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Story Songs
Posted August 17, 2015
By KevinDavis_NRT, Staff Reviewer

Josh Wilson had me at "3 Minute Song." It is a clever song about the challenge as a Christian songwriter to bring Gospel truth into song lyrics, which he accurately describes as "Trying to fit the ocean in a cup." With his most recent albums See You and Carry Me both ranking in my top 10 albums of the year, this album once again delivers songs that are refreshingly honest and emotional while also lyrically and spiritually profound. The album shows the complete breadth of Josh's songwriting from the celebratory pop-driven track "Blown Away" to the intimate and reflective ballads "No More" and "Coming Home."

In the hit title track, Wilson lays out his need for Jesus similar to "Before the Morning" and "Fall Apart," two of my favorite prayer-songs by Josh. "That Was Then, This Is Now" is Wilson's tenth radio single, and the song is a bold declaration of the transformation that takes place in the hearts and lives of people who encounter the love of Christ. The old has gone, and the new has come. 

That's what the song is all about, a prayer of thanksgiving for what God has done. It is a testament to Wilson the songwriter that he can make that concept so accessible as a moving "3 minute song." Josh lays out the theme of this excellent album in the title track with the 1st John 1:19 bridge: "If we turn and confess every unrighteousness, He is faithful and just to forgive."

In the musical style of his songs "I Refuse" and "Pushing Back the Dark," the theme of God showing His light in your life are found in the stand-out songs "This is the Day" and "Blown Away." They are prayerful songs reminding listeners to live life to the fullest. I love the exhortation in "Blown Away:" "When did we get so serious?  Can we just all stop acting unimpressed? I wanna be blown away! By Your extraordinary grace every ordinary day."

Josh's excellent musicianship and poignant lyrics continues with "No More," another standout hit song in my opinion with more words that connect with me personally: "No more guilt, no more shame, no more thinking I can't change. Who I was is dead and gone, who I am is moving on, You pulled away the prison doors, Hallelujah God, I am condemned no more."

In "Coming Home," Christians can all relate to the unending second chances offered by God, captured in Josh's vulnerable and sincere crying out: "I'm a wandering soul, Who's found the truth, A restless heart can only rest in You."

Closing song "Grace Upon Grace" ties the album's theme of God's never-ending faithfulness and grace that runs through the album together with the vertical lyrics "Seems impossible, a love unstoppable that just won't give up on me. You left the 99 to find a heart like mine, that's all the proof that I need. You are so faithful and I am so grateful God." Josh manages to "fit the ocean in a cup" with that perfect reflection of Gospel truth.

Closing Thoughts:
With a probing spiritual curiosity and imaginative, self-examining lyrics, this album solidifies Wilson's place among the finest song-crafters of his day. Josh's poignant songwriting is coupled with musical excellence as each song urges me to better see God. This album is sure to connect with all listeners who like catchy songs filled with truth and yearning for God.  Josh invites you into his life in such an authentic and relatable way, you'll feel like you are a lifelong friend after you hear this album. 

Wilson writes about themes that cause me to hang on every word he sings, and this album is no exception. It once again exhibits Wilson's gift of relating the challenges of life and the need for a Savior like no one else, found in the standout songs "That Was Then, This Is Now," "This is the Day," "No More," "Blown Away," "Coming Home" and "Grace Upon Grace."

The very relatable and transparent words of these songs depict our daily walks as believers wrapped around catchy songs. The mix of tempos from song to song are just right, and the emotive vocals, biblical lyrics and tight musical arrangements are layered over one memorable and meaningful song after another. Josh writes catchy folk-pop style melodies and story-songs, and if you like Matthew West and Jason Gray, then you should really enjoy Josh Wilson. I can't get enough of this album. This is Wilson's best overall album, and it is sure to be one of my top albums of the year.

Song to Download Now:
"That Was Then, This is Now" (Get it on iTunes here.)

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