Friday, October 7, 2011

Album Review: "The Love In Between" by Matt Maher

Genre: Worship/Pop
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Matt Maher is famous for his worship songs “Your Grace Is Enough” and “Christ Is Risen.” He has also co-written songs with other big-name artists such as Chris Tomlin in “I Will Rise.” In his third studio album with Essential Records, Matt uses a pop music genre, similar to that of his 2010 hit single “Hold Us Together” from Alive Again, in many of his songs. However, some of his songs still retain the worship music that he is known for. This is obviously a new feature in Maher’s career, and it poses the question of whether it will improve or worsen his music. The question was easily answered for me as I found his new album to be quite a success.

The record begins with “Rise Up,” an upbeat song of encouragement. Matt sings that when we are feeling down we need to “rise up” and realize the love that God is showering down on us, saying in the chorus, “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the love that’s here and now.” Coming second on the album is the first radio single “Turn Around” which contains very a similar feel as “Hold Us Together.” It is a really fun song that encourages everyone who is experiencing hardships in life to
“turn around” and find hope in the Lord. In the second verse, Matt mentions that some people turn to alcohol and drugs to relieve their pain, but all we really need is God’s love to heal us. “You don’t need to move/ Love has come to you/ All you gotta do is turn around.”

Matt Maher requests from God in “Heaven Help Me” to help him to not just act in a good, Christian way because of rituals but to actually mean it. “Every Little Prison” talks about the “prisons” we find ourselves in such as wanting to be praised and looked highly upon. From this pride and other sins, Matt asks the Lord for deliverance. This is followed by the song “Woke Up In America” which Matt describes as a song being “really about the story of the individual as an allegory for the story of a nation and its struggle to find freedom and identity.” He was inspired to write the song after coming to America from his hometown in Newfoundland, Canada. He sings “I woke up in America/ For the love of God/ I woke up in America/ For something bigger than myself.”

“Heaven and Earth” is a much softer song in which Matt sings that God is all he needs in life. He then sings about God’s love in “Write Your Love On My Heart.” The song is about Matt asking the Lord to remind him of His love whenever he is in doubt and struggling spiritually. In the verses of “On My Way,” Matt Maher asks questions like “Can a rich man work to save his soul?” and “Can a dead man come back to life?” He then sings in the chorus that we cannot reach heaven on our own. Matt then talks in “New State Of Mind” about the change he received after coming to know Christ. “My Only Love” sounds like a song of a father talking to his child, saying that he will be there for the child whenever the child needs him. Obviously, this can be seen as God speaking to us and reminding us that He is always with us.

The second to last song “Everything And Nothing” has a pleasant tune and again is about the love of God towards us. Closing the album is “The Spirit And The Bride,” inspired by Revelation 22:17 that speaks of the coming of Jesus and reads: The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life. As Matt Maher said in an interview, the people in the church can be hypocritical and sin, and God sees all that; “And yet we are still invited to say ‘Come, Lord Jesus.’” The bridge is beautiful, featuring Matt and backup vocals proclaiming, “Amen, Come, Lord Jesus! Come again!” It gives such a good feeling to the listener and provides a strong ending to the album.

The Love In Between brings up the topics that many Christians are going through today: suffering, doubt, pain. However, Matt Maher reminds us that there is Someone who cares about us, that we do mean something, and that there is hope. Through this album, Matt talks about the Lord’s great love and how we can always find refuge and a Savior through Him. With encouraging lyrics and a great combination of pop and worship music, The Love In Between is a solid record that will not disappoint Maher fans and is sure to delight Contemporary Christian Music listeners as well.
Top 3 Songs:
  1. Turn Around
  2. Rise Up
  3. Write Your Love On My Heart
  1. Rise Up
  2. Turn Around
  3. Heaven Help Me
  4. Every Little Prison
  5. Woke Up In America
  6. Heaven and Earth
  7. Write Your Love On My Heart
  8. On My Way
  9. New State of Mind
  10. My Only Love
  11. Everything and Nothing
  12. The Spirit and The Bride

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