SCC - Still A Force In Christian Music
Posted December 05, 2013
I've been a Steven Curtis Chapman fan for almost as long as I've been alive. The Great Adventure was the first music album I can remember my family buying, and I enjoyed tracks like The Great Adventure, Got To B Tru and That's Paradise so much that I have followed his career since then. Counting on one hand the number of live concerts I've been to, Chapman was a part of two of them. I was heartbroken when he announced that he was finished with music after the sudden death of his daughter, but luckily for me (And the rest of the SCC fans out there) he was able to cope and has since released three other albums, with his newest being The Glorious Unfolding. Here's the track-by-track review.
Track 1 - The Glorious Unfolding
Many people who have been fans of SCC for a while will be thrown for a loop with the title track. The beginning of the song is synth where previous songs have been mostly acoustical. In fact, there is very little instrumental melody, with the chorus heavily dominated by percussion and vocals. The vocals throughout are mild, but the pulsing rhythm is what really sells this track.
Track 2 - Love Take Me Over
Rarely have I seen a SCC song have more energy than this song, and those who were worried that SCC would turn away from his acoustic roots based on the first track can rest easy. This song uses only the acoustic guitar and drums. It gets a little repetitive, but the upbeat rhythm diminishes the effect of relatively simple lyrics.
Track 3 - Take Another Step
The most unique rhythm he's done in 4/4 time, SCC makes it very clear that this is an album that will focus on percussion and rhythms. Another song that gets slightly repetitive, again I don't really care, because repetition is actually used to great effect at the end of each chorus. The only issue I have is that the song starts off a little too slow, but it emphasizes the crescendo to the chorus all the more. My favorite part of this song is how meta the second verse is.
Track 4 - Something Beautiful
Honestly, this is probably my least favorite track on the album. The topic is kind of overdone in the realm of CCM, and the melody doesn't stick out to me. On the plus side, it is nice to see SCC getting back to his style of music after what could be considered a stylistic departure in his previous album, and the clapping helps the chorus out slightly.
Track 5 - Finish What He Started
Reminiscent of his earlier songs, drums are again the main part of the instrumentals, but he also threw in some humming in the first verse, which harmonizes and works spectacularly, and even better once the piano joins in the second verse. This helps a slightly bland melody along to a pounding conclusion.
Track 6 - Only One and Only You
The song opens with beautiful piano, but I can't help but get the feeling that this song is just a rehashing of Fingerprints of God off of his Speechless album. The song certainly has the instrumental style to be off of that album, but it's not completely bad to rehash if you're mimicking a Grammy winning, RIAA platinum album. I just wish he could come up with something a little more varied.
Track 7 - SEE You In A Little While
Probably the only song on the album that should be soft-spoken. I'm not a huge fan of songs about death/parting ways, which is why Beauty Will Rise was probably my least favorite of SCC's albums, but his vocals make this song near perfect.
Track 8 - A Little More Time To Love
After hearing the piano at the beginning of the song, I was expecting the song to be way to slow for my tastes, and the first verse seemed to confirm my suspicions. Then the chorus happened. The acoustic guitar picks up the temp and the inclusion of the background chorus probably makes this my favorite track off of this album.
Track 9 - Sound Of Your Voice
Nice guitar notes, pleasant vocals and amazing harmonized chorus that unfortunately isn't in the entirety of the song. The melody is still slightly bland.
Track 10 - Together
A slow yet touching love song that I'm assuming SCC wrote as a song to his wife. Not fast paced enough for my tastes, but anyone who likes slow romance songs with a lot of piano should give this one a shot.
Track 11 - Michael and Maria
A song about how SCC has come to terms with the fact that his daughter and son are with Jesus, and reflects his change in attitude over the last 4 years. A heave song made light by the ukulele.
Track 12 - Feet of Jesus
A country sounding song that for some reason I recognize from somewhere, though I can't place where. (If you recognize it, let me know in the comments.) The fiddles and acoustic guitar give it a western feel. This is the most acoustic of all of the tracks on this album.
My Top 2:
A Little More Time To Love
The Glorious Unfolding
This album is a mixed bag of new styles and mainstays as Steven Curtis Chapman releases what can probably be ranked as my second favorite album of his, right behind Declaration. The addition of background choruses and lively rhythms and percussion beats only enhances this album, and hopefully SCC will keep these themes in his next album. Every song won't appeal to every person, but then again, I have yet to find an album that does appeal to every person. An all-around extremely solid performance. 8.4/10
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