Prime Cuts: God's Great Dance Floor, You Are My Salvation, Grace
One of the saddest events in 2009 was the demise of Delirious(?). Dearly missed is the band's bifocal ministry: not only have they given us their English brand of worship pop rock anthems (such as "Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble?" and "History Makers"), but Delirious(?) was also on the forefront in marrying worship and social justice. Worship is never the genuine article unless the Risen Christ moves beyond our lips to our hands to help the poor. Despite going their separate ways, Martin Smith has never abandoned this duo-emphasis ministry. He has been heavily involved in the CompassionateArt ministry while also releasing a duet album with Jesus Culture "Live in New York" last year. On his own, Martin has had released four EPs. Now, Smith has decided to consolidate these four EPs into two full length albums "God's Great Dance Floor: Step 01" and "God's Great Dance Floor: Step 02," both of which have been released last year. As if such permutations were not enough, now Integrity Music have lifted 6 songs out of "Step 01" and 8 songs out of "Step 02" to form "Back to the Start." This means there are absolutely no new songs on this disc and if you already own the first two steps, there's no need to squander your money for what is not a new step in Smith's worship dance.
Despite the title, "God's Great Dance Floor" is not a mindless party song. It is a song about healing and spiritual transformation from despair to hope. Thus, the slow start to its propulsive ending is most appropriate as it sonically details this transformation. Ballad lovers will have much to rejoice here. "Waiting Here for You," a track that both Christy Nockels and Jesus Culture have esteemed enough to cover, is a modern worship ballad. The Adele piano introduction with Smith singing softly on this tune about pausing to enjoy God's presence certainly steps on the brakes for us in our fast paced world to worship. Latest single "Emmanuel" is not imbued with the usual Christmas schmaltzy of bells and strings. Rather, "Emmanuel" borders on the expected modern worship flair of crashing guitars and pounding drums. When it comes to "Great is Your Faithfulness," rather than revamping the old hymn of the same title, co-writters Smith and the aforementioned Matt Redman have used this Thomas Chisholm chestnut as the song's lyrical seed hook before building new words and a glowing beautiful melody around it.
Co-writing with Smith on "You Are My Salvation" is none other than Hillsong's Reuben Morgan. Not only is Morgan responsible for crafting some of the Australian mega-church's staples such as "Mighty to Save," "Cornerstone" and "Christ is Enough," Morgan rarely writes outside the Hillsong repertoire. So, it is genuinely a treat for him to grace us with "You Are My Salvation." Featuring a funky drum machine, "You Are My Salvation" like many of Morgan's compositions starts off in an understated bluesy-balladry demeanor. Just like scaffolds are added one layer at a time various instruments are then progressively added before the chorus explodes in a declarative way exalting the fact that it is only in Jesus we are saved. If you are ever at a time when you feel like all your strength is gone and all you have is Jesus Christ, "Grace" will minister to you so passionately especially when Smith sings: "I'll be a fool, for the king of love/You gave me wings so I could fly, you gave me a song to color the sky/And all I have is all from you/And all I want is all of you."
Dancing with God has never been sweeter than in such grace-filled moments. So, do yourself a favor, throw off your sneakers and put on your dancing shoes. Let's learn to dance before God with a faith-filled trust that regardless of our circumstances we will always choose to move in joy for Him. And let Martin Smith's latest release provide the soundtrack and the dance steps as we worship Him with our feet and our hearts.
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