Prime Cuts: The Power of the Blood, Spirit & Truth, Singing the Walls Down
Overall Grade: 5/5
Bethel Music's Sean Feucht's "Wild" is described as a missionally-inspired endeavor. Whilst many worship records are mostly centered around God and the local church, Feucht takes a further step in crafting songs detailing God's overarching salvific plan for the world ( "Till The Whole Earth Looks Like Heaven"), God's love for refugees ("Still Will I Love"), and how God motivates us to be his heart and hands ("Heart and Hands"). But this isn't just a mere attempt to corner a new sector in the genre and neither is Feucht a mere charlatan. Rather, Feucht himself is a missionary who has lead worship in uncharted regions of the world, from war-torn areas in Iraq to the underground church in China. To be even more precise, Feucht travels to 20-30 nations per year planting furnaces of worship and prayer, training, mobilizing, leading worship and speaking.
Just as Feucht doesn't place geographic markings in the places he serves, he doesn't limit his team of co-writers on this record. Rather, reaching Down Under to Hillsong Church, on this record, you will find Feucht writing with the Who's who of Hillsong music. This includes Brooke (Fraser) Ligertwood, Benjamin Hastings, Dean Ussher, Ben Fielding, Scott Ligertwood, and Aodhan King. On the home tuff, he has luminaries such as Chris Tomlin, Jason Ingram, Pat Barrett, Brian Johnson among others. With such a cohort of international scribes, the songs sure do not disappoint.
Hillsong's matriarch Brooke (Fraser) Ligertwood gets to co-write two entries and both of them are stellar. Don't let the innocuous titular "Power of the Blood" distract you. "Power" bears all the excellence of a Ligertwood composition with its well thought out poetic lines and its anthemic chorus. "Singing the Walls Down" another cut that benefits from Ligertwood's penmanship is a follow-up to Ligertwood's "Hosanna." While "Hosanna" speaks of the coming King, "Singing" further expounds on the work of the King in breaking strongholds in hard-to-reach places. Dean Ussher who co-wrote Hillsong's "O Praise the Name," co-writes the moving ballad "Spirit & Truth." Prided for the song's simplicity in terms of its melody and lyrics, this song shows you don't really need to invest the wheel to draw hearts to worship.
"There's a Name" (co-written with Brian Johnson) is the type of worship ballad Bethel Music excels in. Pensive, congregational and Jesus-centered, this song will become the future soundtrack of countless worshipping churches. "Praise is the Highway," also recorded by the song's co-writer Chris Tomlin, has a prophetic aura to it. Denouncing the idols that stand in the "highway of praise," this song is bold, calling to mind the ministry of John the Baptist in the Bible. On the other hand, "Heart and Hands" is an intricate prayer for God to break our hearts to have "compassion on the ones you made." Not many worship songs do address the interaction of worship and social issues. Filling in this lacuna with helpful dividends for the church is "Still Will I Love," which hits the refugee issue right at its head.
"Wild" in many ways live up to its titular. On one level, Feucht's shows no boundaries in choosing his co-writers. The international scope of his co-scribes gives this album a more diverse and a more mature perspective on issues that are cynosure to the faith. On another level, the lyrics of the songs show that worship is not just confined to air-conditioned churches with spotlights and comfortable chairs. Rather, even in the streets of war-turned countries and the stuffy corridors of underground churches, God is still breaking strongholds when his people raise their voices in worship.