Music Review by Luchae Williams
As reported in Gateway News, former Delirious front-man, Martin Smith, will be gracing SA shores this October to minister songs from his latest album, Back To The Start. The album, which was released almost a year ago, showcases some of the most popular solo debut tracks that Smith has released with previous artists on albums such as Jesus Culture Live in New York and the Passion Conference worship collections. Smith, who is a highly acclaimed songwriter, is said to have experienced a ‘musical rebirth’, following the almost 20 years that he had spent with ground-breaking band, Delirious. Inspired by living in community, Smith shared that he feels refreshed and reconnected with Jesus and his local Church body and that this particular collection of songs will show that and will speak of his personal revival.
Shows another side of Smith
Re-emerging as a solo singer, this album shows another side to Smith’s worship, with heartfelt anthems and dancey praise songs that really gets you going. The album poignantly opens with ‘Back to the start’ – a moving ballad that just messed me up when he sang “I’m coming home/Back to the start/Where you found me/I give you my heart again.” I love that it speaks about our first love and that it helps us to reach a place where we can say, “okay God, it’s me and you again.”
The second track on the album, ‘Emmanuel’, was the first radio single from this new collection and was co-written with Matt Redman and Nick Herbert. The song is based on the scripture in Joshua 3:10 which says “The living God is among you.” It is a beautiful worship anthem that is lyrically striking with a sound that has been described as “modern worship.” This sound is what Smith has become known for if you can remember other more mod sounding worship tributes that he has penned such as ‘Song of Solomon’ (which also happens to feature on this album). You will also find another oldie, ‘Fire never sleeps’, on this album. It is a groovy mid-tempo track that speaks about the fire of God, inviting it to “Burn O my soul/Set me on fire!”
Smith and Redman do a sort of a mod-worship revamp to the old hymn, ‘Great is Thy faithfulness.’ The song, which has the same message and foundation as the classic, has a warm melody with rich lyrics. One of my favorite lines says “When shadows fall/You never change/From age to age/You never change.” I love singing about the faithfulness of our unchanging God!
It seems that Smith has brought a whole list of his anointed songwriting buddies with him on this journey since so many of them have joined in co-writing for the album. One of them needs no introduction: The prolific Reuben Morgan, who is responsible for penning some of the biggest hits to come out of Hillsong Australia. Morgan has joined Smith in co-writing the funky track, ‘You are my salvation’, which starts off with a bluesy introduction, building into a really declarative bridge.
I am a sucker for great lyrics – especially when they say things in a way that make you want to say “Ya!” out loud. Lyrics that did that for me can be found in songs such as ‘Grace’ which says “You gave me wings so I could fly/And gave me a song to color the sky/And all I have is all from You/And all I want is all of You!” and the beautiful ‘Only got eyes’ that so perfectly puts it: “I’ve only got eyes for You!”
One of my favorite worship tracks of all time, Christy Nockels’ ‘Waiting here for you’, receives new life on this album. The intro (which sounds like an Adele piano introduction!) really sets the mood, with Smith being joined by songstress Sarah Bird in a really touching rendition of the song.
Another duet to keep an ear out for is the unexpected edition of Smith’s daughter, Elle-Anna on bonus track, ‘God’s great dance floor.’ If you can remember, this popular dance song was co-written with Chris Tomlin and featured on the Passion 2013 album. With its lively dance beat and electro sound it has become a firm favorite across the globe.
The songs on this album come across as personal and inspired – not just words and melodies put together because they sound good. There is a range of heartfelt worship and bursts of zealous praise which make for a brilliant collection. While listening to the album, I could not help but pick up that Martin Smith has entered a new season, musically, and it has made me even more excited to hear what he has to offer next.
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