Brandon Heath [Leaving Eden]
Posted January 05, 2011
Brandon Heath, GMA’s two-time reigning Male Vocalist of the Year, returns with a new 11-song project Leaving Eden, on January 18, 2011. Heath teams again with acclaimed co-writing partner Jason Ingram on four new songs including the hit single, “Your Love.” It was the first song written for the new album following Heath and Ingram’s previous No.1 radio hit collaboration, “Give Me Your Eyes.” Thematically, the project’s opener and title track speaks to a new awareness in Heath’s life that the problems of the world exist in part because of the knowledge of good and evil. However, even amidst innocence being slowly chipped away, Heath believes the world can be changed, even if it’s just one decision at a time. “The album starts with the title track ‘Leaving Eden’ stating the obvious pain in the world by just reading the headlines, but turns towards reconciliation despite the hate and frightening things that happen in life,” Heath explains. “I want to celebrate the goodness in the world, and that’s what the rest of the songs on the project talk about. I feel like I have a choice to protect what little innocence is still left in my life, because I think that’s what attaches me to God. It doesn’t mean other things can’t be healed, but why do I have to feel like I’m completely ruined, when I’m not?”
“Leaving Eden” is an incredible song and from the first listen I was hooked by the challenging message including “a teacher is hiding her Bible, but at least she has a job and my local Salvation Army just got robbed” and the very catchy melody. The main premise of the album is “there is no place like home.” “Your Love” is the first single and has “song of the year” written all over it. Musically, both songs feature that “Give Me Your Eyes” hook-filled musical vibe, comparable to OneRepublic and The Afters. Clearly good things happen when Brandon and Jason co-write songs, and that is evidenced throughout Leaving Eden, Brandon’s best album in my opinion. The chorus is a wonderful declaration of faith: “The only thing that matters is Your love, Your love is all I have to give. Your love is enough to light up the darkness, it’s Your love, Your love…all I ever needed is Your love.” From the first time I heard the song “I’m Not Who I Was” I connected to Brandon Heath personally and I’ve been a fan ever since. His story is also my story, and I struggle with balancing faith and fear of failure. Brandon’s songs are relatable to real life and he appeals to people from all walks of life, lyrically and musically. I find his songwriting to be especially sincere and relevant. “The Light In Me” is a surefire hit song which speaks about our walks as Christians with the worship chorus: “You put the light in me, the spark, the shot to the heart, the hope that leads me out of the dark.” “Only Water” is an acoustic guitar ballad and like “Love Never Fails” I hang on every word as Brandon passionately sings “It’s only water, and it washes over me, like a single river stone, it changes everything that has no power on its own, it’s only water.”
“Stolen” and “Might Just Save Your Life” both bring back the electronic musical style and I love the song order of this album as it really causes me to focus on the excellent messages of each song while mixing up the musical styles. I could imagine exercising while listening to many of these songs as they have great energy and hooks. “It’s Alright” is another tender ballad which I could sing to my 3 young daughters when they need comfort as God sings over us“everything will be okay.” “It’s No Good To Be Alone” is another upbeat song with a reggae musical feel and uplifting message about being in community. The album is loaded with very positive messages including the next songs “Now More Than Ever” and “The One.” Closing song “As Long As I’m Here” brings the “leaving Eden” theme full circle to the day when we stand before Jesus in Heaven and the song stops me in my tracks with these incredible lyrics: “You gave me the heart and the time I would need to find You and make it back home, where I belong.”
Leaving Eden has set the bar incredibly high for new albums this year. There are no weak songs and this album is truly a masterpiece. This is already my favorite album by Brandon Heath and one of my all-time favorite albums. Every song speaks to me personally as a Christian and several songs reflect the brilliance of the album, including “Leaving Eden,” “Your Love,” “The Light In Me,” “Might Just Save Your Life,” “It’s No Good To Be Alone” and closing track “As Long As I’m Here.” The album’s theme is cohesive and the concept that we’ve left Eden is a great reminder of why we need our Savior Jesus. His Holy Spirit dwells in us as believers, and God wants us back with Him, but as long as we’re here, the album challenges us to ask ourselves “how well did I love?” Leaving Eden was well worth the almost 3 year wait and establishes Brandon Heath as the premier solo artist in Christian music for his exemplary songwriting and compelling vocals. This album is nearly perfect and gets 5 very enthusiastic stars.
Rating: 9.8 out of 10 (98%, A+)
Review written by: Kevin Davis | Review can also be found here.
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