A Beautiful Composition
Posted June 03, 2015
By ChristopherThiessen_NRT, Staff Reviewer
Five years have transpired since Chris McClarney's last release, Defender. In that time, McClarney has teamed up with Jesus Culture, and his worship anthem "Your Love Never Fails" has been adopted and sung across the country. Now finally, after five years, McClarney is sharing nine new worshipful and powerful songs, recorded live in San Francisco.
The title, Everything And Nothing Less, immediately excited me. As a worship leader myself, I have found it very easy to find hundreds of songs that speak about God's love for me, or the things God does for me-- songs that are about how God fulfills my needs. I don't think there is a problem with these songs. They are necessary, and it is great to give praise for God's love and His fulfilling of our needs. My issue comes when these songs are so prevalent, while songs focused on our surrender to God's might and greatness and holiness are not as prevalent. What the title at once shared with me was that this album is focused on God. It's focused on how great He is, an appropriate album of deep worship of our Creator.
I experimented with this review by approaching my initial listen of it differently. The first time through, I only focused on the themes of McClarney's songs. I deferred any thoughts on derivative musical style or overused lyrics till later listens, and focused on the message first. And what I found was beautiful.
The themes of this worship night flow together so beautifully to paint a magnificent picture of our lives in worship of our God. It starts off with invitation into worship, focusing on God's glory and worthiness of our praise. From here, McClarney leads the congregation into faith in God and his mighty works in our lives, which then deepens into total surrender of our lives. Then "Beauty For Ashes" is a song of thanksgiving for God's renewing power, which comes when we surrender ourselves to Him.
After giving thanks, Kim Walker-Smith joins McClarney in a powerful time of longing for more and more of Christ in our lives on "On Earth As It Is In Heaven." This longing and following hard after Christ is matched in the hauntingly captivating "Running After You (Deep Calls)," featuring a very strong yet effortless vocal over a unique chord structure reminiscent of Radiohead or Muse.
As McClarney encourages a spirit of longing, he invites more to come to Christ in "Thirsty:" "If you're thirsty the Spirit and the Bride say come, there's mercy, it doesn't matter what you've done, oh come." In the final minutes, McClarney sends out the worshipers of God with a brief cover of Hillsong's "Came To My Rescue" alongside ad-libbed prayers of continuing in the presence of God, which remind us that worship never stops, but that we pray without ceasing.
There is definitely a time to push for being wholly original in our worship. There is a place for having innovative lyrics to stir us up and bring us closer to God. But in the midst of that, there is also a time to sit and call out to God, to surrender everything we have to Him, to worship Him with everything we have and nothing less, and to long for more of Him than ever before. This album perfectly portrays that time. McClarney writes and performs these songs of praise and adoration so naturally that it will inspire many to join in and surrender all to the One who is worthy.
Song to Download Now:
"On Earth As It Is In Heaven" (Get it on iTunes here.)
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