Music Review by Luchae Williams
What can I say about Jesus Culture that has not been said before! This youth outreach ministry, known for their amazing worship, has once again dived into the heart of God and produced a CD that speaks to a generation hungry for Him!
The new album, titled Unstoppable Love, was recorded live in California, during the annual Jesus Culture Encounter Conference in January 2014. The album features the voices that we have come to know and love — that of Kim Walker-Smith and Chris Quilala, who both play a big role in the writing of the album, collaborating with the likes of guitarist Jeffrey Kunde, Bryan Torwalt, Ian McIntosh, Kari Jobe and Smiths husband, Skyler Smith, to name a few.
“Our prayer for this album is that you would encounter the unstoppable, over-the-top, zealous, extravagant love that God has for you.” shares Banning Liebscher, Jesus Culture director, who founded the ministry through a vision to equip a generation to transform society by bringing people into an encounter with God’s love through worship and discipleship. To date, the Jesus Culture band has recorded 10 albums and released 21 projects on their music label, Jesus Culture Music.
The title track, “Unstoppable love”, a firm favourite of mine, is based on Romans 8:38-39 and speaks about the unceasing love of our Father. The powerful hook of the song says “No sin, no shame, no past, no pain can separate me from Your love, No height, no depth, no fear, no death, can separate me from Your love.” Such a wonderful reality to sing over yourself! The song is led by Smith and as always, her spontaneous worship stirs up the worshipper in you, giving you space to sing your own song and profess your gratitude to God. This is something that I thoroughly enjoy about her music!
Opening track, “Sing out”, is led by Quilala and is a mid-tempo worship song, speaking about lifting up the name of Jesus, the lamb that was slain.
“We will run”, a bubbly praise song, left a smile on my face! This track is guaranteed to leave you swaying to the beat, whether you’re at your desk or in the kitchen, with lyrics that declare: “We’ll leave our past at the Cross / Surrender before You / We will run to You.”
Quilala leads the majority of the songs on the album, most of which are congregational and can be used by worship teams and bands to lead others into worship. “Light of the world”, “No other like You”, “You made a way” and “We stand” are prime examples, structured in true Jesus Culture style. I must admit, they are the type of songs that you would expect to hear on a Jesus Culture album — which might irk those who long for something different, but which could speak to the hearts of those who have come to love and appreciate their sound.
“Surrender all” caught my interest as soon as I started listening to the album. This track is a remake of the old hymn “I surrender all”, originally written by American art teacher and musician Judson W Van DeVenter in 1896, and builds into a bridge that simply sings: “All to Jesus, I surrender!” The hymn has been delicately restructured to have a more modern sound, with the song delving deeper into an understanding of the power of surrender.
Another favourite is the anthem “Your name is glorious” led by Smith. This song boasts powerful, emotive vocals and lyrics that compel you to focus on the glory and goodness of God. In the chorus Smith sings: “Your name is Glorious, We lift You up higher, higher, come see what God has done and lift Him up higher, higher! Come see what God has done and lift Him up, higher, higher!” It left me with images of flags waving their hallelujahs to the King and banners declaring who He is! It’s THAT kind of song! With music that swells and fades as Smith goes deeper into worship, this track can potentially wreck you — in a good way — as you enter into a more intimate time with God.
“I stand in awe”, also led by Smith, is a melodic worship song with lyrics that are deep and though provoking. I quite like it! The chorus sings: “You reign forever and hold me together and come whatever, you love me!”
And lastly, I can’t end my review without mentioning “10 000 reasons”, a worship song originally written by Jonas Myrin and Matt Redman. This track has fast become an anthem in churches across the world, and although the verses are a bit wordy, they speak such truths! The words in the chorus “Bless the Lord, Oh my soul!” is a heart cry that has been echoed throughout humanity over hundreds of years, through various hymns and spiritual songs and it has certainly not lost its depth! The song ends with Quilala proclaiming the glory of God in a heartfelt prayer, speaking on behalf of a generation who is eager to lay down their lives for Him.
The CD comes along with a DVD, such a bargain and definitely worth the investment! For the fans, there is also a Blu-Ray disc available, which offers two additional songs and a message from Jesus Culture director, Banning Liebscher. I appreciate that the ministry has uploaded a “Church Resource Pack” onto their website, especially created for worship teams. The resource pack includes charts, lyrics and links to videos all in one download.
To sum up, this album reflects worship in true Jesus Culture style, while still showing a more mature, developed band — they’ve grown up since 2005 and have clearly grown in God as well! Their passion to see Jesus high and lifted up is still as evident as before! This album is a must for those who desire to be drawn to the truth of who He is and how much He loves us.