Review Summary: Nobody stood and applauded them, so they knew from the start this road would not lead to fame…
When Steven Curtis Chapman stepped into the music industry, he had nothing to lose. He had lost everything when his apartment burned down, and it's only evident from his passion for music that he truly believes what he sings. His greatest hits album collaborates his best pop ballads with a few of his spiritual rockers. It's moving to hear his own trust in his beliefs, pushing doubt and fear aside for hope and faith. He isn't afraid of discrimination or disdain for his way of life, but that's the point. From his pleas for a calling in the world to the devout connotations displayed throughout the album, these songs are meant to stir our own questions of existence.
Steven Curtis Chapman evokes strong messages to the listener, and proclaims a hope unlike any other. This album is built on the foundation of inspirational lyrics and fervent harmonies, so there's nothing too technical about his music. Songs like ‘More to this Life” are about pressing through the daily routines of life and reality to ask “What do I really believe? What is life really about?” This motion continues with ‘I Am Found in You’ and ‘Hiding Place.'
The standout prime track of this entire record is the blues and folk influenced ‘Lord of the Dance’, an re-recording performed in the renowned Abbey Road Studios. The song showcases great acoustical work by Chapman, as well as an impressive vocal presentation, brought by passion and inclined with dedication to his faith that through all the amazing things we face and our very senses every second of our lives, God is the ‘Lord of the Dance’.
Excerpt from ‘Lord of the Dance’
“The world beneath us spins in circles
And this life makes us twist and turn and sway
But we were made for more than rhythm with no reason
By the one who moves with passion and with grace
As He dances over all that He has made”
The spectacular acoustical melody of the album is ‘His Eyes’, about the mystery of God’s presence. From the emotional insecurity of his heart he questions how such a God could even care for such a person as mankind, and queries the feelings of a higher being, and how such an unknown force actually does love us beyond what we could even comprehend. Another track, “I Will Be Here”, is a striking emotional promise written to his wife, and its strong willed expression to never leave her is nothing short of beautiful.
Excerpt from ‘I Will Be Here’
“Tomorrow morning if you wake up,
And the sun does not appear
I will be here.
If in the dark we lose sight of love,
Hold my hand and have no fear
'Cause I will be here….
Just as sure as seasons are made for change
So our lifetimes are made for these years.
And I will be here”
What is even more impressive than the lyrics are Steven Curtis Chapman’s beautiful melodies. The anthem driven ‘For The Sake of the Call’ has a captivating chorus, willing to abandon everything, to live and die by faith, without fear of persecution. Many of Chapman’s songs explain traveling through hardships and the journey of life’s road, as influenced by the album’s cover. ‘Not Home Yet’ ‘The Walk’ and ‘The Great Adventure’ have slight southern musical tones in them, as the songs talk through the walk through “the glorious unknown”, creating a positive outlook on uncertainty of the future by faith alone. Other songs such as ‘That’s Paradise’ and ‘No Better Place’ are more upbeat and rock oriented, about spiritual salvation. ‘His Strength Is Perfect’ and ‘Hiding Place’ are saturated with “80’s ballad” written all over them. While they may sound cheesy for some, they still capture some powerful lyrical poems. The more modern sounding “Heaven in the Real World” contains rousing guitar lines and a message for change in the world.
Never have I heard such true and honest words of confidence spoken from the heart of an individual. They push the boundaries of life, the questions everyone asks about our existence. These songs are as emotionally intense as they are hopeful. While they may not be as technical as many would rate albums by, the music shows itself that it has a lot to offer.
The Top Tracks:
Lord of the Dance
I Will Be Here
More to this Life
For the Sake of The Call