I thought that July was the month for music, but so far, the first week of August has been rich in solid new Christian albums. First, there was Matt Papa’s new album, which I reviewed here. THat would have been a good enough week, as I have listened to This Changes Everything several times already. But then, out of nowhere, Phil Wickham and Shane and Shane both put out their new albums in prerelease form.
Phil’s new album is called Response, and it’s a great follow-up to his powerful Heaven and Earth album from last year. Response is filled with all the familiar sounds we love from Phil, great vocals, upbeat tones, lots of layers and unique arrangements, and it does all of this without sounding like his previous outings. And, while not always strong on theological precision, Phil brings a freshness to the overcrowded contemporary worship music pool and delivers a solid, well put-together album. Songs of note are “One God” and “God of Our Salvation”, along with a cover one of Tim Hughes stronger new tracks “At Your Name.”
As for the Shanes, it’s no secret that they’re my favorite. I don’t think there is any one producing music like them. Shane and Shane walk the line between musical creativity, theological precision, production values, lyrical thoughtfulness, and vocal prowess better than most. And their new album, The One You Need is a great example of that. The opening track, “Liberty”, is immediately recognizable as a stretch in musical diversity for the Shanes and the album doesn’t stop there. One of the most encouraging and endearing things about these guys is that they really love their Bibles. They love writing from the word and they do it well. “Liberty” is a combination of 2 Corinthians 3 and Galatians 5 and “Without YOu” echos Moses’s words to the Lord in Exodus 33:15: If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. The title track is a song written to one of their daughters as a plea to trust in Jesus as “The Only One You Need.” It’s a departure from their more recent songwriting style, but if you have been listening to the Shanes for a while, it will bring you back Barnard’s solo album, Rocks Won’t Cry.
All that to say, get both albums, you wont be disappointed. And you can watch the video for “The One You Need” here.