Music review by Luchae Williams
Christian music stalwart and founding member of Jesus Culture, Kim Walker-Smith, released her highly anticipated studio album, On My Side, in April 2017. The album follows her 2013 release Still Believe and the popular seasonal album, When Christmas Comes, released in 2014.
On My Side has been testimony of a life-changing journey for the singer/songwriter. In an interview she explained that the album had been written through a whirlwind of events, spanning the past four years, including becoming a mother and the death of her father.
“During all of that the Lord has taken me on a journey of ups and downs, wrestling through the different pains and emotions that go along with all of those. The one resounding message He kept assuring me of is that He is on my side. This album tells the story of that journey. This collection of songs is the message He kept whispering through it all,” she explains.
First studio album
The album, featuring 12 original tracks, marks a first for the songstress as a full length worship album recorded in studio. Jesus Culture fans have come to know and love the worship leaders live worship and recording projects. But, in my opinion, this does not take away from the intensity of this particular collection of songs.
Album opener, Brave Surrender, shows us just that, speaking about her vulnerability before the Lord, through the journey she has been walking. I enjoyed being re-introduced to Walker-Smiths soaring alto and appreciate the way she demonstrates both power and submission, while ministering.
The album is filled with synth-infused tracks with easy-to-learn, almost pop-like melodies. Tracks like Glimpse and Rise quickly made it to my favorites list. Both are very contemporary sounding, with Rise featuring a really catchy calypso-styled beat. They make for a fresh addition to an otherwise ballad-filled album.
Not that we mind the Kim Walker-Smith worship ballads at all! In fact, the album’s stirring single, Throne Room, has quickly become a fave and has returned the singer to the US album chart. Other balladry worship songs that moved me were Awaken Love and Just One Touch. The latter speaks about needing just one touch — one encounter — with the Lord, to be changed forever!
I had a personal worship experience with tracks Undone and On My Side. The latter is a song that speaks about our Lord God, mighty in battle, fighting for us! My heart really resonated with the opening lines, so eloquently delivered by Walker-Smith: “In the frontlines, You fight for me/Oh, Your kindness is my shield/When the armies rise and I am scared/My heart You will defend.” This is definitely a must listen!
I also appreciated the almost poetic way that she ministers track You Define Me. The song is filled with powerful declarations and reminds us that we are found in Christ, as she sings “Only Your words can define me/You tell me who I am!” I love this message.
Despite the four year hiatus, Kim Walker-Smith has not missed a beat and is still able to transport you to the throne room with her soaring vocals and impressive song writing. Jesus Culture fans will appreciate this offering. Those yet to be introduced to the singer’s flavour of worship will, most likely, be hooked from the get-go. I really enjoyed this one!