In Your Love" stands out as the best song on the record. The song creates an atmosphere that feels like house worship and it's a really special moment on the album.



For Fans Of

Passion, Phil Wickham, Hillsong Worship



Final Word

Victory (Live) is a collection of songs that will bring you into an encounter with God, empower you to sing His promises over your circumstances, and give you a variety of musical styles to enjoy while you do it. 



Buy the album on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify.

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Worship With EDM Influence | Posted February-13-2019
What You Need To Know

Recorded live at Planetshakers Church in Melborne, Australia, Planetshakers releases their latest project, Rain Part 1 (Live).



What It Sounds Like

Once again, Planetshakers delivers a collection of songs that showcase their ability to put a unique spin on worship music. A standout feature on Rain Part 1 (Live) is the way Planetshakers blends the stylistic influence popular in current Pop/EDM music with those classic anthemic lyrics,  powerful piano and bass, and electric guitar riffs that we've come to know them for. This EP delivers both moments of joyful praise that you can dance to ("All Around," "I Lift Your Name") and tender, prayerful worship ("Right Now," "Fire Fall").



Spiritual/Lyrical Highlights

Both "All Around" and "I Lift Your Name" carry themes of Jesus being with us at all times and the truth that we can lift up His name everywhere that we go, at every moment, in everything we do. The lyrics make me think of Colossians 3:16-17: "Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.  And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father."



Best Song On The Record

"I Lift Your Name" wins for best song on the record. Upbeat and fun, it's a song you can not only sing along to but can integrate into your daily life because it reminds you to praise and represent Jesus in everything you do. 



For Fans Of

The Belonging, Elevation Worship, Israel & New Breed



Final Word

If you're looking for an EP with a combination of high-energy praise, tender moments of devotion and surrender, and lyrics that will inspire you to live truth every day, Rain Part 1 (Live) is it. 



Buy the album on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify.


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Musically Diverse Church Worship | Posted December-14-2018
What You Need To Know

Freedom Movement, the Philadelphia-based church worship collective, releases their second album No Limits (Live), recorded live at Freedom's Church's 2018 Go Live Conference. 



What It Sounds Like

Right from the start, No Limits (Live) feels like you've walked into a Sunday morning church service. The energy and community that is unique to a corporate worship experience permeates this album, and understandably so. Freedom Movement is the worship collective of Freedom Church in Philadelphia, PA and exists to capture the sound of worship and move of God in that local church and the city. Influenced by pop ("Wonder," "Glory Song"), contemporary ("You Are Good," "Awakened") and gospel sounds ("Narrow Gate," "At The Cross"), No Limits (Live) excels in musical diversity as much as it does in powerhouse lead vocals, stirring three-part harmonies, and sing-able lyrics. The album also features covers of worship repertoire staples "Mercy" by Bethel Music, "King of My Heart" by John Mark McMillan, "Build My Life" by Pat Barrett and "Spirit Break Out" by Jesus Culture.



Spiritual/Lyrical Highlights

Recurring themes on the album are surrender to God, devoting all of our lives to Him, and finding satisfaction in Him above anything else. From "Only You": You are my portion and I will wait for You / You are good to those who hope in You and we will see only You



Best Song On The Record

"Peace Be Still" wins for best song on the album. It contains one of the album's most powerful moments as the lead vocal sings out "You are the God of peace" and the lyric declares God's peace over our hearts and circumstances. 



For Fans Of

Bryan & Katie Torwalt, Planetshakers, Israel & New Breed



Final Word

No Limits (Live) is an album born out of God's people worshipping and pursuing Him together and because of that, it's an album that will facilitate God's people worshipping and pursuing Him together. Even in moments of personal worship, the lyrics will give voice to your prayers of faith, devotion, and surrender to God. 



Buy it on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify.

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Simple Truths and Sincere Praise | Posted November-02-2018
What You Need To Know

Renowned worship leader and songwriter Chris Tomlin
releases his eighth album, Holy Roar, featuring the previously released singles "Nobody Loves Me Like You" and "Holy Roar."



What It Sounds Like

On Holy Roar, Chris Tomlin consistently points us back to the worthiness of God and His love for us, while also drawing us into praise in a way that is accessible for everyone. Yet again, he delivers on the congregational singing with a church worship band style that we've come to love him for. The title track "Holy Roar" sets the tone for the album really well by declaring that we are approaching God to give Him what He is worthy of: a holy roar of worship. "Praise Him Forever" is a fun, mid-tempo, four-on-the-floor song that would be powerful for congregations to sing together. "Goodness, Love and Mercy" has a Gospel music inspired bridge that will take you straight to church, and it's a great moment on the album. "How Sweet It Is" features fellow worship leader and songwriter Pat Barrett, who also wrote "Good, Good Father" from Tomlin's previous album, Never Lose Sight.



Spiritual/Lyrical Highlights

"Is He Worthy?" is a standout song on the album. The lyric pulls from Romans 8:18-24, which is about humanity and creation groaning for Jesus to come back and free us from sin and suffering. It also references Revelation 5:1-14, which is a prophetic passage declaring Jesus is the only one worthy to break the seals on the scrolls in Heaven that unfold God's plan at the end of this age. That plan includes Jesus returning to earth, ending sin and suffering, and establishing His reign of peace and righteousness. It's a theological theme that is lacking in much of worship lyrical content today, so it's refreshing to hear Chris tackle this type of song and keep it so sing-able and biblically grounded.



Best Song On The Record

For 
best song on the album, it's a tie between "Is He Worthy?," as mentioned above for its rich and much needed theological content, and "Praise Is The Highway" for its hopeful declaration of how praise ushers in the move of God.



For Fans Of

Pat Barrett, Lincoln Brewster, Passion




Final Word

Holy Roar is an album that is sure to create many moments of believers singing praise together. Simple truths declared and sincere praise expressed are powerful, and this album is full of both.



Buy the album on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify


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High-energy Praise and Personal Encounter | Posted November-01-2018
What You Need To Know

Australian worship collective Planetshakers releases their full-length album, Heaven On Earth, recorded live at their Planetshakers Kingdom Conference in
Melborne, Australia. 



What It Sounds Like

Planetshakers is no stranger to creating worship songs that are fun and powerful, and are unafraid to experiment musically. It's part of what makes their music so enjoyable to engage with, and all of those qualities make an appearance on Heaven On Earth. "There Is No One Like You," "Electric Atmosphere," and "Move Out of My Way" are high-energy praise anthems that are perfect to dance to, complete with all the slap bass, electric guitar riffs, drum breaks, and synth you could want. These would translate especially well into a kids or youth worship setting. "Through It All" and "Not Alone" provide powerful worship encounter moments that bring an awareness of God's presence, and declare the truth of who He is. Hearing the crowd engagement on this record truly brings the worship moments to life.



Spiritual/Lyrical Highlights

"Not Alone" in particular is a song that declares how God our Father always loves us, is always good, and always with us. The chorus
sings I am not alone / You are here with me / You've given me Your heart and You will never leave / Father You're always good and You're always here for me / You'll never leave.



Best Song On The Record

"Above All Names" is hands down the best song on the record. There's something incredible about God's people collectively declaring that His name is exalted above every other name, and is more powerful than anything in this world or anything we are facing. I love that this is one of the longer songs on the album, giving you space to linger in truth and connect with Jesus. 



For Fans Of

The Belonging Co, Elevation Worship, Hillsong Worship



Final Word

There are songs and moments on Heaven On The Earth for every expression of worship, from joyful praise to reverent awe and personal encounter. Whatever moment or season you find yourself in, this album will help you connect with God.  



But the album on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify


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