Prime Cuts: Your Beauty, The Beautiful One, Sing Your Praise
Perennially, worship music falls under the trapping of not producing enough quality music in conjunction with its polished and bombastic sounds. Often in lieu of strong melodic lines and thoughtful lyrics with theological depths, many worship teams are allowing their latest sounds to canvas their paltry material. As a result, a whole swath of worship music come and go without indenting into our memories. Moreover, it's songs of such perishable quality that have given contemporary worship music such a bad ammunition within the wars churches are having regarding the nature of worship music. However, this is not so with the Rock Music's "Awakened by Hope."
Fronted by worship leader Steele Croswhite, The Rock Music is an independent movement of music working as a collaboration of musicians who are dedicated to writing, recording and performing relevant Christ-centered music without compromise. Together, the Rock Music has released two independent worship albums. Now, in collaboration with Dream Records, "Awakened by Hope" is their debut major label release for the imprint. Featuring a whopping 15 newly penned cuts, this album was produced by Rigby Road Studios owner and producer, Joel Pack (Neon Trees).
Of note is that worship leader Steele Croswhite has an expressive tenor quipped with lots of emotional inflections. And he puts this to effective use on the thumpingly upbeat "Running After Your Heart" drawing us into worship at the get-go. He then gives "Your Beauty" a robust workout with his 80s pop accent. Relaxing the pace a tad is the beat ballad "Sing Your Praise" which gives Croswhite's emotive vocals a superb workout. A female lead vocals which resembles Hillsong UNITED's Taya Smith opens the anthemic "Mighty," which is also entralling.
"The Beautiful One" (not the Tim Hughes' song, but a Rock Music original) sets the lyrical template for the record. Rather than painting with broad and general broad strokes, "The Beautiful One" details the ways we have rebelled against God: "Take my cravings of flesh and lust and pleasures of pride/Make me Your servant, make me aware...." More instances of thoughtfully crafted lyrics come with "Break on Me." Countless are the numbers of songs that deal with the topic of Jesus as light. But with "Break on Me," the Rock Music goes into details of how the light of Jesus penetrates into the cracks of our lives that is extremely moving.
Never ones to keep Scripture on the fringes, the parable of the Prodigal Son gets a 21st Century reworking with the meaty ballad "Home." With the use of provocative language such as "unwrap these grave worn clothes," "Awaken" has echoes of the story of the raising of Lazarus that is pulverizing. If you are looking for a worship album that gets into our thoughts and hearts and stays there, check this album out.