Album: Worship & Believe
Artist: Steven Curtis Chapman
Label: Sony’s Provident Label Group
Release Date: March 4th, 2016
Standout Tracks: We Believe, One True God, Amen, Who You Say We Are
Multi-platinum five time Grammy Award winner Steven Curtis Chapman is set to release his latest project on March 4th, 2016. While Chapman contends that all of his records have been worship albums, he had yet to write one specifically with corporate worship in mind. Over the span of an almost 30 year career and 23 studio albums, this is Chapman’s first “Worship” album.
It was on THE STORY tour with pastor Randy Frazee when Chapman first heard about BELIEVE, a 30 day church curriculum that Frazee was working on as a follow up to THE STORY. Randy was speaking about how important it was for the church to understand and know what we believe. At this point Chapman’s creative juices began to flow and in his excitement he thought “I want to write these songs, create those musical declarations that we as a church can sing together.” Chapman was not alone putting this album together employing the talents of musicians such as Chris Tomlin, Matt Maher, Matt Redman, and Gareth Gilkeson & Chris Llewellyn from Rend Collective.
Worship & Believe offers a nice mix of music ranging from lively songs including a full band to songs with a more laid back feel featuring Chapman’s signature style acoustic playing or a piano. In terms of song structure, most pieces on this LP follow a pretty standard song arrangement along with a bridge that is either a repetitive declaration, prayer, or repeated passage of scripture.
Chapman held true to his word when he said that he wanted to create an album with more vertically-focused worship songs. The record hits the ground running with “We Believe”, a song with a simple hook that you will find yourself quickly singing along to. On the heels of this anthem you will run into a tune written with the help of Chris Tomlin called “One True God.” Starting off intimately with a piano in the lead it falls into a beautiful groove as it hits the first chorus. Tomlin and Chapman have worked together before and this fact shows in the beautiful blending of their voices in the second chorus.
Chapman’s first hit single, “Amen” was released on AC radio on October 6th, 2015. A beautiful song declaring what God has said about who we are to Him and what He has done for us and answers all of it with the only thing left for us to say….”yes….we agree…Amen.” Written with the help Gareth Gilkeson and Chris Lewellyn from Rend Collective, this song will quickly have you tapping your foot with it’s forward moving drive and its changes in cadence.
While the songs are very worshipful and contain powerful declarations to God they employ a large band and some substantial processing in the studio. Are all the songs suitable for corporate worship? On a large scale, probably not without some rearranging and reorganizing of the music especially for more drawn out pieces like “We Believe.” Also, many of the tunes with their quick tempo and syncopated lyrics may offer a challenge for may congregations catch on to. While the album may not lend itself extremely well to corporate worship without some rearrangements, it’s definitely an album you will want to have on your shelf for your own personal devotions. If you are a fan of Chapman, this will be without a doubt one of your new favourites!
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