Prime Cuts: Electric Atmosphere, I Want Jesus, Move Out of My Way
Overall Grade: 3/5
In this age of Spotify and self-created playlists, it's rare for Millennials to listen to an album right through. Lest even to buy a full-length 10-track record. Keeping abreast with the latest trend of musical preferences, Planetshakers have decided to release EPs with more frequently instead. Such an indigenous move certainly have brought delight to fans. Nowadays, within a matter of months we are greeted with another new EP by this Australian megachurch group. "Heaven on Earth Part Two," as titular suggests, is the second release within the last few months.
Just like the first volume, this EP adopts the same template of 4 new songs with two uptempoes and two ballads. However, while the first instalment was recorded all across Asia, this current set is more modest. They are all recorded in the Hisense Arena in their home turf of Melbourne, Australia. The Hisense Arena park, where the world normally watches the Australian Open Tennis tournament and other prestigious international sporting competitions, was turned into a "house of worship" with the passionate new songs by Planetshakers Band.
To start off, it is important to say where Planetshakers have gone right. All these 4 songs are very timely, such that these are the types of songs that will minister to the Millennials of today, whether they are Christians or not. The well-crafted melody of a song like "Electric Atmosphere" immediately connects to those whose music diet is based on today's top 40 music. The borrowing of hooks from the 80s and the savvy use of electronic beats make "Move Out of My Way" extra cool. Speaking of gorgeous melodies, "I Want Jesus" is heartfelt and ranks with "Above All Other Names" as one of their better ballads released this year.
Though the songs are timely, but are they timeless? Will churches be singing these songs in 20 years' time? The lack of theological meat may discount the quality of the songs. "Electric Atmosphere" may be a party call to give glory to Jesus, but following Christ doesn't mean that you will always feel excited or "electric." All Christians will undergo times when they don't feel like raising their hands in swirling disco lights and blinding smoke. "I Want Jesus" may warmly bring us into worship but does it make us linger in Christ's presence? Besides some trite platitudes, the song doesn't say much about why Jesus is so good and why he is indispensable.
The lack of theological (and Biblical) depth is not the fault of the songwriters. Rather, this is a pervasive problem across many megachurches today. There's not much preaching that digs beyond the surface. Hence, songwriters are not equipped to draw insights from Scripture. Rather, today's love songs and our feelings have become their overwhelming muses; grab their lyrics sheet and judge for yourself.