An Album As Diverse As the Stories Within
Posted October 08, 2012
By KellyS, Staff Reviewer
With his sixth studio album, Into The Light, Matthew West continues his proven method of writing songs based on the personal stories of fans that continue to pour in day after day. As a gifted storyteller and songwriter, West's ability to take circumstances and weave them into a song, time and time again, are unparalleled.
With an undeniable voice and strum of a guitar, the stories of people all over the world are bringing hope and light to others needing exactly that. "That's what Into The Light is about. It's about bringing these stories into the light and realizing how contagious it can be," West says. "When people hear Into The Light, they are going to realize that maybe they aren't the only one struggling, and I hope they'll find the courage to discover the freedom that's promised when we step into the light."
First song and title track, "Into The Light," starts off with just piano, drums, and the strum of a guitar. Written about a woman escaping a violent situation and finding hope on the other side, there's a definite uplifting energy throughout the song from beginning to end. As West sings the chorus--"Come on, come on / Out of the darkness / Come on, come on / Out of the night / No more, no more / Living in the shadows now / Step into the light"--he is joined with other voices seemingly to encourage the one who is trying to find the courage to step into the light. As with every song on this album, this track speaks directly to a specific circumstance or struggle that every person can relate to in some way.
"Forgiveness" is the album's first single and based on the story of a mother who chose to forgive the drunk driver who killed her daughter. With strings, guitars, and quiet drums, West sings about one of the hardest things we as Christians are ever asked to do: forgive someone undeserving of forgiveness. Reaching the chorus, the energy builds as West asks God to "Show me how to love the unlovable / Show me how to reach the unreachable / Help me now to do the impossible / Forgiveness." There are so many great lyrics in this song, I could easily quote the entire thing. The story of this mother who was able to forgive the unforgiveable is powerful and the song completely envelops that.
While "Moved By Mercy" has more of a pop/rock feel, "Waiting On A Miracle" has a Country slant, and "We Are The Broken" could easily be sung as a worship song in church or at a conference. With a wide range of musical styles and tones, this project is not lacking in variety.
Final track, "The Power Of Prayer," relays the story of a boy who prayed for his parents to stop fighting and for the healing of his relationship with his father. With just a quiet piano and West's voice, listeners hear the prayers of the boy and his mother as they bring the situation to God. With a surprise ending, this song will leave you teary-eyed and hopeful that God does in fact hear our prayers.
It's rare when I can honestly say every song on an album has the ability to be a single, but in the case of Into The Light, it's true. Every track is different from the others, but contains the same thought-provoking and challenging lyrics that drive listeners to want to change who they are. Once again, Matthew West has taken the stories of life and created a project that is well worth the "repeat" button. Whether you're a longtime fan or have only heard his music on the radio, Matthew West's Into The Light deserves a listen, or two, or three.
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