Prime Cuts: Be Still, WaveWalker, Love is a Lion
Overall Grade: 2.5/5
This album is mis-tilted. To dub "love is a lion" denotes that the album presents God's love as bold, adventurous, valiant, audacious and even dangerous. But none of these words can be used to describe these 10 new songs. Save for a couple of them, most of these tracks are anaemic, cliched, and they have been done before. There's nothing wrong with being green: recycling does have its benefits if you can inject a new twist or perspective into a well-worn theme or melodic structure. Unfortunately, for most of the songs, Citizen Way is too lethargic to make such investments. Google any of the song titles here ("The Lord's Prayer," "God You are Good," and "Mountains") and you will come up with half a dozen songs that all share the same titulars, thematic developments and underlying messages. This is the major problem with this album.
However, with the white elephant out of the way, this doesn't mean that there are no entries worth writing home about. Best among the selection is "Be Still." Despite Hillsong Worship, Bethel Music, Rivers and Robots all have songs that share the same titular, Citizen Way's contribution is a worthy contender as the best song in this "Be Still" song canon. A moving worship ballad performed with doses of heartfelt emotions, "Be Still" encourages us to rest in the Lord in times when "the world around us is crumbling and the chaos grows." The bouncy dance-centric "WaveWalker" is crisp, fun, and it doesn't belie the theme that our Lord is a miracle-working God.
Sonically, the rest of the album sticks to the current CCM radio template. You could easily substitute any other CCM artist and they would be just at home singing "Mountains," "The Lord's Prayer," and "Love Has Won." These songs are upbeat and engaging but they are also bland and forgettable. Most jarring is that they sound like 90% of what you can hear on Christian radio these days. Part of the cause for such anonymity is slothfulness. Listen closely to "God You Are Good" and you'll detect that it is a lazy spinoff of Bethel Music's "King of My Heart." Also, after the copious attempts to set "The Lord's Prayer" to music, do we really need another one? Come on, are there no other prayers in the Bible?
Save for a couple of aforementioned tracks, "Love is a Lion" doesn't sound inspired. It comes across more like a phone-in attempt to fulfil an obligation for a new record. The lyrics are at best contrived and recycled. The melodies and production are vanilla. Perhaps they should heed the lyrics of their title cut "Love is a Lion" and let the Lion take them for a real hunt.