Prime Cuts: Greatness of Your Glory, Lion and the Lamb, Have It All
You cannot fault Bethel Music for sloughing. Though their last live worship record was 2012's For the Sake of the World, they have had ventured into many musical detours in releasing five diverse albums in between their live worship recordings. From their all women-led worship effort You Make Brave to their dabble in electronica Tides (and its live counterpart) to their atmospherics instrumental Without Words: Synesthesia to their studio recording We Will Not be Shaken, it would be an understatement to say that Bethel Music is not afraid to charter into new musical grounds. With Have It All, the Redding California worship team has returned back to their mother's milk of live worship recording emerging out of their patented arena rock template that we have all grown to love.
But Have It All as the titular suggests takes with seriousness the adage that big is beautiful. Have It All is a double CD boasting a whopping 16 songs with a total running time clocking in at 1 hour and 37 minutes. Moreover, the team has also expanded their frontline worship leaders with Leeland and Cory Asbury adding to the faithful line up of Brian & Jenn Johnson, William Matthews, Amanda Cook, Steffany Gretzinger, Josh Baldwin and many others.
Surrender is the pulse that undergirds the entire record. Copious songs give exposition to this theme, most prominently the title cut "Have It All" led by Brian Johnson. Starting off with an acapella-esque introduction, the slow pensive ballad finds a vulnerable Brian Johnson emptying his soul before God in utter surrender. Though Leeland is an esteemed singer-songwriter in his own rights, he easily blends in with the team in offering what is the album's most catchy burner"Lion and the Lamb." While many worship tunes are so bereft of creative use of images, "Lion and the Lamb" is an exception. Jeremy Riddle's "Be Enthroned" has a gorgeous cinematic introduction that draws us into this dramatic presentation of worship often leaving us at the edges of our seats.
Fans who like a more hymn-like structure to their worship music will adore Brian Johnson-led "Greatness of Your Glory." Offering his grainy Jeremy Camp-esque vocals, Jonathan Hesler literally raises the roof with a powerhouse performance of "Thank You." Inspired by her grandmother and her recent passing, Jenn Johnson hits a raw nerve with the synth-driven atmospheric ballad "Heaven Come;" a song that avails opportunities for broken hearts to be healed in Jesus' mighty presence. Yet, not all the songs work. Steffany Gretzinger's "Pieces" tries in vain to crescendo into one powerful blast of worship due to its nebulous melodic structure. "Colors," on the other hand, is let down by buffing up a half-written song with spontaneous worship. Moreover, with most of the songs clocking in from 5 to 8 minutes, some of the songs demand a tad more patience and repeated listenings to grasp.
But other than these minor reservations, Bethel Music lives up to their album titular Have It All. They sing with a holy abandonment that is most contagious: thus, when they sing about surrender to God we can't help but be led by the Spirit in conformity.
Tags : bethel music bethel worship jenn johnson brian johnson bethel music have it all album review bethel music have it all Amanda Cook steffany gretzinger Josh Baldwin leeland cory asbury steffany gretzinger