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Songs of Intimacy and Devotion
Posted January 04, 2018
By jaysmusikblog, Staff Reviewer

Jon Thurlow is one of the International House of Prayer (IHOPKC)'s staple worship leaders, penning worship anthems such as "Strong Love," "Shout Your Name," "Take Your Place" and my personal favorite, "Storm All Around You." While half of Thurlow's songs are emotionally-driven cravings for intimacy with Jesus and the other half are piano-pop ballads to dance to, without fail his songs drive the listener deep into praise and worship. Thurlow's debut with Forerunner Music, Stand in Awe, released in 2013. For his second release, titled Different Story, Thurlow teamed up with talented producer Ben Shive and polished songwriter Anna Blanc. 

Instantly, "Your Light" gives the listener a Stand in Awe vibe, as the infectious pop tempo celebrates God's light that took our cold, motionless hearts and gave us purpose and meaning. Baring his heart, Thurlow borrows Peter's Scriptural words for "I Want You," stating: "God where else could I ever go / when the truth is You're my only good?" He creates a powerful prayer for fresh fire and invites the listener to cry out along with him. 

Electronic beats give the title track "Different Story" a high level of celebration. Thurlow takes the listener down memory lane, reminiscing about our dark days without hope and how Jesus found us there and gave us redemptive stories of freedom. Two tear-provoking tracks follow, "For You" and "I Want Your Heart." In the first, Jon's graceful piano-playing and flexible vocals find us hearing God's heart as He eagerly plans redemption after the fall in the Garden of Eden: "I'm gonna to die for you / I'm going to give it all away / I'm going to rise for you / because I want to see you on that day, when I come for my Beloved." Similarly, with added slow strings, "I Want Your Heart" is God calling us back to our first love: "Years have come and years have gone / but am I still your only One?" Both songs call the listener to open their heart and embrace intimacy with their Creator once again. 

A song Jon has already played often during his worship sets, "Your Love is Better" follows. With a catchy swing, it acts as a response song to the previous two tracks, stating, "You're the one thing that my heart is needing / I just know Your love is better." It reminds the listener that nothing in this world is worth more than the love of God. 

Returning to an upbeat, catchy pop tempo, "Closer" is a fun-sounding yet desperate cry to know God more deeply, while "Power of Your Love" again celebrates the transformation God has done in our lives. The supportive addition of saxophone and Gospel organ will make the listener want to dance along to Jon's testimony!

Much like the famous "Footprints in the Sand" poem, Jon explores moments of loneliness in "Need to Know." Through the peaceful swing tempo, he asks God to remind him of His nearness in those difficult moments. A perfected studio version of "Shout Your Name" follows; its strong drumbeat emphasizes the lyrics of the healing Jesus does in our lives. 

Breathtaking piano and strings close the album with "Still Looking Back at Me." This deeply touching track lets us overhear the heart of Jesus as it yearns over a heart-broken girl who refuses to stop looking to Jesus for the answers. Jesus' heart, overwhelmed with love and joy says, "She's still hurting / she's still waiting to be free / But she's not quitting / She's still looking back at Me," and answers that cry with, "If she only knew how much My heart is moved." It is a powerful closing to the Different Story album. 

The Bottom Line: Jon Thurlow's Different Story is a must-have worship album to add your collection. It meets all expectations of IHOPKC listeners as Jon delivers what he does best: a healthy mix of touching songs that will move your heart and cause you to hunger for God, with a number of catchy songs that will cause you to rejoice over God's redemptive work in your life.

For Fans Of: Bethel Music, Onething Live

Song to Download Now
"For You" (Get it on iTunes here.)

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