Prime Cuts: His Heart Beats, Maybe Next Year, Is He Worthy?
Overall Grade: 5/5
Perhaps Star War was Andrew Peterson's muse. When the popular movie franchise decided to release the fourth instalment ahead of its three prequels, Peterson follows suit. In 2008, Peterson released "Resurrection Vol. 2," only to have fans wait for a mere ten years before the two prequels were released. This year, Peterson released "Resurrection Letters: Prologue" on February 8th. A little over a month later, "Vol. 1" arrives. As the titular suggests, "Vol. 1" is a 9-song collection that centers around the last week of our Lord's final week before his death and resurrection. Being a thoughtful writer who invests equal portions of richly textured poetry and red-blooded emotions, this is the perfect soundtrack to experience Holy Week in its three-dimension vividness.
Peterson wastes no notes and words. Without any gallantry, he brings us directly to a Savior in the tomb with the opening song "His Heart Beats." Describing breath by breath, heartbeat by heartbeat, how our Master comes back to life on resurrection day, we can't help but feel tears of joy flowing down our cheeks. And when Peterson sings the chorus of the hymn "Crown Him with Many Crowns" midway through the song, we can't help but worship along. While "His Heart Beats" looks at the resurrection from the vantage point of human beings, "Is He Worthy" looks at the same incident from heaven's vantage. Inspired by a careful exegesis of Revelation 21, we get a heavenly glimpse of Jesus' triumphant in one of the best written worship ballads written this year.
Inspired by his recent visit to the Western Wall and a line from "Fiddler on the Roof," "Maybe Next year" is a wistful yet plaintive reflection of how many Jews are still waiting for the Messiah year after year. Fans who love Peterson's folkish -pop leanings will adore the poetic "Risen." The songs here are not only literate and a treasury of great spiritual insights, they are also extremely melodious. Those who like a jazzy bounce injected into Peterson's signature country-pop acoustic sound will be prancing around with "Remember and Proclaim"---- one of the very few celebratory communion songs out there.
Too often songs about the cross do not tell the full story of salvation that cumulates with the second coming. Producer Ben Shive's "Remember Me" is a stellar example of one that goes the nine yards. Pile with scripture after scripture, image after image, the song crescendos with a glorious (and Biblically) picture of Jesus coming with his army that is just breathtaking.
If you are tired of the over-simplistic and cliche driven platitudes of contemporary worship out there, "Vol. 1" is a wonderful alternative. Grounded in lyrics that are birthed after serious reflections of Scripture and strapped with melodies that are haunting beautiful, this is definitely a 5-star record not to be missed.