Prime Cuts: Christ is Enough, Spirit of the Living God, I Look to the King
Meredith Andrews' new album "Deeper" came out of a cauldron of trials and testings. It took her three years to (finally) serve us with this set. Expectations were lofty: it is supposed to be one of those albums that delve us deeper into God's providence in the midst of suffering offering new vocabulary that expands our lexicon of worship. However, after repeated listening (with great emphasis on the word "repeated"), the album still fails to ignite any sparks of ingenuity, creativity, and an urgent desire to return to. The major fault of the record is that Andrews gets caught in the tangle of today's current contemporary worship too much that she slothfully borrows too many of the standard riffs, tropes, clichés, and melodic structures. Place "Deeper" side by side with the latest worship albums by Christy Nockels, Misty Edwards, and Steffany Gretzinger, and "Deeper" anonymously blends into the fold without causing much of an impression.
It's not that the album doesn't have any redeeming value. It does, but the best songs have already seen their light of day elsewhere. If you purchase her deluxe version, you would be rewarded with Andrews' stirring rendition of Hillsong Worship's "Christ is Enough." While the original has chords keyed in far too high for the average worshipper, Andrews' version is far more comfortable and she brings in an immediacy as well as intimacy creating another shaft of dimension to this hymn-cum-song of commitment. "Spirit of the Living God," co-written by Andrews, first surfaced on Vertical Worship's album. Reminding one of Francesca Battistelli's "Holy Spirit," this slow pensive ballad opportunes for us lots of awesome moments to hang out with God's Spirit.
As for her newer offerings, "I Look to the King" which is somehow reminisce of "Spirit of the Living God" is acceptable. The title cut "Deeper" and current single "Soar" triy to present God's sovereignty in fresh ways but they fault on over-used images. The valley and the eagle motifs of the two respective songs, both of which find their roots in Scripture, have been churned and squeezed by countless CCM writers until there is no more juice of freshness left. Andrews simply re-squeezes the same palps that have already been dried long ago. Furthermore, this is a ballad heavy album. As you make your way two thirds into the album, one song seems to merge into another giving tedium a field day.
Part of the reason for such misstep is that Andrews has surrounded herself with too many professional writers and producers. Many of these seasoned writers treat song writing as a 9 to 5 job where they write because there's a quota to fill. Too often, their products tend to have a made-for-radio pop gloss deprived of any fresh and exciting insights. To write such a paltry review pains this reviewer as Andrews is truly a fine and wonderful worship leader. But this album just isn't her best.