Music review by Luchae Williams
Dynamic songstress, Steffany Gretzinger, of Bethel Music fame, released her second studio album in March 2018. Following her critically acclaimed debut offering, The Undoing, Gretzinger shows us a different layer to her worship in this latest album titled Blackout.
One would expect a more corporate worship album from the singer/songwriter, who is well known for stellar worship songs such as King of My Heart and Bethel fave, You Know Me. But Blackout has been described as “not your typical worship album” by music critics, and offers listeners a more personal, intimate time in the presence of God, with gentle worship, coaxing vocals and music arrangements that are both interesting and not distracting.
“It’s about being able to joyfully dance as tears stream down your face, knowing that life comes through learning to grieve and celebrate at the same time,” said Gretzinger, in an interview. This is how the title track was born, out of a place of self-discovery and learning to navigate through the darkness, towards God’s undeniable light.
“You can’t turn out a light shining from the inside. We’re living in a blackout. The day is dark, but the light shines the brightest in the darkness. If there was ever a time for us to shine, it’s now. If we’re really going to be The Light Of The World, we have to know who we are in God,” shared Gretzinger. “It is possible to learn to dance while the tears stream down our faces, to stay connected to the One who made us. If we understand that we are made of light, then we can’t be threatened with darkness.”
The title track, Blackout, is actually the album closer, surprisingly. The music composition is immediately attractive, with an intensity that makes you sit up and listen. Definitely the most upbeat song on the album, it speaks about shining your light with a defiant hook that says: “you can’t turn out a light shining from the inside!” I loved the style of this track… possibly a genre that Gretzinger should look into.
Opening track, Save Me, carries the same feel – that something new has been birthed in this songbird. I loved the fresh lyrical content, basically pointing out that Jesus is our super hero and that we cannot save ourselves. The musical composition of the track is best described as dramatic, with synths and drums setting the scene.
Possibly my favorite song on the album is the moody track, Dust. The song has a pop feel to it and opens with lines that immediately impacted me: “I am dust, You are God/For I am breathless till You fill my lungs.” I really love the synthy pop feel of Bright Ones too. This song is through and through a declaration, with lyrics that say “We are Your bright ones/Lit up with Your love/Glowing in darkness/We shine for You.”
I was really moved by Gretzinger’s duet with worship leader, Bobby Strand in the song Confident. The track speaks about our faithful God and paints a picture of His dedication and love for us. I especially enjoyed the bridge and found myself singing the catchy melody over and over: “I won’t win this battle with the strength in my own hands/You’re the mountain-mover and only You can!” Yes and amen!
Other tender moments on the album include the intriguing Oxygen and the heart wrenching piano driven ballad, Sing Me Back Home. Written for the prodigal sons, the song speaks about losing direction and being able to worship your way back into His arms. Such a beautiful song.
I appreciated the addition of one of Gretzinger’s infamous spontaneous worship moments, in the track I Was Made For This. The raw recording is a transparent reflection of this singer’s heart for God and it is such a gift to have on this album.
Steffany Gretzinger is an anointed songwriter who has the uncanny ability of being able to articulate those “every day moments” one has with God. Blackout is definitely an intimate worship album, filled with poignant lyrics and incredible music production that makes it worth the purchase. If you’re looking for songs to inspire your Christian walk, or for intimate worship that will ease you into a deeper moment with Holy Spirit, then this one is for you.