Jesus Culture Live from New York:Songs from the Revival
Posted November 15, 2012
By MaryNikkel_NRT, Staff Reviewer
Jesus Culture is a movement that grew out of Bethel Church in northern California. What began as a yearly conference became a worship revolution that spread throughout the country, eventually making its way to England and Australia. Now in addition to yearly events that draw people from all over the world to major cities such as Chicago, Dallas, and Atlanta, Jesus Culture has released multiple albums comprised of both original worship songs and covers of classics.
The latest from the worship collective led by Kim Walker-Smith and Chris Quilala is Live From New York, a collection from a conference in New York featuring Martin Smith (formerly of cornerstone worship band Delirious?). This album gathers 18 highlight performances, primarily more recent songs, but also featuring some renditions of older songs, notably “Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble” in honor of Martin Smith’s Delirious? days.
Jesus Culture’s music is marked by a deep passion for knowing Christ and making Him known in this generation. This passion lends an element of raw honesty to their music that establishes their integrity as voices in worship arenas across the world. That quality of their music propels all the tracks on the New York session, but particularly moments such as “Our God Reigns,” “Set a Fire,” and “I Belong to You.” These songs have a musical sound massive enough to fill an arena coupled with a deep desire to know more of who God is.
The slower, more mellow moments on the album are equally strong and heartfelt. “Song of Solomon” is a song sung to the God who leads us through the valleys and the darkest nights, entreating Him to “hold me ‘til it’s light.” “Walk With Me” has a similar theme, led by the rich, passionate vocals of Kim Walker-Smith.
Throughout the collection, the energy levels are maintained without faltering--even when tempered by reverence as in “Alleluia.” Often,Chris Quilala steps away from the mic and allows the crowd to carry the melody of the moment, while at other times he directs the room to a pause for reflection and prayer, deepening the awareness of God’s presence. This allows the songs to progress organically while the set is led more by the Spirit than by pre-determined guidelines.
Some of the songs are deeply personal, intimate exchanges between creation and Creator, such as “I Am in Love With You” and “Pursuit.” The audience’s continued response is evidence of the way that Jesus Culture’s music has resonated deeply with this generation in their pursuit of and response to God.
In every track on the album, from the opening revival-seeking “Fire Never Sleeps” to the closing “I Belong to You” which seeks to take hold of our identity in light of God’s character, a deep desire to pursue God and to be immersed in and to reflect His glory swells as an ever-present undercurrent. It is that longing for God’s anointing which empowers and energizes every element of these songs.
Jesus Culture continues to hold their place as an important voice in contemporary worship music with this collection. Live From New York is an experience, an album inviting the listener into the room with the band and the audience as they have a corporate conversation with God. The experience is well-crafted through a masterful mix of crowd vocals, the gifted worship leaders, and moments of reflection. Although it does not bring much fresh material to the table musically, this is an album worth listening to for those seeking passionate pursuit of God and a deeper connection to His people in the community that is the Church.
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