Music review by Luchae Williams
Christian music maverick, VarShawn Mitchell, celebrates a successful 20 years in the industry with his latest album, titled Elements.
The multiple Dove Award winner and Grammy nominee ended his three-year hiatus with this powerful 13-track album, released in August 2019, which he says paints a picture of his personal testimony over the years.
“I was looking back at the 20 years, and thinking about my start in music, and what I’ve accomplished. I realise there are specific elements in life and elements of God that allowed me to get to where I am,” Mitchell explained of the album. ”I purposely want to write music regarding my personal story, and how God used elements like fire, wind and rain to speak to me at times in my life that needed to be spoken to!”
With big production, stunning choral arrangements and impressive songwriting, Elements stays true to the excellence we’ve come to expect from Mitchell.
Album opener, Anything Is Possible, is a groovy call and response praise song that will have you singing along to the hook “nothing’s impossible when we praise Him!” Such a powerful declaration to sing! Worship song, God Can Do Anything, has the same theme and I love that this message is found peppered throughout the album.
Strong choral song, My praise, is a slow starter that eventually builds into a gorgeous bridge that simply says, “His praise should be in my mouth!”
Fire Prayer, featuring Jonathan Nelson and STEMS, has a RnB Soul twist and stunning vocal arrangements. You can’t help but be moved. The song flows into the popular Jesus Culture refrain Set a Fire as the vocal ensemble croons “Set a fire down in my soul/That I can’t contain and I can’t control/I want more of you God”. I appreciate that Mitchell uses this time to flow in the Spirit, giving the listener an opportunity to really connect with God, without being perturbed by song lyrics.
I was also deeply moved by worship song Wind of God, featuring Taelia Robinson. Keeping with the album’s almost choral theme, the song features strong vocals, building up to a powerful bridge with Robinson leading the pack. The song made me so aware of, and thankful for, the presence of God!
We Receive featuring Monet Shelton and Samantha Howard is a worship ballad that sets an expectation for an outpouring of Holy Spirit. The vocals in the track is simply breathtaking and as the song crescendos, building up to a bridge that cries out for more of God, you can’t help but be moved to a place of abandonment too.
A beautiful piano solo introduces us to May Have To Wait — a duet with singer Ron Poindexter. This may be a song in season for those who are waiting for breakthrough. The lyric speaks directly to the situation and reminds the listener that God is a keeper of His Word. The chorus says: “I may not see it now/but delayed is not denial/I may have to wait but that’s okay/God’s word it cannot fail.”
You might be as pleased as I was to find our very own Khaya Mthethwa featured on the album! The South African born and raised worship leader sings on the song Oh My God. The track, recorded in Durban, speaks about a God who is always on time and has a catchy chorus and likeable melody.
VarShawn Mitchell has once again delivered, with a collection of songs that are both musically excellent and jam-packed with Holy Spirit power. I enjoyed the stellar vocal performances and attention to detail that the vocal ensemble has put into each song. With a host of glory-filled songs that fit into both the corporate worship and personal worship spaces, Elements certainly has hit the nail on the mark. What a great listen!