Prime Cuts: Could You Be This Good, I Just Want to Worship, I Am No Victim
Overall Grade: 5/5
Kristene DiMarco has found her niche with album #4. While her first two albums adopt the coffee house singer-songwriter template where she didn't have much room to manoeuvre beyond her folkish whispers, her previous album "Mighty" leans towards the other extreme. "Mighty" as the titular suggests was as subtle as a sledgehammer. The live sound was more Kim Walker-Smith than Kristene DiMarco. With "Where His Light Was" stands astride between the thoughtful poetic of her first two efforts and the expressively grandiose sounds of her previous effort. Relative to "Mighty," the songs here have a greater definition with more developed melodies canvasing broader theological themes.
Though "Where His Light Was" is DiMarco's first album released under Bethel Music's imprint, she is not a novice in their repertoire. DiMarco's song "It Is Well" was featured on Bethel Music's "You Make Me Brave" (2014), as well as Christian radio. The fresh perspective of this timeless hymn grew a song impacting churches all over the world. Additionally, she appeared on Bethel Music's latest chart-topper Starlight (2017) where she contributed the track "Take Courage." "Take Courage" resurfaces on this new record, albeit a slicker and a more popish backing. DiMarco sets her breathy vocals to great effect when she delivers a spine-chilling acapella version of "Doxology." Though "Doxology" only clocks in at 18 seconds, her nuance, her cadence, and her Spirit-infused delivery are pulverising.
Though "Mighty" is stuffed with ballads, at the end of the day, they petered out in anonymity. This time around the ballads are the album's apex: not only are hooks more pronounced, DiMarco is more prophetic. With piano arpeggios akin to flowing waters, DiMarco declares God's unwavering love over the oceans of pain on the faith-filled "Your Love Stands Alone." In a culture where women like to play the victim, "I Am No Victim" is so prophetically countercultural. This is a faith declarative song where DiMarco proudly proclaims: "I am no orphan, I'm not a poor man/The kingdom's now become my own/And with the King I've found a home."
To prove that you don't have to reinvent the wheel to be affective, "I Just Want to Worship" prides on being simple yet when DiMarco places her vocals to the notes and words, there' something worshipfully riveting about the song. The title "Could You Be This Good" is not hyperbole, the song really is this good. Why? When you exalt the goodness of Christ as exemplified at the Cross you can hardly go wrong. Fans of more organic music may not like the auto-voicing given to DiMarco's vocals on the title track "Where the Light Was." Nevertheless, this is a stellar effort, a marked improvement over "Mighty:" thoughtful, worshipful, and to paraphrase one of the songs, could this really be this good?