Worship Musician July 2020 - Page 34

NEW MUSIC SELECTIVE HEARING | Robert Berman TAUREN WELLS Citizen of Heaven REND COLLECTIVE Choose to Worship DAVID DUNN Perspectives In times that have everyone wondering where the “reset” button for 2020 is kept, celebration makes a welcome respite. Enter Tauren Wells’ latest project, which focuses on the presence of God in a broken world and the hope of glory hereafter. Old school R&B and funk figure strongly, most notably in the grooving “Miracle” which vibes on “Thriller” era Michael Jackson, whoops and all. “Trenches” carries on the “hills and valleys” metaphor of Well’s previous album with a 9/8 ballad about Christ’s incarnation. “Love’s Worth the Fight” encourages us to have the hard conversations. Hollyn joins in on “All About You” to make it delightfully clear that the “you” needs to be Jesus, not us. “Like You Love Me” sets the perennially popular theme of Psalm 8 to song, rejoicing in God’s care for his creation, most especially his people. Pastor Steven Furtick adds Biblical commentary to the sideband-heavy “Close,” based on Elijah’s moment of despair in the wilderness. Other welcome guests include Jenn Johnson on “Famous For” and Kirk Franklin on the humorous, bass-driven “Millionaire.” Even Rascal Flatts stop by for “Until Grace.” But as usual, the main attraction remains the fluid yet powerful vocals of Wells, at present the finest vocalist in the genre. Northern Ireland’s most prominent gospel music export delivers another collection of anthems that could find a home in corporate worship yet also sound great blasting from your convertible on a breezy summer drive. The title track kicks things off with a surprising slow burn that simmers and then boils. “Behold, He Comes” is every bit the stomper of Parousia that you’d expect from its title, a gospel choir and punctuating the triumphant tone and a brass ensemble delivering an unexpected and delightful reprise. “Rend the Heavens” links that Second Coming theme to a longing for revival in the meantime. “Day of Victory” weds a fiddle riff to a rhythmic page from “Viva La Vida.” “Defiant” strikes a Queenlike 12/8 pose of octaved guitar riffs crying confidence out of “the valley of my soul.” “My Advocate” takes a theological turn, welding several Scriptures into a sermon about Christ’s atonement. Chris Llewellyn’s vocals, recalling a young Russ Taff, lend the tunes presence and conviction. This is Christian music in its most unvarnished, unapologetic form: Songs about the past, present, and future work of Jesus Christ. It’s a taking-stock kind of moment for David Dunn, looking for lessons in the past and resolving for a different tomorrow. “Starting Now.” “Perspectives.” “Spend a Life.” And so on. Whereas last time out 2017’s “Yellow Balloons” was a guitar-based affair, this time out synths and light hip-hop beats predominate, with occasional harmonizer. “Church” even makes room for a little chiptune while reminding us to make our faith an everyday matter, not just an hour a week. Familiar collaborators like Colby Wedgeworth, Benji Cowart, and Josh Bronleewe keep the pop hooks coming early and often. Aaron Cole adds rap to “Anxiety.” Highlights: “Interruption” and the jaunty “No Grade,” an endearing romantic memoir. Robert Berman Robert is a Sunday School teacher, music nerd, and acoustic guitar enthusiast. He lives in rural Tennessee with his wife and three boys. 34 July 2020 Subscribe for Free...