Wake Up Sleeper
Posted September 17, 2020
By JakeFrederick_NRT, Staff Reviewer
What You Need to Know
I think it's safe to say that Austin French entered the CCM arena in style. His debut single, "Freedom Hymn," peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot Christian Songs Top Ten. By the time his freshman album Wide Open was released, he already caught the attention of other CCM Artists like Mandisa, who had asked Austin to perform "Bleed The Same" beside her. In episode 47 of the NRT Now Podcast, Mandisa says: "That man Austin can sing his face off! He is also just the sweetest, kindest, and he is so anointed and so gifted." Austin builds on the success of his freshman project with the release of Wake Up Sleeper EP.
What It Sounds Like
If I had to describe this EP in one word, I would choose anthemic. What do I mean by that? Think of an album you love and then think of that song that pulls you in by the atmosphere and the heart behind it, it's usually about halfway through the album. It's that one that you sing along to with all your heart and takes a minute to snap yourself back to normal afterward. Austin took five songs that do just that and made an outstanding EP. "Perfect Love" adds an upbeat tempo and "Jesus Can" incorporates spoken word without losing any anthemic quality. Hit play and prepare to get lost.
Part of Austin's signature is his passion for sharing Jesus through music. I feel like each song could have it's own devotional. "Wake Up Sleeper" makes a parallel between us waking up from being dead in sin to Jesus waking Lazarus from the tomb. "Rest For Your Soul" emphasizes Matthew 11:28 where Jesus tells all those who are weary and burdened to come to him for rest. "Perfect Love" talks about how we are loved by a perfect love that fills in the gaps where we are not perfect. "Jesus Can" says that no matter our circumstance, Jesus can show up and work in us. "Ooh Child" tells us to not focus on the troubles right in front of us but to look at the hope of the future.
Best Song on the Record
"Jesus Can" is my pick best song on this album. This song caught me off guard at the first listen. The spoken word kind of verse is a twist that isn't used very often. It reminded me of a song I haven't thought of in a long time: "Lullaby" by Shawn Mullins, which was big when I was in middle school/high school. Not only did this song trigger a touch of nostalgia, but this song is also a strong reminder that only Jesus can change any story, any circumstance, any situation from one of defeat to one of power.
For Fans Of
Matthew West, Carrolton, Rhett Walker
It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Austin French, ever since my first interview with him in 2018 before his debut album released. I asked Austin to be my first guest on the NRT Now Podcast, I've taught my daughter to ID his songs by sound, and we try to make it to any shows that are close enough to get to. While I'm constantly amazed by what he does musically, it's the transparency in his songs that resonates with me. With Wake Up Sleeper EP, Austin continues to channel his passion to use his story to tell people about Jesus into a powerful collection of songs. If this EP is any indication of what Austin French's full second album is going to be like, the sophomore slump is not a reality for him.
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