Prime Cuts: Be Still, Lily's Song (Praise the Lord), Eyes on You
Kristene DiMarco's "Mighty" aims for the maximalist and the anthemic. The live sound is kinetic. The passion is as subtle as a sledgehammer. And the voice of DiMarco is immediate, raw, and soaked with the power of the Holy Spirit. Unless you are audibly challenged, it's a hard to listen to this album and not be drawn in into the worship of God. And in this regard, "Mighty" serves well as a worship album. "Mighty" is DiMarco's first live worship album recorded under the Jesus Culture imprint in partnership with Capitol Music Group. DiMarco is also one of the worship leader with Bethel Music. Fans of the Redding, California team would remember DiMarco's composition "It is Well," a prime cut garnered from their "You Make Me Brave" album, which has slowly become a(n) (inter)national church worship favorite.
Recorded earlier this year in Redding, CA, "Mighty" features "It is Well" as well as 10 other originals. And following in the footsteps of Jesus Culture's matriarch Kim Walker-Smith, worship ballads seem to be DiMarco's mettle. In fact, all 11 cuts here are slow-burning worship anthems designed for cooperate church worship. This by far is both DiMaco's strength as well as weakness. Strength because these songs really show us her giftedness in leading worship as in a track like "Lily's Song (Praise the Lord)." Though the words charter no new ground, this simple call to worship still packs a punch with its opening organ-like flourishes that slowly transitions into a roaring hook-laden chorus that is so infectious and affecting.
"Be Still" showcases DiMarco softer cadences as she draws us again to the promises of God as contained in Psalm 46 giving comfort to our anxious heart. "I Will Follow You," the album's lead single, is on the side of anonymity drawing strains from Hillsong's "Christ is Enough for Me" but without the same immediacy. Much better is "Eyes on You." Just like DiMarco's signature song "It is Well," "Eyes on You" integrates the hymn "'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus" into this clarion call to trust in Jesus. The soft loud verse chorus structure is utilized well in the title cut "Mighty" in building the song to its explosive crescendos bring out the transcendent direction of its lyrics.
Yet, with the album being so heavily ballad driven, listening right through can be taxing and too heavy handed at times. One would wish DiMarco could branch off to vary her tempo and maybe do a more propulsive number. Maybe a samba worship piece or even a faster-paced rocker might give the listening experience more of a recess from the emotionally-charged ballads.