Music Review by Luchae Williams
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Mega band, Jesus Culture, birthed from a youth movement at Bethel Church in Redding California, released their latest album, titled This is Jesus Culture, in April 2015. The album is a compilation of their work to date, featuring some of the most influential and impactful songs within the church – many of which have been made famous by the collective. The tracks which were chosen to feature on the album are led by Jesus Culture worship leaders, Chris Quilala and Kim Walker-Smith and showcase Jesus Culture anthems previously released on albums such as “Come away”, “We cry out” and the 2014 release, “Unstoppable love”, reviewed by Gateway News.
A compilation album does not always go down well in our car, but considering the fact that my rock star husband shares the same musical taste (and a first and second name) with the amazing Chris Quilala, I knew that this one would be a hit. Because of the depth of each song, it was literally like being at a worship event, with each song nicely flowing into the other, in my opinion.
Quilala leads songs such as “I want to know You” – a power ballad, “Your love never fails” and “One thing remains”. All three tracks have been quite a hit at local churches and a fave amongst young male worship leaders, I might add. For those who are not familiar with it, “Your love never fails” and “One thing remains” are both up-tempo worship tracks that speak about God’s unfailing love and devotion towards us. I particularly love the lyric of “Your love never fails” with Quilala belting out ‘Nothing can separate/Even if I ran away/Your love never fails.’ Walker-Smith blends nicely with him, to create a full sounding chorus that declares ‘You stay the same through the ages! Your love never changes!’ It’s hard to not feel loved while singing this.
Quilala also leads “Alleluia” and “Agnus Dei” – both written as vertical worship songs, that laud God as holy and worthy. “Agnus Dei” referring to the Lamb of God, was originally written and performed by Michael W Smith and has also become quite a global anthem. The track only has a few sentences, which are repeated, but hey, that is often the recipe for the most potent worship songs!
Other songs listed on the compilation are Kim Walker-Smith’s “Rooftops” – the catchy singalong track that speaks about surrender, as well as the powerful “Show me Your glory”. Her vocals and ability to go into free worship so effortlessly continue to amaze me.
I was pleasantly surprised to also find the popular anthem, “How He loves us” on the album. The song, if you didn’t know, has a really interesting story. It has been chronicled that independent artist, John Mark McMillan, wrote “How He Loves” as a result of the death of his best friend, Stephen Coffey, who was a youth minister for Morning Star Ministries. On November 1, 2002, during a church prayer meeting, Coffey prayed out loud “I’d give my life today if it would shake the youth of the nation.” That very night, he was in a multi-car accident and died of serious injuries. Meanwhile, McMillan was recording in a studio in Jacksonville, FL when he received a call about the accident. The next day, McMillan wrote “How He Loves” as a tribute to Coffey and out of a need “to have some sort of conversation with God” where he could speak to his frustrations and emotions over his best friend’s death. This must be the reason why the song has become a massive hit since its release, with many people coming to the Lord, after hearing it (myself included!) The song speaks about the love of God that surpasses all and outweighs everything… even our mistakes and regret. It is a powerful ballad, made even more so on the Jesus Culture recording, by Walker-Smith’s powerful vocals. Walker-Smith certainly does the other power ballad, “Your name is glorious”, which was taken from the “Unstoppable love” album, justice. That song blows my mind every single time I hear it! It speaks of our glorious God and lifting Him higher.
For Jesus Culture fans, this is a sweet edition for your collection, in that the selections of songs chosen make for a really potent worship session, when played back to back. Each track is powerful and though it has probably been played over and over in its heyday, it still has the incredible ability to minister and open hearts up to God.
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