Matthew West [Into The Light]
Posted October 03, 2012
By KevinDavis_NRT, Staff Reviewer
After receiving over 10,000 personal stories from all over the globe for his heralded 2010 album, The Story of Your Life, Matthew West, who has been forever impacted by the outpouring of stories, felt as though there was even more for others to say during this season of his music. The new studio album, Into The Light, features 12 tracks inspired by 10,000 new letters submitted after West invited people to, once again, send him their stories. The songs comprising Into The Light were inspired by stories touching on everything from the power of forgiveness, drug addiction, the rejection of apathy, domestic violence and many other topics.
The stories gave Matthew a window into what his fans had experienced in their lives. And they covered a wide range of human experiences and emotions. “Into The Light” perhaps serves as a capstone to the entire album, describing a woman who escaped an abusive situation and the journey out of the darkness that held her prisoner for so long with these poignant lyrics reflecting the freedom we have in Christ— “No more, no more living in the shadows now / Step into the light.” Following the great trend already established by Matthew West of completely transparent and vulnerable lyrics, "Hello My Name Is" addresses the truth of how our identities are too often shaped by the world and as believers we are set free as he proclaims in these lyrics inspired by a young man named Jordan: “These are the voices, these are the lies / And I have believed them, for the very last time / Hello, my name is child of the one true King / I’ve been saved, I’ve been changed, and I have been set free / “Amazing Grace” is the song I sing / Hello, my name is child of the one true King.”
The powerful lead single “Forgiveness” chronicles a mother dealing with the death of her daughter at the hands of a drunk driver. The song displays how much God wants us to dispose our hearts to forgive each other. This is not enough, we must seek the welfare even of those who offend us. Let us seek more and more for the renewing grace of God, to teach us to forgive others as we hope for forgiveness from Him. As the song beautifully states, “I want to finally set it free, So show me how to see what Your mercy sees, Help me now to give what You gave to me, Forgiveness, Forgiveness.” Amen to that! Another of the album’s strongest tunes is “Moved by Mercy,” which West wrote about a young woman named Krystal who was a victim of abuse and neglect as a child. As an adult she found her way to Mercy Ministries, a shelter for women and she realized that God had not abandoned her. He had protected her and is working in her life. The female vocalist in the song is Caitlin Evanson and her powerful vocals gorgeously proclaim the beautiful refrain—“Take me far away now / From this broken place now / Somewhere they can’t hurt me / I wanna be moved by mercy / Jesus, I can’t see You / I just know I need You / Help me start a new life / Let my heart be moved by mercy.”
From "More," "You Are Everything" and "The Motions" to “Strong Enough” and “Forgiveness,” I continue to hear a progression musically and lyrically from Matthew West. Into The Light is yet another solid album from one of Christian music’s most prolific singer-songwriters. Certainly "Into The Light, “Hello My Name Is,” “Forgiveness” and “Moved by Mercy” will all get heavy radio airplay and deserve recognition. Those songs all have very strong messages and are all catchy and uplifting. “Forgiveness” is my selection for Song of the Year. If you want to be challenged, moved, and step “into the light” with songs inspired by real life stories, then don’t miss this album. Several of these songs are instant classics and for sure, West will be considered for Pop/Contemporary Album, Artist, and Male Vocalist of the Year.
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