Saturday, June 11, 2011

Album Review: "The Journey" by Stuart Townend

This album review is the first review I wrote for ChristianMusicReview.org! It helped earn me an official spot on the CMR Team as a reviewer (not just interim). Go here to read the review on CMR, and be sure to check out all the other reviews on the site!
Genre: Folk/Modern Hymn
Rating: 4/5 Stars

Stuart Townend is an English music artist who has written over 100 worship songs and hymns that have been sung in churches all over the world. His songs include “In Christ Alone,” “The Power of the Cross,” and “How Deep The Father’s Love For Us,” and he is considered a modern hymn writer. The Journey, Townend’s eighth studio album, contains a modern Folk style and is filled with Christian themes, particularly God’s great love for us.

After an instrumental of church bells, the album kicks off with “O My Soul” which immediately introduces the listener to the folk genre of the album. All five verses and the chorus speak of God’s strength and great love. In one of the verses, Townend sings “When I wake, I know that He is with me. When I’m weak, I know that He is strong. Though I fall, His arm is there to lean on.” This is just one example of how encouraging this song is. “By Faith,” a song co-written by Keith Getty, is about
walking by faith. As the song states, though we do not see God physically, “by faith we see the hand of God” and “we’ll walk by faith and not by sight.”

“Vagabonds” speaks about Heaven being open to all people who will believe. The following song “The Man Who Calmed The Sea” features Folk artist Ruth Notman and talks about Jesus, “the man who calmed the sea.” The lyrics contain descriptions of Jesus as well as stories of Him from the Bible. They begin with the time when Jesus calmed the raging seas and continue to His crucifixion. Townend’s rendition of the hymn “It Is Well With My Soul” may offend some listeners as it adds a new style to the music and contains a new chorus. After listening to it a second time, the new tune began to sound very good with the lyrics.

As many of Townend’s songs are, “The Perfect Wisdom” is also co-written by Keith Getty. The song talks about God’s wisdom and how He created everything and knows everything. His timing is always perfect and His ways should not be questioned. The final lines of the hymn say, “So through trials I choose to say, ‘Your perfect will in Your perfect way.’” The title of the next song, “Kyrie Eleison,” may confuse some, but it is actually the Greek word for “Lord.” The name comes from an old prayer asking for mercy from God, something that Townend repeats very often during the song. Ruth Notman takes the lead vocals in “Simple Living” which talks about being willing to give up wordly things to gain eternal life. It mentions the young rich man and the old, poor widow, both of whom Jesus crosses paths with in the Bible.

In the final few songs of The Journey, the topic of God’s love is again spoken of, beginning with “Everlasting Love” with a title that explains what the entire song is about. In “You Rescued Us” Townend sings that God has rescued us “out of the darkness and into the light.” God’s love never fails as spoken of in “Never Failing Love.” The “love passage” from 1 Corinthians 13 is quoted during this song. Finally, the album ends with “Christ Be In My Waking” which is a soft song asking God to be in our lives and with us every hour, from our waking to end of the day, from our sadness to our happiness. It creates a really nice ending to the album with piano and soft drums.

As Les Moir, the Kingsway A&R Director, said, “Stuart’s found his sound. It’s a unique form of contemporary folk that allows him to express all that wisdom and passion and truth.” The lyrics flow perfectly with the music and make the album both entertaining and encouraging. I think listeners will enjoy the songs featuring Ruth Notman very much, for she is a very good singer and when combined with Townend’s vocals, an amazing duet is formed! The famous Townend-Getty writing team is featured in many of the songs on this album, creating a highlight in each one. Whether you are an old or new fan of Stuart Townend, you will enjoy The Journey and will find it to be an album that’s main focus is on God and nothing else.

Top 3 Songs
  1. O My Soul
  2. Simple Living
  3. The Perfect Wisdom 
TRACK LISTING
  1. Call to Worship
  2. O My Soul
  3. By Faith
  4. Vagabonds
  5. The Man Who Calmed The Sea
  6. It Is Well With My Soul
  7. The Perfect Wisdom
  8. Kyrie Eleison
  9. Simple Living
  10. Everlasting Love
  11. You Rescued Us
  12. Never Failing Love
  13. Christ Be In My Waking
Review brought to you courtesy of Christianmusicreview.org. Go here to read the original copy of it.

    4 comments:

    Renee said...

    That was an excellent review, certainly worth earning a spot on the CMR team, if you ask me :) You have great review-writing skills!

    Justin Morden said...

    Thanks a lot, Renee! I find it really fun writing reviews and I'm glad you like them. :)

    Jesselyn said...

    You are a cool writer, Justin. I am so happy for you that God gave you the well-deserved official spot.

    Justin Morden said...

    Thanks, Jess! :) I'm so glad that God gave me the position as well.