Prime Cuts: The Goodness of God, Promises Never Fail, Drenched in Love
Overall Grade: 4/5
Bethel Music is firing on all cylinders for an ultimate victory with their new album. First, this album boasts a whopping 14 cuts led by a red carpet of some of the team's biggest names including Brian and Jenn Johnson Jonathan David, Melissa Helser, Cory Asbury, Bethany Wohrle, Sean Feucht and others. As if the list is not long enough, they have also brought in outside help from Molly Skaggs, Daniel Bashta and Harvest. Second, prior to the album's drop date, in order to maximise the album's exposure, they have launched not one but four singles coterminously. Third, at least half the record have already been worship favourites on various other releases prior. This means there will be already immediate familiarity with some of these songs, in hopes that this record will gather traction with listeners with quicker ease.
So, how does the album fair? Safe to say, this record is loaded with future as well as current worship favourites. Months before the album came into view, Josh Baldwin's "Stand in Your Love" has already been a hit on its own. Flexing his muscle of faith, Baldwin offers one of the most daring assault on fear with "Stand in Your Love." Those who already own Phil Wickham's latest album will immediately warm up to "Christ is Risen" and "Living Hope." Since both songs were co-written with Brian Johnson, it's no surprise that they resurface here. Frankly, Johnson's version of "Living Hope" overshadows Wickham's, thanks to Jenn Johnson who brings a veneer of passion to the song's second verse. To prove that he's no hit wonder, Cory "Reckless Love" Asbury contributes the second most popular song on his latest release, "Endless Hallelujah."
If you first missed Daniel Bashta's "My Resurrection," this is your redeeming opportunity. Utilizing the hymn "Nothing But the Blood" as the hook, Bashta's "Drenched in Love" is a celebratory boast about the accomplishments of the blood of Jesus Christ. Of the new songs, Jenn Johnson's "The Goodness of God" is in a class of its own. Powerful in its execution yet intimate in its lyrical unfolding, "The Goodness of God" shows that you can be bold and tender in worship. Newcomer Emily Rose' shows promise as she steps out in confidence on the faith-packed "Promises Never Fail."
Molly Skaggs' "Ain't No Grave" needs to be congratulated for deviating from the album's big stadium pop oriented sound. Though it's refreshing to find these guys touristing in Americana, the song itself ironically gets too busy and too cluttered towards the end. "How Great a King," "Every Crown" and "Victory is Yours" are all typical Bethel's power ballads. This means that follow a standard template of a slow start before mounting towards a percussion heavy chorus to boot. All of them are good but they are a tad formulaic.
Yes, this is a very loaded album in many sense of the word. The host of worship leaders is staggering. The songs, half of them, are already soundtracks of many worship services. And the other half will be. The sound is impeccable. But at times, the songs can also be a tad formulaic.