Prime Cuts: He Loves Me All the Time, For the One, Who You Are
Overall Grade: 4.5/5
Kids album, secular or Christian, can be an insult to the intelligence. Not all kids think it is cool to prance around "Jesus is My Superhero." And not all kids get spiritually nourished by songs such as "Get Up and Dance." The downfall of a large swath of children's albums lies in the way they treat today's kids as monolithically naive and simplistic. In fact, these days, you will find kids as young as 7 or 8 years-old lip syncing to Taylor Swift's "Look What You Made Do." Give many of them a quiz on the hottest songs on the Billboard charts and many will ace with flying colors. Bethel kids now renamed as Bright Ones are wise enough not to be trodden into this pitfall. Rather, these 12 songs are theologically intelligent and sonically relevant.
Bright Ones is ministry formed as an extension of Bethel Music and Bethel Church in Redding, CA for creative talented youth and kids who love God and want to see His Kingdom expand through music, movement and multimedia. Their first album, Come Alive, released under the name Bethel Music Kids in 2015, with their EP Christmas Party (2016) following shortly after. Bright Ones' latest self-titled project is set to release Apr. 27. This eponymous album features both re-imagined (and youthful) takes of both covers as well as new compositions.
As for the originals, title cut "Bright Ones" is the mantra for the team. Inspired by Philippians 2:15 that God has called us to shine like stars, "Bright Ones" beacons out with faith as it encourages today's young people to step out to live like Christ. With a quasi-reggae undercurrent, "He Loves Me All the Time" not only can grab a hold of our ears but warms us to its message. "Magnetic" builds upon energetic melodic lines as trap-esque beats and large synth loops make this track live up to its titular. "Who You Are," co-written by Jenn Johnson and Hayley Johnson, calls to mind the Johnsons' "Mention Your Name."
The covers do not pale in comparison too. While Brian and Jenn Johnson's "For the One" was a slow & pensive ballad, their youthful counterpart has a sizzling electronica network giving it a new zest of life. Likewise, "We Dance" steps up the pace with fresh electric drum beats. Though they keep pretty abreast with the original with "No Longer Slaves," they have given "You're Gonna be OK" an EDM makeover. Arresting too is their take of the hymn "Take My Life and Let It Be," which they have re-titled it as "Let My Life."
Bright Ones' eponymous album is a fine collection that highlights the team's knack for reaching today's kids without embarrassing them or the name of Jesus. Moreover, this album also testifies to the versatility of Bethel Music's catalog. Not only are they made for adults to sing but they are also worship opportunities made for kids too.