For her latest independent project, Audrey Assad made an album of hymns.
I’m very big into funding artists that I love from before they even start making the music. Whenever I get the chance, I put some money down, even if it’s only $10. However, I found out about this campaign pretty late in the process, so I wasn’t around for any of the voting that took place. Also, I got to it too late to put more money for some of the cooler rewards (simply because, by that time, I didn’t have any more cash to spend).
But I’ve always loved Audrey Assad, so I put money down knowing that the album was going to be awesome and I would love it.
I wasn’t wrong.
That follows this isn’t a formal review – it’s more of my reaction to hearing the album during the first week. It’s a breakdown of each song and what I thought of them.
Ubi Caritas – because Latin
Christ’s love has gathered us into one.
Let us rejoice and be pleased in Him.
Let us fear, and let us love the living God.
And may we love each other with a sincere heart.
Where charity and love are, God is there.
As we are gathered into one body,
Beware, lest we be divided in mind.
Let evil impulses stop, let controversy cease,
And may Christ our God be in our midst.
Where charity and love are, God is there.
And may we with the saints also,
See Thy face in glory, O Christ our God:
The joy that is immense and good,
Unto the ages through infinite ages. Amen.
It’s a really nice song, with interesting drums that make it feel pretty big.
Holy, Holy, Holy – because nostalgia
I think I sang this song when I was a kid because I recognized it. I was surprised to find that I knew a lot of the words without even having to think about it. After a few listens, I actually started listening to them.
Be Thou My Vision – because hymn
There’s something about hymns. They’re very dense, lyrically, but they follow a very simple cadence that makes them pretty easy to sing along with. However, when you actually pay attention to what you’re saying, it’s almost like, oh, so that’s what this song is about. That’s pretty deep.
I Wonder as I Wander – because interesting
This one was a little creepy to me at first.
Musically, it’s very short, but also very interesting. That’s the only word I can think of right now.
How Can I Keep From Singing – because true
The first time we’ve heard a guitar thus far? I think so.
I like the way she sings songs, even ones that she hasn’t written herself. There’s a level of honesty in her voice, almost as though she’s walking the line between believing what she’s saying wholeheartedly and singing it until she believes it. That’s a fine line to walk, but it’s one that I’ve been listening to her walk since her first album.
Oh, The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus – because I can’t remember this one
The only thing I can say is that, while it was true, I couldn’t recall it instantly.
However, upon listening to it again, I realized that this was one of the songs that I enjoyed very much. The chorus was nice and I cannot imagine listening to anyone other than Audrey Assad sing it.
Those strings were a perfect fit for this song, hiding out there in the background, highlighting the calm piano that carried the song.
Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet – because wandering
Oh. This one sounds a little like “I Wonder As I Wander”.
This confused me until I saw a picture that Audrey Assad posted on the pledge music page many months back. The essence of the post was to show how the album was organized: the first few songs were under the heading “Birthright”, then “Wandering”, “Revelation”, and then “Inheritance”.
This song comes at the end of “Wandering”, which is why it would sound similar to “I Wonder As I Wander” – it’s about wandering, also.
And, lyrically, it’s true and an interesting concept to think about. People like to forget that God loves them. And he won’t let them go.
New Every Morning – because scripture
This is one of my favorite songs on this album. I really enjoy the soft piano in the beginning.
And because of John 1:1. It’s a wonderful thing to be reminded of.
Also, I like it because it’s talking about beginnings and it draws from Genesis, John, and Revelation, which is cool, because it’s almost book ending the Bible. Beginnings and Ends are hard to pinpoint, because the End of the Bible marks our beginning in Eternity. But there is no end to the Bible because it’s the living, breathing, Word of God.
I like this song because it’s true. God’s mercies are new every morning. Regardless of anything we could ever do. I think that’s the point of this song. That God’s got his plan and he is who he is, and we could never do anything to change that.
Listen to this song. It’s really nice.
It Is Well With My Soul – because gang vox
This one is a classic.
I can’t get the first line out of my head. I’ve heard it sung by other people before. But the way Audrey Assad sings anything is special and will always be my favorite version.
Also, people like to quote this song nowadays, like it’s all good, but it’s actually a song about being okay during difficult times. That’s not something everyone can say.
Those background vocals in the second chorus and beyond. Their voices sound like they’re singing in a cathedral, which is fitting. This album is supposed to be music for the church, music that doesn’t have a denomination or whatever you call the fragmentation that is Christianity. The chorus of voices at the end, tossing back the lyrics, reminds us that, as Christians, we believe in a savior that died and rose again to pay the price for our sins.
Even Unto Death – because awesome
Audrey Assad wrote this song as a reflection of what she would say if she was about to lose her life for Christ.
I really like the chorus of this song. It’s very repetitive, but it catches in your head for interesting reflections throughout the day. That sounds weird, but you know what I’m talking about.
When I watched a video of her singing this song on YouTube, I knew it was going to be one of my favorites. And I was right.
This is something that people want to say, and, for those of us living in America, there is no “even unto death”. We don’t live in a society that kills Christians like they do in other countries. But if we did, this is the prayer we want to be on our lips.
Abide With Me – because inheritance
This is the last song, so it’s back to the hymns. But it’s not a disappointment. This is another song in the vein of “It Is Well”, asking God to abide with us in the midst of everything.
The ending of this song, musically, plays the same melody as “Ubi Caritas”. Mind equals blown.
We’ve arrived at the end of the album. We have just completed a musical journey that was meant to turn our hearts to our Creator. And, oh, did our hearts turn.
I thoroughly enjoyed this album. It’s some good worship music, which is something that we don’t seem to be lacking, but, if you think about it, we are probably lacking more than we think.
In a lot of modern worship albums, you only get one or two slow, contemplative songs, and they’re designed to make you cry and feel emotional, even if you don’t know what you’re singing about.
I’m not saying that music can’t create an environment for worship: I play in a worship band, where we do that every week. But it’s supposed to create space, not fabricate, which happens all too often in church services.
This album is none of that. It’s familiar, but it’s fresh, honest, and it provides the space for you to contemplate, pray, and worship God in a way that a lot of music these days isn’t doing. And it does it by reaching back into the past to speak into the future.
Simply put: I loved this album and every time it ends, I’m left wanting more.
So, now that you’ve read this article, hopefully you’ll give the album a listen. Once you’ve heard it, leave a comment below and we’ll talk about it.