Bethel Music - Tides [Review]
What do you get when a community of over 50 people have their hands on every aspect of an album? You get Tides, the new album from Bethel Music. What’s really cool, in my opinion, is that (according to Brian Johnson) the people we hear on the album are the regular, week-in and week-out worship leaders at Bethel Church. This is the real deal.
The production of the album isn’t the only area in which a community approach was applied. This album features a number of great songwriters and worship leaders: Brian and Jenn Johnson, Jeremy Riddle, Steffany Frizzell Gretzinger, William Matthews, Matt Stinton and Hunter Thompson. These seven voices bring us 13 great and diverse tracks on Tides.
The album kicks off with “Chasing You,” featuring Jenn Johnson. I’ll tell you right now that I think Jenn’s vocals throughout are the absolute highlight of this album, aside from the song craft itself. Bringing a high energy level and electronic backdrop, the vocal phrasing from Jenn is wonderful. The entire second verse is one of my favorite verses in all of modern worship right now. “From the moment I rise, to the moment I sleep, my affection is for you, and even as I dream, I want to know you, I’m after your heart.”
Featuring Brian Johnson, “Forever” is a great Easter anthem. While it sounds a bit more traditional in the arrangement compared to some other songs on this record, this would easily find a home in nearly any congregational setting.
Steffany Frizzell Gretzinger. If you know that name, you have high expectations, and “Letting Go” does not disappoint. This song is powerfully honest and transparent, acknowledging struggle, but encouraging us to leave our cares at the feet of Jesus. Lyrics like “Just when my hallelujah was tired, you gave me a new song” and “I confess I still get scared sometimes, but perfect love comes rushing in” resonate deeply. Oh, and Steffany’s vocal phrasing? Wow.
“I Can Feel You” is easily the standout track on this album. With a strong 80’s vibe (saxaphone solo!!), it’s nice to see some creativity in the arrangement and sounds on a modern worship song. Jenn Johnson’s vocals are once again absolutely stellar, and the message of this song is only heightened by the interesting sonic qualities. Whereas the first verse speaks to the doubt in life (“I am tired, I am weak…”), the second verse proclaims “Now hope is rushing through my veins…” What a cool lyric!
I am going a bit long here, but I have to mention one more . . . “Give Me Jesus” is an old tune, but Matt Stinton gives us a new twist. With a new verse and a re-imagined melodic treatment, this song incorporates a heavy electronic vibe to bring this older song to life in a pleasant and super catchy way. Good luck getting this one out of your head...
Through Tides, we are reminded that no matter what, we can count on God. According to Brian Johnson, “God is in control. Through the whole album, there’s struggle, there’s tension, but then there is a reminder that God is always in control.” Pair that kind of message with musical creativity, and we have a winner on our hands. Not every song is musically creative, but the few that are really hold the album together. And check out that cover art. Quite possibly one of the coolest album covers I have seen. I betcha that furniture was ruined, though...
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