Prime Cuts: Engraved, Never Let Me Down, Mercy
Overall Grade: 3/5
Worship albums nowadays are a dime and a dozen. Every sizeable church with a significant budget and congregation numbers will want to put out a worship album annually. To further add anonymity to the issue, many of these albums sound similar with predictable executions and with the recycled tropes of cliches. Even their album covers look identical. They usually try to keep the album artwork as nondescript as possible ala Mosaic MSC's latest release. However, what sets Mosaic MSC's "Heaven" is that they have moved away from the rock based template of most worship records. Rather, they have made "Heaven" more electronic with sparser use of electric guitars, an increase prevalence of electronic loops and more distorted vocals. Though not entirely innovative, at least the sound is more distinctive.
Helmed by worship pastor Mariah McManus and the electric production of Chad Copelin (Kelly Clarkson, Sufjan Stevens), Mosaic MSC explores the issue of how heaven breaks open to us through Jesus in this seven-song album. In sync with this celestial theme is the ethereal-sounding "Mercy." With mysterious swirling electronic beats over a slow beat ballad, "Mercy" exalts Jesus for how he has reached out to us. Lyrically "Never Let Me Down" is pretty nondescript. But it is made up by its stellar "heavenly" production that is airy and atmospheric.
"Engraved" is pretty experimental: the slow build up into an explosive chorus with the use of all kinds of electronic sounds is quite impressive. "Eyes On You" and "Voice Memo" showcase how the team deals with ballads. Structurally diffused with a more nebulous melodic progression, they are the type of songs you get from many folk singer-songwriters except that they have imbued them with elongated electric programming. However, here lies the problem: if these songs are written for the church to sing, how can smaller churches without all these technical gadgets ever sing them? And with such diffused melodies, how can the average congregant singalong to them?
If this album were graded purely on innovation and trendiness, this album will pass with honors. But if this album were to be judged as a worship record for the church to sing, the grade is seriously discounted. Not too many of these songs are congregational friendly and the lyrics (in most cases) are pretty pedantic.