Album Review: Marvin Sapp – ‘Christmas Card’

Artist: Marvin Sapp
Album: Christmas Card
Street Date: 10/22/13
Record Label: RCA Inspiration
Genre: Urban/R&B
iPod Pick: Home For Christmas (Feat. Joe)
Christmas albums tend to fall into a particular genre no matter what
genre the artist grooves in before making the album. In fact Christmas Continue reading

Tony Tillman ‘The Tillman EP’ Review

Tony Tillman found God in the back of a Police car.
However this is true for may other of Christian
rapper’s; lives of drugs, crime and immoral behavior
are often what they have been saved from.
‘The Tillman EP’ is the warm up to Tillman’s
forthcoming album and having never heard his
material before I was interested to know is his music
would stand out from the crowd of similar sounding,
mediocre Christian Rap be “just another Rap album.”
The EP starts with the melodic synth driven song
‘Tailored’ featuring Beckah Shae. It’s an
immediate attention grabber and the dynamics work
so well in drawing you into the song to hear it’s
powerful message, that we are “formed by the
same hands who made the stars. Fashioned by
the Creator, perfectly designed and tailored.
You are tailor made.” One line that really stood
out was “so thirsty for validation you don’t
even know you’re special,” which will relate to
the people the song is targeted at.
‘Hourglass’ took me back 15 years to a time when
Hip Hop was mellow, melodic and poetic. Featuring
Tedashii, Chad Jones & Rio, each artist adds a
different feel and texture to the song while reminding
us that time is not promised to us and that “this life
won’t last forever, and time will slip away.”
Tillman totally surprised me on ‘Psycho’ entering
the track with a double time flow bringing and
assertiveness, raw feeling to the track. Both Tillman
and Canon use this Trap styled beat to catch the
attention of the listener and bring the truth of the
Gospel to encourage salvation in the unsaved and to
enthuse the believer.
‘Heaven’ comes in 2 installments. A simplistic,
shimmering acoustic version, which will have you
swaying from side to side featuring Out Of The
Dust and a Traditional Gospel inspired piano led
version fused with classic Hip Hop MPC beat
production featuring brass and string arrangements
featuring Sho Baraka and Jordan Love. This song
looks forward to ‘Heaven’ and leaving this world
behind, “Cause waiting on my Saviour got all
my emotions mixed up. Anxious everyday
feels like I’m waiting on Christmas. They ask
why I’m in such a hurry to see the sun drop.
Y’all don’t hear that ambulance? Y’all don’t
hear that gun pop?”
The EP features a bonus track titled ‘Tillman’ which
seems to be a track, which introduces you to the
artist, which is great if you’re new to him like I am.
“And when the ask me to define Tillman, I
just tell ‘em, we’re just servants of the most
high God bro… We till the fallow grounds of a
man’s heart…”
‘The Tillman EP’ has done exactly what it was set
out to. When artist is gearing up to release an album
an EP normally serves as a way to wet the appetites of
listeners and create excitement leading up to the full
album and ‘The Tillman EP’ has done exactly that for
me. After hearing this EP I would go out and buy it.
There’s a wide variety of styles but the EP (for the
most part) is very melodic which makes it easy to
enjoy the songs without having to be a hardcore Hip
Hop/Rap fan whilst also appealing to Acoustic, Pop
and Gospel music lovers.
I did notice that every track other than ‘Tillman’ has
a featured artist. Looking at the track list and
number of featured artists without listening to the EP
would have caused me to wonder if Tillman could
hold his own, was a strong enough writer and a good
enough artist to deliver a solid project without using
other artists as a crutch. After listening I realised
that this isn’t the case and that his writing, the
versatility of his flow and his overall musical diversity
showcase great artistry.
As someone who isn’t hardcore into Hip Hop/Rap
but a lover of it all the same I was genuinely happy to
hear an EP that stands out from the crowd, that flows
organically and genuinely sounds like an expression
of an artist… If ‘The Tillman EP’ is the starter, I
can’t wait to get tucked in to the main course.
Track List:
Tailored (feat. Beckah Shae)
Hourglass (feat. Tedashii, Chad Jones & Rio)
Psycho (feat. Canon)
Heaven – Acoustic Version (feat. Out Of The Dust)
Heaven (feat. Sho Baraka & Jordan Love)
Tillman – Bonus Track

I Am TholhuGospel

ALBUM REVIEW: Tim Timmons Cast My Cares

Tim Timmons, Reunion’s newest artist, strives to invite believers about Jesus to become followers of Jesus through his own personal story. Tim’s story is not living with an incurable cancer, but it is his perspective through it. That message is passionately put forth on his label debut, Cast My Cares, out June 4, 2013. It’s a record filled with tender ballads and powerful anthems that speak profoundly to this generation. Timmons’ earnest and compelling voice on the first single, “Starts With Me,” spurs the intellect and moves the heart. Cast My Cares inspires an awakening within the church. Join the revolution.

01. It’s Your Revolution

02. Starts With Me

03. Cast My Cares

04. You Remain

05. Christ In Me

06. Let’s Be Beautiful

07. For Your Glory

08. I Will Follow Love

09. Great Reward

10. Holy Unafraid

11. Only One Standing

BEHIND THE SONG “Words” by Hawk Nelson

In many ways, Hawk Nelson’s sixth studio album, Made, reflects the journey the band has been on since Crazy Love released in 2011. Since then, the band has found a new label home with Fair Trade Services, longtime Hawk Nelson guitarist Jonathan Steingard transitioned into the role of frontman after Jason Dunn departed to begin his solo career, and the band of four is now a trio of him, Daniel Biro (bass), and Justin Benner (drums).

Biro, who founded the band 10 years ago, has grown with Hawk Nelson this last decade and believes all of the change has resulted in an honest and God-breathed product. “This time around,” says Biro, “we’re going through all of this emotional change, physical change, and God breathed some new songs that channeled all those feelings and doubts and emotions into these lyrics.”

As much change as Hawk Nelson has undergone in the last year, new lead singer Jonathan Steingard explains the DNA of the band is still the same. “We’re still that high energy band that a church or youth group would book if they want to have a fun youth night,” says Steingard. We want to take what we’ve been and not leave it behind, but grow it a little bit and hopefully be a lot more intentional about what we’re saying.”

I had the chance to interview Jon Steingard about their “Words,” the first hit single from Made.

Please describe the background behind the song “Words.”

It all started when our former singer, Jason, left the band about a year ago. We were on tour with MercyMe, and it was the last tour Jason did with us. We were trying to figure out what we were going to do as a band, and we were talking to some other singers and praying for direction.

Bart Millard from MercyMe pulled me into his dressing room one day and told me I needed to be the singer and why. He was really encouraging, and it was the first we had discussed the idea, so it was totally new for us. The total truth is that my mom had suggested it about a month earlier. I was like, “Mom, you think I could do anything.” Bart really took about an hour and sat me down and talked with me a while. That conversation changed the course of my entire life and our career as a band. Thinking about that was really powerful. What he did was speak into my life when it was really critical, and it changed everything.

We were thinking about that during the songwriting process. I wrote “Words” with Matt Hammitt from Sanctus Real and Seth Mosley, the producer on the album. The song is a product of a conversation I had with them, and it was a powerful moment. We were talking about how easy it is to forget how impacting we can be in the lives of the people around us just with our words. As the lyrics explain, “Words can build you up; words can break you down. / Start a fire in your heart or put it out.”

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Psalm 19:14: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.”

…Matthew 15:18: “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.”

James 3:9-10: “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”

What’s the main message of the song to you personally and for listeners?

We wanted the chorus to be a prayer that I want to live my life this way. I’ve seen the power that words have in my life, and I want to be sensitive to my words in dealing with other people. Also, sometimes as believers, whether in Christian music, or pastors, or anyone in ministry, sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in those things and have our families take a back seat.

We need to remember on a daily basis those people who need us. That person for me is my wife. The people close to us are our first ministry. That goes for all of us. Those were all things we were thinking about when we wrote the song. That’s also why we asked Bart Millard to sing on the song with us, since he was the one who got the whole idea started.
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For me, the chorus is a prayer and asking God for help. In Christianity, we can get caught up in behavior modification and what we want to do better. In reality, God’s interested in the condition of our hearts and our lives will flow out of that.

They’ve made me feel like a prisoner
They’ve made me feel set free
They’ve made me feel like a criminal
Made me feel like a king

They’ve lifted my heart
To places I’d never been
And they’ve dragged me down
Back to where I began

Words can build you up
Words can break you down
Start a fire in your heart or
Put it out

Let my words be life
Let my words be truth
I don’t wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You

You can heal the heartache
Speak over the fear
(Speak over the fear)
God, Your voice is the only thing
We need to hear
(We need to hear)

Words can build us up
Words can break us down
Start a fire in our hearts or
Put it out

Let my words be life
Let my words be truth
I don’t wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You
(Back to You)

Let the words I say
(Let the words I say)
Be the sound of Your grace
(Sound like Your grace)
I don’t wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You

I wanna speak Your love
Not just another noise
Oh, I wanna be Your light
I wanna be Your voice

Let my words be life
Let my words be truth
I don’t wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You
(Back to You)

Let the words I say
(Let the words I say)
Be the sound of Your grace
(Sound like Your grace)
I don’t wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You
(Back to You)

Words can build us up
Words can break us down
Start a fire in our hearts
Or put it out

I don’t wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You

“Words” really reminds listeners of the power of words and the need to “tame our tongues” from James 3. The tongue is capable of use for both virtue and vice. The same mouth uses the tongue for these contradictory purposes. James echoes Jesus’ emphasis on the crucial importance of the use of words in daily life. However, James’s predominant emphasis in the passage is more negative: warning that judgment is real and that we all stumble, intending that we should humbly repent of our impure speech. He dwells then on the potential for evil rather than the potential for good with one’s tongue.

This song and the new album, Made, will truly minister to anyone struggling with self-image. The message throughout the album is to know that you don’t have to be perfect; God made you the way you are for a reason. You are beautiful, you have something to say and you are worth it. This is a great brand new collection of Scripture-based songs and declaration-style anthems designed to inspire listeners to fight the good fight of faith. “Words” articulates what it means to live a God-centered life in a turbulent world.

The takeaway is that this is not something we can do on our own, and we’re not going to always succeed in these areas and be encouraging all the time. This is a daily prayer asking God to come and change our hearts and change our lives in such a way that our behavior and the way we live flows from God living inside of us as believers.

People typically remember songs longer than they remember sermons. I love when an artist can bring the truth of the Bible into their song and we can have it be part of our lives. We think that we can fix situations in our lives, and God reminds us that we can’t fix things on our own without Him. I love to sing this song at the top of my lungs and cry out, “I don’t wanna say a word / Unless it points the world back to You.” Amen to that!

Behind The Song “Carry Me” by Josh Wilson

Josh Wilson is a critically acclaimed singer, songwriter and storyteller with chart-topping hits and numerous industry awards. Now with Carry Me, his fourth project with Sparrow Records releasing April 9, Wilson opens up his heart more than ever. Sharing about a very personal health issue dealing with anxiety and panic attacks, his new songs ultimately spread the message that through life’s difficult trials, only God can carry us through it all.

Bringing all his musical influences to bear–pop, folk, rock, classical, hymns, and more–Carry Me paints a refreshingly relevant musical palate that frames its message beautifully. With a probing spiritual curiosity and imaginative, self-examining lyrics, the album solidifies Wilson’s place among the finest song crafters of his day.

In the midst of writing songs for a new record, Wilson began experiencing severe chest and shoulder pain as well as difficulty breathing, believing he was actually having a heart attack. Yet after numerous negative tests, he tried to get back to his normal life but soon began waking up frantic in the middle of the night, even canceling scheduled performances out of fear. Reconciling these unexpected emotions with his long-held beliefs defines Wilson’s intentionally joyful and honestly raw new record.

I had the great opportunity to interview Josh about his song “Carry Me,” the title track and current hit single from Carry Me.

Please tell me the personal story behind writing this song.

I had written and recorded 11 songs for this new album and it was finished–or so I thought. I was completely done recording, and had a talk with a good friend at the label about maybe recording one more song. That’s always a good idea, to see what comes out. I had a conversation about my exhaustion from the songwriting process and that I had low expectations because I felt spent in the creative process, but was willing to give it a shot.

I decided if I was going to write one more song, it would just be exactly what was on my heart. I didn’t have a whole lot of creative energy left to write a story that I wasn’t living at that moment. In the case of this song, it was quite literally on my heart.

I started writing with Ben Glover, and after 10 hours, we didn’t have anything. As we were about to call it a day, I came up with the guitar riff for “Carry Me.” I started singing the words, “I try to catch my breath / It hasn’t happened yet / I’m wide awake in the middle of the night, scared to death.” The first verse came quickly, and so did the chorus. We worked on the song for another few hours, and at first I didn’t like the song. I always have to sleep on a song, and when I woke up I really liked it.

Next thing I knew we recorded it, and the whole writing and recording of the song is the message of this song. I felt like I couldn’t do it on my own, and God was telling me He can. The prayer of the song is how it was created.

Please tell me about any Bible verses that you used to write the song.

Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

…Exodus 14:14: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

…and Deuteronomy 31:6: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”

What is the takeaway message for listeners about the song and the album?

Philippians 4 says, “Do not be anxious about anything…the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” I prayed for that and each day would say, “God, I can’t make it without You. I need You to carry me.” And He did, and He still does. He carried me through each day even before I experienced the anxiety, but I just didn’t realize it. It took these difficult moments for me to realize how much I need Jesus.

“Carry Me” is a simple, honest prayer for God to hold on to my fragile heart. All I can do in those moments is pray. Ultimately, this difficult season has caused me to rely on God’s strength to carry me through each day. I’ve been praying more often and more earnestly, and I’m thankful that coming to the end of myself has brought me so close to a Father and Savior who loves me and will never leave me. The theme of this song carries through the rest of the album.
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We need to rely on God’s strength in every situation. No matter what the circumstances, we need God to carry us, even when things are seemingly going well. We have this illusion of control over our lives when in fact God is Sovereign and in control. We constantly need Christ to carry us. I hope people take away the fact that God is bigger than our circumstances and He will carry us through for His glory.

I try to catch my breath
It hasn’t happened yet
I’m wide awake in the middle of the night scared to death
So I prayed God, would You make this stop
Father please hold on to me, You’re all I’ve got

Carry me, carry me, carry me now
From my sinking sand to Your solid ground
The only way I’m ever gonna make it out
Is if You carry me, carry me, carry me now
God carry me, carry me, carry me now

Jesus calm my heart
Come near me please
Lord don’t let these worries get the best of me
Oh I believe, that You’re still here with me
Cause You meant what You said when You said You’d never leave

Carry me, carry me, carry me now
From my sinking sand to Your solid ground
The only way I’m ever gonna make it out
Is if You carry me, carry me, carry me now
God carry me, carry me, carry me now

Carry me
God carry me
Carry me
God carry me

I’m at the end of myself
I know I’ve got nothing left
Feels like I’m stuck in the valley of the shadow of death
And I’ve been down here so long
I just can’t find my way out
Oh God I don’t stand a chance
Unless You carry me now
God carry me now

Carry me, carry me, carry me now
From my sinking sand to Your solid ground
The only way I’m ever gonna make it out
Is if You carry me, carry me, carry me now
God carry me, carry me, carry me now

Carry me now
Carry me now
Carry me now
Carry me now

Having previously enjoyed Josh Wilson’s hit songs “Savior, Please,” “3 Minute Song,””Before The Morning” and “I Refuse,” I have eagerly anticipated Carry Me. This album firmly establishes Josh as the premier folk-style singer-songwriter in Christian music.

Josh’s poignant songwriting is coupled with musical excellence as each song urges me to better see God. This album is sure to connect with all listeners who like catchy songs filled with truth and yearning for God. Josh invites you into his life in such an authentic and relatable way, you’ll feel like you are a lifelong friend after you hear this album.

Josh writes about themes that cause me to hang on every word he sings, especially “Carry Me,” which is a prayerful song that moves me with these lyrics: “I’m wide awake in the middle of the night scared to death, So I prayed God, would You make this stop, Father please hold on to me, You’re all I’ve got.” Finding God in my moments of weakness and relying on Him completely for my strength is what this song is all about.

We can all have confidence when we approach anything holding us back due to our fear. God tells us to not live in fear or shame or regret because we will find mercy and grace in the presence of God. Jesus is our High Priest and He will help us in our time of need. What an amazing truth that we can approach God with confidence and He’ll overcome our fears.

I love how Josh took a moment of personal anxiety and panic that he wasn’t being all that he is called to be as a follower of Jesus, and turned it into a prayer of surrender to God. We raise our hands to celebrate and in surrender. We can lift up our hands in confidence to God and know that His mercy is unfailing. His love is never-ending. He is our refuge and our strength. God’s ultimate will is not to bring affliction upon people, but to restore us so that we may experience His unfailing love.

This is a wonderful song of encouragement and prayer to ask God to break your pride, live redemption’s story, and move closer to who we’re meant to be in Christ. Allow God and His Holy Spirit to change you to be more like Jesus, and move closer to His glory.

The chorus of the song says it all, “Carry me, carry me, carry me now / From my sinking sand to Your solid ground / God carry me, carry me, carry me now.” God wants us to know that He’s faithful to complete what’s He’s started in all of us who’ve put all of our hope and trust in Jesus for our salvation. Amen.

The Afters Life is Beautiful Album Review

Having created huge waves with their 2010 project Light Up The Sky, chart-topping foursome The Afters will deliver their much-anticipated new studio album, Life Is Beautiful, on April 16. The 12-track project—the band’s 4th overall—comes more than two and a half years after the launch of their previous effort’s success—delivering two No. 1 hits (“Light Up The Sky,” “Lift Me Up”) and a bevy of film and television placements (New Year’s Eve, “The Biggest Loser,” “The Hills,” “Army Wives”). Joined once again by award-winning producer Dan Muckala (Backstreet Boys, Chris Tomlin, Britt Nicole) for eight of its 12 tracks, the new album draws inspiration from the encouraging promise that God is continuously with us and life is still beautiful no matter what challenges we face. The Texas-borne band—comprised of vocalist-guitarist Josh Havens, guitarist-vocalist Matt Fuqua, bassist Dan Ostebo and drummer Jordan Mohilowski—cites verse James 1:17 as a major source of inspiration for this album.

“Our hope for our record—and a lot of heartache went into this album—is that it will encourage people to see how God is working in their lives,” says Havens. “He’s not just there on the sunny days. No matter what we go through in life, God is still with us and life is beautiful—God is beautiful.”

Life Is Beautiful began with challenging questions the band members posed to themselves. “As songwriters, we never want to make the same album twice,” says Fuqua. “For us we try to go in asking: ‘What can we do that’s different? How can we stretch ourselves?’ It was intentional to be really honest with our audience, and to be honest with ourselves by sharing things that are personal and meaningful.”

The infectious lead single from Life Is Beautiful, “Every Good Thing,” is already being well-received at radio, jumping into the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot AC/CHR Chart, Top 20 on the Billboard National Christian Audience Chart and Top 25 on the Billboard AC Monitored and Indicator Charts. 75 stations are already on board for “Every Good Thing” including K-LOVE, AIR 1, SiriusXM, KLTY/Dallas, KSBJ/Houston, KCMS/Seattle, The Fish Los Angeles, KTIS/Minneapolis, JOY FM/St. Louis, The JoyFM Tampa and KXOJ/Tulsa among many others. Commenting on the catchy track Havens says, “We wanted something strong, upbeat and positive. We were looking back over the last year and we were struck by how many times we’d wake up and see those horrific headlines in the news. We’re reminded every day of how many bad things there are in life, so we wanted to write a reminder of how much God is capable of doing.”

In addition, the album’s title track was featured in the 2012 film October Baby.


Maybe you are a mid-thirties hip hop guru and no
one can tell you diddly about the history of the
culture. Sure, you might miss a few of the forefathers,
but at least you can name Afrika Bambaataa and
Grandmaster Flash. Maybe you know a little bit
about Jesus, too, and are able to spell out the
Beatitudes like alphabet soup.
Fans of Andy Mineo know that he is a different kind
of rapper, one who embraces not only hip hop, but
rock and R&B, too. Many times, artists attempting to
cover so many genres become no more than cheesy
imitations. But when considering Andy Mineo,
thoughts are conjured of a young hip hop group from
Brooklyn rapping about Paul Revere – he has paid his
dues. Staying true and respectful to artform is no
easy task – Andy is, after all, “Young” (only twenty-
five at the time of the album’s release). But on his
first official retail album, the self-proclaimed nerd-in-
glasses rises to the occasion like Wichita State in the
Final Four.
Heroes For Sale is an album that does not come
without a great deal of anticipation. It has been
almost two years since the release of his free album,
‘Formerly Known,’ with only minimal releases
following it from Andy such as his Saturday Morning
Car-Tunez series. The album takes off with
“Superhuman” produced by Joseph Prielozny and
Dirty Rice, a production team most recently known
for their banger “All In” on the W.L.A.K. project. The
hymn “Come Ye Sinners Poor and Needy” sets the
stage for an extremely personable album, blended
seamlessly with a distorted guitar that lends to the
idea of evangelism even in the darkest of places.
“Even though my pride’s tellin me don’t ever let the
fans know / I am not a Superhuman, no, I’m a man”
– “Superhuman”
Similar transparency is portrayed throughout the
album on songs like “Bitter” as well as
“Shallow” (featuring Swoope). The former, originally
released as under Andy’s previous alias C-Lite, takes a
look at his relationship with his father. After
dedicating a good thirty seconds to a voice mail from
the estranged family member, Andy provides wisdom
like “If Jesus forgave me and washed away my sins
when I didn’t deserve it then I can forgive him.” The
listener may not have experienced an absent father,
but this short snippet immediately stirs up the “Love/
Hate” emotion. Forgiveness is at the song’s core,
intertwined with the desperate attempt to find it in
one’s heart after being so badly hurt.
Andy steps into the realm of heavy metal for “Wild
Things” and with the shift in genre comes a
dissertation on a subject rarely mentioned in
Christian hip hop. “Porn stars, dope dealers they like
‘Why you chill with them?’” Andy spits. His retort to
those who “want to be in earshot of the church bells”
and “say the wild things will eat you up” is that he
“walk[s] with the Paraclete.” The great secular/
spiritual divide has received a lot of attention over
the past year, but one subject typically left unspoken
is the call for the spiritual maturity of Christians. The
bible tells us to get off the milk and onto meat
(Hebrews 5:14), and one is wise to understand, like
Andy, that this is a slow and personal path.
“Uno Uno Seis” (featuring Lecrae) and “The
Saints” (featuring KB and Trip Lee) are Christian
anthems, speaking of the brotherhood of Christ. “Uno
Uno Seis” is reminiscent of eighties New York “Wild
Style” park parties – a feel-good track to tour with
that expresses the diversity of the church. Andy
comes with the slick flow “But you know we take it
international/ We finna follow anywhere the Master
go” and Lecrae absolutely kills it with bars like
“Might catch a plane to rep for my King Puerto Rico’s
on my checklist.”
Every hip hop album needs at least one song that
plays straight New York, and Heroes For Sale boasts
two. “AYO!” produced by J.R. is easily the album’s
most radio-ready track. Andy raps “From this life to
the one that’ll follow/Dudes gone vibrato at the
bottom of the bottle/Til they got their face twisted up
like Picasso/There’s another way to live!” By the end
of the track the beat has morphed into a bass heavy
intermission, sure to get hands up and side to side.
On “Cocky”, Andy enlists “DJs [to] treat [wack
rappers] like Mr. Miyagi and turn their wax off.” The
boom-bap track produced by Skrip has an echoing
vocal sample and a monotonous, Terminator-style
bass stab that indiscriminately leads to broken necks.
A shocking title at its core, Andy dispels ideas that
his confidence comes from something internal.
“Ya’ll know how to get it – encounters with the most
high. You don’t need to blow lah, come and get to
know Jah” – “Cocky”
The final trilogy of songs is an emotional roller
coaster – chains pulling from the low-blows of hurtful
words (“Still Bleeding”) and difficulties in
surrendering one’s “final god” (“Tug of War”) to the
insurmountable realization that one day Jesus will
one day “wipe every tear from our eyes” (“Death Has
Died”). On “Still Bleeding” we are given yet another
snapshot of a relationship that wounded Andy deeply.
Once again, it is unnecessary to know the
circumstances behind Andy’s situation – the pain is
felt, especially in the second verse where he digs deep
with bars like “It isn’t really what you said its what
you didn’t/ I left texts and voice mails you actin’ like
you missed ‘em.” A chilling track over cinematic
orchestration, Andy reminds us that one has the
power to kill with the tongue (Proverbs 18:21) and
that “Every memory’s a portal to the past pain/And
most of the time its caused by somebody with your
last name.”
On the Heat Academy produced “Tug of War,” Andy
examines the faith-decision every Christian must
make between sin and salvation. In his first person
narrative, Andy finds redemption with lines like “You
have to change me in my sin, I’ll never choose him /
my heart needs to see something greater than what
I’m pursuin’” and “Sometimes I believe the lie that
God don’t provide for his child when they obey. That’s
so Crae(zy).” Krizz Kaliko, a rapper in Tech N9ne’s
stable of artists, sings the haunting and sobering
chorus “back and forth like a tug of war / cause I
been fighting for control / fighting for my soul / this
is war.” The ministry from an artist to artist
standpoint that may get overlooked, is that the
Strange Music artist has made songs expressing a
desire to want to believe and live for God and this
could begin the pouring into what Tech & Krizz have
longed for so many years.
To be honest, I was a little thrown off by the intimacy
of Hereos for Sale – Formerly Known was nowhere
near as dark and personal as this album. Andy’s
transparency in his storytelling sometimes makes it
feel as though we should be all be interceding for him.
Married people especially might find this album a
little unrelatable, but maybe the reason is that, like
Paul, Andy expresses in his singleness, a message
from God that is without worldly filter or social
etiquette. If we are all honest, the sin struggle that all
Christians carry can make us a little less-than-
empathetic to others. If we are truthful, we realize we
are no better than our brothers and sisters. We are all
in need of grace.
What did the album lack? Although well produced,
the production at times feels a bit forced or
overproduced. And as with most albums, there are a
couple of songs that could have been trimmed.
Regardless, Heroes For Sale is one of, if not the best
album released in 2013 so far.
Pre-order on iTunes
1. Superhuman – Prod. by Joseph Prielozny and
Dirty Rice
2. Ex Nihilo ft. Christon Gray – Prod. by J.R. for
So Hot Productions
3. AYO! – Prod. by J.R. for So Hot Productions
4. You Will – Prod. by Gawvi
5. The Saints ft. KB, Trip Lee – Prod. by GROC for
Beat Mekanickz
6. Caught Dreaming ft. for KING & COUNTRY –
Prod. by Jeremey S. H. Griffith, Andy Mineo and J.R.
for So Hot Productions
7. Bitter – Prod. by Alex Medina and D-Flow (The
8. Shallow ft. Swoope – Prod. by 808 & Elite
(Additional Prod. by Joseph Prielozny and Andy
9. Wild Things – Prod. by Tyshane, ThaInnaCircle &
Joseph Prielozny
10. Take Me Alive – Prod. by Tyshane
11. Uno Uno Seis ft. Lecrae – Prod. by Alex Medina
(Additional Prod. by Andy Mineo)
12. Cocky – Prod. by Skrip
13. Curious – Prod. by TheBridge and Heat Academy
14. Still Bleeding ft. Co Campbell – Prod. by Andy
Mineo and Chris Morgan (Additional Prod. by Joseph
15. Tug Of War ft. Krizz Kaliko – Prod. by Heat
16. Death Has Died – Prod. by J.R. for So Hot

I Am TholhuGospel

Kerrie Roberts Time For The Show Album Review

It feels like forever ago since Kerrie Roberts
released the lead single from her sophomore album,
Time For The Show, “Finally Home,” to the radio.
Indeed, Roberts’ follow-up to her solid-but-ballad-
heavy (and, frankly, kind of depressing) self-titled
debut has been a long time coming (Having been
bumped from its July 10, 2012 release date to April
2nd of the following year!). But the good news is that
Time For The Show, at worst, is definitely equal to
her debut, and at best, superior to it in every way.
The one thing that stands out the most on this record
is Robert’s strong and unwavering vocals. Her
confidence in her own abilities sounds like it has
increased immensely and she is not afraid to belt out
notes that she never even attempted on her debut.
The music itself is very poppy and electronic, not
unlike mainstream radio pop, but I feel that her
music, usually, has a lot more substance than her
mainstream counterparts. In fact (and I almost
hesitate to use the comparison since she admittedly
has a ways to go before she reaches the brilliance of
these artists), I must admit that I was mentally
comparing her music, favorably, to Plumb and
Charmaine at times (particularly album highlight
“Not Real Yet,” which could fit seamlessly on a Plumb
album). Her message, however, remains unchanged,
and that is simply that we need God and we can’t do
anything without him. Her songwriting is solid,
honest, inspiring, and completely Christ-focused, but
she does tend to use clichés at times (most notably
“Sing” and “Masterpiece,” and a little bit on the title-
track and “Finally Home”), and one song, “Wake Up,”
is just too corny. But these instances are easily
counteracted by highlight tracks such as “Not Real
Yet,” the ballad “In Your Sight,” “Finally Home,” and
the quietly epic closer “Like Jesus Loves.”
I didn’t quite know what to expect after Robert’s
debut, but I can confidently say that Time For The
Show met, or exceeded, my expectations in almost
every way. This woman has some serious potential,
and I have a feeling that she is only starting to
discover it. I’m looking forward to her future releases,
and I will not be surprised if one of these days, she
actually is mentioned unhesitantly, in the same
breath as Plumb or Charmaine.

Record Label: Reunion Records
Album length: 10 tracks: 35 minutes, 25 seconds
Street Date: April 2, 2013
Buy It: iTunes
Buy It:
1. Time for the Show (3:28)
2. Sing (3:21)
3. What Are You Afraid Of (3:10)
4. Finally Home (3:43)
5. Middle of It All (4:00)
6. Masterpiece (2:47)
7. Not Real Yet (2:53)
8. In Your Sight (4:08)
9. Wake Up (3:11)
10. Like Jesus Loves (4:49)

I Am TholhuGospel

Track List & Production Credits for Lyrical Theology Part 1: Theology

1.Table of Contents
Produced by Die-Rek

2. The Hypostatic Union
Produced by Die-Rek

3. Active Obedience (with J.G. of iSix:5)
Produced by Demodocus

4. Exalted (Psalm 110) ft. Joint Heirs
Produced by Theory Hazit

5. The Holy Spirit ft. Timothy Brindle and Leah Smith
Produced by Braille

6. Regeneration Interlude w/ Alistair Begg

7. Regeneration
Produced by DJ Sincere One (additional production by Demodocus)
Cuts by Average Joe

8. Election ft. Willie Will
Produced by Demodocus

9. Cosmic Powers
Produced by Die-Rek

10. Fal$e Teacher$
Produced by Blessed Nazarite (additional production by Demodocus)

11. The Millennium
Produced by Theory Hazit

12. Take Up and Read Interlude w/ Anthony Carter

13. Take Up and Read ft. Through Hymn, Omri of iSix:5 and Ant
Produced by Demodocus

14. Theology Q & A (w/ Stephen the Levite)
Produced by JustWord

15. Sacred Science by Blair Linne
Produced by Demodocus

16. With All My Mind ft. Melissa T.
Produced by JustWord

Album Review: Jason Crabb – Love Is Stronger

Jason Crabb

Jason Crabb

Jason Crabb – Love Is Stronger
Producer: Jay DeMarcus, Wayne Haun & Ed Cash
Label: Spring Hill Music/Gaither Music Group
Jason Crabb has pretty much become a household
name in gospel music. His distinct vocals are
powerful, anointed and energetic. Jason won the
hearts of fans everywhere as a kid singing lead and
playing guitar with his family, The Crabb Family.
After a successful carrer as a family, they retired and
Jason began a solo career in 2007. Jason has many
awards and accolades to his credit. One of his biggest
is Artist of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year
awarded to him by the Gospel Music Association
Dove Awards last year.
Jason’s latest project, “Love is Stronger” is sure to be
a favorite among fans for a long time. Packed full of
powerful songs the project has a strong theme
throughout it: Love. Jason’s vocals are powerful and
spot on throughout this entire project.
It’s hard to just pick a few highlights but some
moments that truly stood out would be “That’s What
the Blood is For.” If this doesn’t become a new
signature song and a favorite in concert for Jason, I’d
be shocked. The song is powerful and Jason’s delivery
is heartfelt and flawless.
“Love Wins” is a duet featuring worship leader and
artist Kari Jobe. Jason and Kari’s voices blend
beautifully and this cut is truly magical.
“There’s Not A Crown Without A Cross” is another
great performance. Many will remember this from
back in the 1990’s when Michael English cut this and
then later The Martins. Bob Farrell and Geron Davis
penned this great song. Jason has Joyce Martin
Sanders and Michael English join him on this song,
and the three make a great trio on this arrangement.
“Let Mercy Hold You” is another great cut that, while
a different sound vocally for Jason is beautifully done.
The albums title cut, “Love is Stronger” has a
beautiful melody and is a song of hope reminding us
that life is tough but love is stronger!
The project closes with the beautiful, simple,
“Satisfied.” Jason shines on this, and it’s a change
from the big ballad sound we all love him for. But, it’s
a great way to close this powerful project.
There is honestly not a weak song on this project. It
has great songs, and Jason is at his best. It is a must
have for fans of Jason or fans of Christian Music.
Jason Crabb is an anointed man and musician and
truly God is using him in mighty ways.
Song List:
What the Blood Is For
Let Mercy Hold You
Living Life Upside Down
Love Is Stronger
There’s Not a Crown
God’s Up to Something
Love Wins

I Am TholhuGospel

Album Review: Collision Records – WLAK (We Live As Kings)

Over the past year no label or artist has made as
much noise in Christian Hip-Hop as Collision
Records. They are everywhere, and with good reason.
They exploded onto the scene about this time last
year with Swoope’s classic offering “ Wake Up.” From
there we were introduced to Alex Faith and Christon
Gray, and their stellar projects “ Honest 2 God” and
“Body Art.” By this time Collision Records was
becoming a household name. Then they signed Dre
Murray late last year, and that took the label to a
whole new level. Shortly after, they announced their
new album We Live As Kings would release March
2013 and dropped a stunning single “Imagine,” which
created a Reach Records type of anticipation to their
upcoming project.
With the Collision Records star shining as bright as
ever, they release their highly anticipated album
WLAK. This is a tough environment for Collision to
drop their group album, because anticipation is
always tricky to deal with. It can either elevate you to
super-stardom or drop you completely off of
everyone’s radar. Fans of the record label probably
don’t feel the latter because of the stellar resume that
the label has built over the past year. They shouldn’t
because Collision Records is a fantastic record label.
It’s ran by solid brothers and it’s artists are equally as
solid. So with a strong label and top notch artists,
WLAK promises to exceed everyone’s high
One Thing That Surprised Me
Like most fans of CHH I have listened to a lot of
music from Collision over the past year, so I didn’t
think there was anything they could do that would
surprise me. I was wrong. WLAK had beautiful
continuity and chemistry. I was surprised by this
simply because it is hard to do. Groups can work
together for years trying to get great chemistry. In
less than a year, Collision has developed a level of
chemistry like that of a seasoned group.
Chemistry is easily the most important aspect of a
group album. If a group doesn’t have good chemistry,
it’s very noticeable and can bring down the whole
record. In the same way, great chemistry can elevate
an album. WLAK was elevated by that chemistry.
Each song flowed well and nothing seemed forced.
They worked together to create a sound and direction
for the entire album. It wasn’t about individual
performances, but about working together to make
art. They used each artists’ specific skill set
beautifully on this record. All of those things aided in
making this record great.
Two Things That Made WLAK Special
Collision Records is a special record label. Unlike
anything I’ve ever seen in CHH. There are several
things that make them special but there are two that
have always stuck out to me, and continued to stick
out to me on WLAK. That is their lyricism and
creativity. There are a lot of strong lyricists and
creative artists in CHH, but none combine the two
with the excellence that Collision has. Those same
things that make the label special, made WLAK
Collision is made up of four of the strongest lyricists
in all of CHH. Individually Alex Faith, Christon Gray,
Dre Murray and Swoope have all made noise because
of their lyrical prowess. They all brought their A
games for this album. Each artist will leave you with
multiple jaw dropping moments. The double
entendres and metaphors that fans have come to
expect and love were also on display. The album was
also incredibly deep lyrically. There is enough
theology on here for a bible college student, but it’s
cleverly matched with the application so you never
get overwhelmed. Lyrically this record is nothing
short of amazing.
Collision isn’t just made up of some of CHH’s best
lyricists, they also carry some of CHH’s most creative
artists as well. That creativity shined all throughout
WLAK. It’s most seen in the song making. Each track
is like it’s own individual experience. Almost like a
movie, each track pulls you in, and you’re with them
in that moment. It then builds to a climax that will
leave you speechless, and by the end of the track you
are begging for more. Those small experiences then
turn into one fantastic experience by albums end.
This experience is created through amazing
production and each artists’ individual ability to fit
what they do to the song. There is versatility in
sound, flow and some clever lyricism that showcases
their dynamic creativity.
One Thing I Wish I Would Have Heard More
There weren’t many missteps on WLAK, it was pretty
much a perfect album. I enjoyed listening to every
second of it. But there was one thing that I wish I
would have heard more of, and that is Christon Gray
rapping. He did a lot of singing throughout the
record but he only had a few appearances as an MC.
One of the times that he blessed us with his MC skills
was on the track “Broken Kings,” where he spit this
“We’ve been battling ourselves like forever/ dog fight,
jackals with their tails tied together
all types of Christian churches and world views/ but
what about the church that the world views
they see a perils voyage into/ the dead sea with some
pear-less oysters”
This is exactly why I love him as an MC, but there
wasn’t as much of this as I hoped there would be on
this record.
Chris is an insanely talented MC with a lyrical ability
that is matched only by a few. I was hoping to see
him take that talent and run it instep with his label-
mates more often than just a few times on a 13 track
album. However unfortunate that was for me not to
hear it, it still wasn’t all in all a bad thing. Chris is
just as talented a singer and song maker, as he is a
rapper. He also provided exactly what each song
needed with his singing ability. Chris had a
phenomenal performance on WLAK. But because I’m
a fan of Christon Gray the MC, I wish I could have
heard a little more of that.
WLAK a Classic?
I don’t want to be the guy that goes around calling
everything an “Instant Classic” after a few listens.
Classics are built up over time, because a lot can
change as time goes by. So I’m not going to call
WLAK a classic right now, but I will say that this
record does deserve to have that question asked
about it. WLAK has all the makings of a classic
album, the only thing left to do is wait. If their prior
music is any indication then we won’t have to wait
long to add WLAK to the classic list.
Do you think that WLAK is a classic?

I Am TholhuGospel

NewSong “Swallow The Ocean” Album Review

Newsong has been a staple in the Christian Music
industry dating back to 1980, and along the way they
have seen no end of success, from being the founders
of the Winter Jam Festival even to the extent of
achieving a number one mainstream hit in the
holiday classic “The Christmas Shoes.” Enter Swallow
the Ocean, the 18th album studio release in the bands
history. Now, the debate between the respective
importance of ministry and artistry probably dates
back to before Alexander the Great, so I doubt there
is anything more that I can add to it that hasn’t
already been said. Anyone who is familiar with
Newsong knows that anything they give us is going to
be made with pure hearts and pure intentions, and
their message is going to be 100% fully Christ-
centered. For that, I applaud them and can fully
recommend them to those seeking an album with
those qualities. But 11 AC radio singles on one
compact disc that are designed to meet the lowest
common denominator for listenership does not great
art make.
In all honesty, the first impression that this album
gives is actually quite positive, and many might think
they will be pleasantly surprised. First of all, Swallow
the Ocean is a great title. The imagery there is great,
as is the concept behind it. Newsong’s multi-
instrumentalist Matt Butler said, “If we were to fill
the entire ocean with ink, and if we were to take pens
and try to write the love of God across the sky, we
would drain the entire ocean dry and still not even
come close to touching the surface of God’s greatness
and the bigness of His love.” Somewhere in this
concept, there is a really good album. Was this to be a
precursor to an original and praiseworthy new
project? Well, the opening song, “All I Need,” doesn’t
really raise those hopes, but it certainly doesn’t make
them crash and burn (was there actually some crunch
in that guitar in the hook?) Even “Choose to Love”
doesn’t dash all hope thanks to another catchy hook
and some more impressive made-for-radio
production. But by the time the title-track comes
around (that is, the track that theoretically realizes
the vision of the quote above), then all hope of an
original project is pretty much gone. In the end, this
album is exactly what could have been expected from
Newsong: approximately a dozen uplifting, made-for-
radio songs with straightforward and clichéd lyrics
heard on dozens of other worship releases set to
impressive production of unimpressive music mixed
with some catchy hooks.
God knows no one can fault Newsong for intentions.
In a way, they are merely doing exactly what they
need to do to reach the greatest number of people.
How can one possibly criticize that? But the ultimate
result from a musical standpoint is nothing less than
repetitive and tiresome. In a way, it is kind of ironic
(and, quite frankly, a little insulting) that the concept
behind the album is that even the ocean cannot
contain enough ink to write everything about God,
but the actual writing on this album is nothing that
hasn’t been written before. But the thing that is the
most bothersome is that Newsong is absolutely
capable of making truly great music. They have
enough budget, they have talented producers, they
have many talented instrumentalists, and I’m sure
someone in this 7-person group is a truly talented
songwriter. I dearly hope they realize that they have
made enough of the “same old same old,” and it is
time to move onto something new. It may involve
them stepping out of their comfort zone a little, but I
also know that God does not call us to live in our own
comfortable little world either. So please Newsong,
create for us a new song. I eagerly long to hear it!

Record Label: HHM Records
Album length: 11 tracks: 43 minutes, 49 seconds
Street Date: February 26, 2013
Buy It: AmazonMP3 (Deluxe Edition)
Buy It: AmazonMP3
Buy It:
1. All We Need (4:03)
2. Choose To Love (4:10)
3. Swallow The Ocean (Coming Alive)(3:45)
4. Never Be Another (3:31)
5. In Jesus’ Name (3:31)
6. Who Loved You First (3:52)
7. Every Victory (4:17)
8. Our Reward (4:01)
9. As It Is In Heaven (3:21)
10. Could It Be (4:28)
11. In Christ Alone (4:55)
Deluxe Edition Bonus Tracks:
12. Creator (3:52)
13. Only Children (3:42)
14. Furious (3:55)

I Am TholhuGospel

Hillsong “Zion” Review

Through the years, listeners have received multiple
offerings from the Australian mega church, Hillsong.
They have produced some of the most congregational
contemporary songs that are sung around the world
while also producing some of the most mundane
songs as well. However, after Hillsong United’s last
release Aftermath, there were some blazing
improvements that seemed to be signs of change.
With their latest album, Zion, there is not just
change, but a complete overhaul.
The album opens with the electronic-driven
“Relentless.” Musically, this sets the stage for the
entire album, which is a great thing, with the
synthesizer and bass filling every crevice of the track.
Vocally, Matt Crocker is at his finest and the
harmonies compliment his sound so perfectly.
Seamlessly, this transitions to the tribal yet militant
sounding “Up in Arms.” Lyrically, the song expresses
the believers’ response to the grace and beauty of
Christ. This theme is echoed in the songs “Stay and
Wait,” “Mercy Mercy,” “Heartbeats,” and “A Million
Suns.” But each track is distinctive in nature and
delivery, making them all very enjoyable.
“Scandal of Grace” introduces the soft sounds of
United as the acoustic guitar simply strums while
Crocker sings, “Grace what have you done. Murdered
for me on that cross… the scandal of grace, you died
in my place, now my soul will live.” It truthfully is
some of the most poetically sobering lyrics that the
group has written to date. “Oceans (Where Feet May
Fail)” continues with a more intimate tone and will
surely grasp the heart of the listener as the song
reiterates, “Spirit lead me where my trust is without
boarders, let me walk upon the waters wherever you
would call me.” The music builds and builds to a
gorgeous climax that will pull on your heartstrings
whilst being encouraged by the faith that only the
Holy Spirit can give.
An incredible highlight is “Love is War,” featuring
United veteran Jad Gilles. The track’s assertiveness is
excellent and bears a passionate chorus that is sure to
have listeners wanting to lift a clenched fist in the air.
Paired up with this track is “Nothing Like Your Love”
and the title track, “Zion.” Listening to them all
together, it feels as if they are just movements within
one large composition – which makes this portion of
the album that much more special.
The album concludes with another pairing of sorts–
think cheese and fruit–with “Tapestry” and “King of
Heaven.” The former delivers a more organic sound
that sings a simple praise of how delicate yet strong
the grace of God is and how it is weaved into our
lives. The latter and final track is a magnificent
conclusion to the album that sings of Christ’s tearing
of the veil between God and His creation. Either one
of these tracks could have concluded the album, but
I’m glad they chose the way in which they ended it.
As a special treat, listeners should skip buying the
normal edition and should instead get the deluxe
version. Tracks like “Arise” and “Mountain” offer
something outside the musical realm of Zion but fit
in well with the collection. Plus, the remixes are very
unique and creative.
Simply put, this album is pretty amazing. From
beginning to end, if you can’t find anything to like
then you probably aren’t sure what you’re looking for
in the first place. The production is so well executed
that, honestly, you might even question if you
purchased the right album because this ain’t your
old-fashioned Hillsong. If this album is the new
standard in “typical” worship music, or music in
general for that fact, then it can only go up from here.
Well done, Hillsong United, we tip our hats to your

Over their fifteen-year
recording history,
Hillsong United has
released a boatload of live
albums, most of which
sound nearly identical. But
they’ve also released a
couple of studio albums,
where they’ve shown
potential as a band of
musical artists. Their last
such album, Aftermath,
had this decidedly non-
Hillsong fan tipping his
proverbial cap a little, and
with 2013’s studio album,
Zion, the cap is tipping just
a little bit more. Where
Zion first earns points with
me is that it reminds me
quite a bit of Lovelite’s
latest album, In Three
Persons. Some 80s pop era
synth is used throughout,
combined with thoughtful
indie pop that makes it a
real treat to listen to. The
second set of points that
Zion earns is due to the
lack of any songs along the
lines of previous United
songs like “Go,” “Freedom
Is Here,” or “One Way.” No,
United admirably steers
clear of the fast pulse-
inducing, marshmallow
fluff tracks, replacing them
instead with smart
songwriting and a stronger
emphasis on worshipping
Jesus through art than
merely with nice words
about Him. Of course, the
opening track “Relentless”
may make a valid case for a
rebuttal of that statement,
but musically, the new
wave influence overpowers
the powerpop. Now, with
all that being said, this is
still Hillsong United.
Despite the different sound,
it’s easy to tell that this is
the same band we’ve gotten
to know. The beginning of
the album is especially
telling, but all throughout
Zion, we hear melodies and
lyrics that have fallen right
off of the Hillsong tree, just
in much less abundance.
The first two tracks,
“Relentless” and “Up In
Arms,” are the worst
offenders, but I use the
term very loosely, as they’re
still decent and listenable.
The highlights of Zion
include “Stay and Wait,”
“Nothing Like Your Love,”
“Arise,” and the deluxe
edition remix tracks (for
lack of a better term). If
you’re like me, and the only
United album you’ve even
remotely cared for is
Aftermath, you’ll want to
check out Zion. Not only is
it the best album United
has ever released, it’s one of
the best mainstream
worship albums I’ve heard
in a long time. – Scott
Fryberger, 2/16/13
Record Label: Sparrow Records / Hillsong
Album length: 13 tracks: 70 minutes, 16 seconds
Album length: 18 tracks: 96 minutes, 59 seconds
Street Date: February 26, 2013
Buy It: iTunes
Buy It: iTunes (Deluxe)
Buy It:
Buy It: (Deluxe)
1. Relentless (5:09)
2. Up In Arms (4:28)
3. Scandal Of Grace (4:06)
4. Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) (8:56)
5. Stay and Wait (5:13)
6. Mercy Mercy (4:41)
7. Love Is War (7:15)
8. Nothing Like Your Love (5:51)
9. Zion (Interlude) (3:32)
10. Heartbeats (3:53)
11. A Million Suns (5:06)
12. Tapestry (6:42)
13. King Of Heaven (5:29)
14. Arise (3:14)
15. Mountain (7:10)
16. Mercy Mercy (4:10)
17. Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) (6:59)
18. Stay And Wait (5:11)

I Am TholhuGospel

Plumb, “Need You Now” Review

From her early days leading an alt rock band to
crossing genres as a solo artist, Plumb’s Tiffany Lee
has nearly done it all. Her voice has influenced the
likes of Evanescence’s Amy Lee and brought her into
the dance club charts, while her songs have been
featured in TV and film (like Jim Carrey’s Bruce
Almighty), as well as become Christian radio hits.
Through it all, she also finds the balance between a
strong career and life as a wife and mother of three.
Perhaps then it’s no surprise that, except for a hits
record and a few new singles teasing the promise of
something new, things have seemed relatively quiet in
the past few years.
Nearly six years have gone by since her last proper
full-length release, Blink, and even that was a big style
departure, trading in edgy alt rock for gentle lullabies
and ballads. Rumors of new music have been buzzing
for a while, and after a title change and several
release date moves, her sixth studio album, Need You
Now has arrived as a return to form, an eclectic
mix of hooky pop and rock songs that present a
multi-faceted portrait of an accomplished artist and
a regular woman with a story to tell.
By the time the opening of “Invisible” rumbles in and
introduces her distinctive voice, it’s clear this is
Plumb back to what she does best: darkly melodic,
yet hopeful alternative rock. Or at least, that’s mostly
what happens. Need You Now shows off the different
sounds she perfected in her 2006 release Chaotic
Resolve. It’s all here: the raging rock grit of “Invisible”
and “Cage,” the ethereal pop vibe of “Drifting” and
“Need You Now,” and the playful romantic tunes
“One Drop” and “Chocolate and Ice Cream,” with
even a dance remix of “I Don’t Deserve You” for good
Even from the early days, her songwriting has never
shied away chronicling the darker side of emotion,
dealing with abuse, depression, and insecurities while
offering hope. The vulnerability that moved and
endeared her fans with songs like “Damaged” and
“Cut” continues, yet it feels even more personal this
time around. A highlight on this record is “Beautiful,”
a pop song with a bit of an 80’s vibe that examines
insecurities, the complex nature of marriage, and
wonder at enduring love that can still say “you’re
beautiful, so beautiful to me.” The theme is echoed
toward the love of God as well in “I Don’t Deserve
You,” a ballad inspired by the story of the Prodigal
Son (“And when I walk away / You take off running
and come right after me / It’s what you do / And I
don’t deserve you.”)
The radio hit “Need You Now” subtly references her
personal struggles with anxiety and panic attacks
(“How many times have you given me strength to just
keep breathing?”), while “Cage” makes a surprising
twist toward the end of the record and crackles with
emotion as it describes the struggle with failure and
depression. But balancing out the darkness is a
measure of joy, and “One Drop” brings one of the
most lighthearted moments on the record. With an
infectious pop hook and cheerful ukelele, the answer
is found in “just one drop of your love.”
Though it might seem all over the place on first listen,
it turns out that this record is a portrayal of life’s
complexity, all wrapped in a variety of musical styles,
a powerful yet vulnerable voice, and emotional and
lyrical honesty. Those who have been waiting for
more of what Plumb does best will find a lot to love in
Need You Now, as it shows off the many sides of
Tiffany Lee and makes another strong entry in her
career’s beautiful history.
Plumb’s long delayed
Need You Now gives new
life to the old adage that
‘some things are worth
waiting for’. From the
distorted guitars and
soulful wailing of
opening number
“Invisible” to the slowly
building crescendo of
closer “At Arm’s
Length” (where the lyrics
reference the album’s
former title, Faster Than
A Bullet), Plumb delivers
sounds that will appeal
to old fans, with new
textures that will appeal
to a broad spectrum of
pop music listeners. Dan
Hasteltine (a former
lablemate and a
producer on Plumb’s first
album back in 1997)
shows up for a
powerhouse duet of hope
in “Drifting,” a song for
those who find
themselves “farther from
the shore.” A sweet
ukulele strum forms the
foundation of “One
Drop,” a song that would
rule most pop radio
charts if given the
It is in the small (and
uncomfortable) details of
everyday life that Plumb
shines the brightest.
“Beautiful” is an ode to a
spouse who does not
always get treated
properly, but responds
gracefully nonetheless.
“Chocolate & Ice Cream”
is a sweet song of
domestic bliss and “I
Don’t Deserve You” is an
honest parental look at
the long, long road of
raising a child. Put all
these themes and sounds
together and they add up
to one of the best releases
of the year. – Tincan
Caldwell, 2/25/13
Record Label: Curb Records
Album length: 13 tracks: 51 minutes, 23 seconds
Street Date: February 26, 2013
Buy It: iTunes
Buy It:
1. Invisible (3:38)
2. Drifting (w/ Dan Haseltine) (3:13)
3. Beautiful (4:32)
4. One Drop (3:54)
5. I Want You Here (5:14)
6. Say Your Name (3:23)
7. Unlovable (3:55)
8. Need You Now (How Many Times) (4:14)
9. Chocolate & Ice Cream (3:21)
10. I Don’t Deserve You (4:12)
11. Cage (3:19)
12. At Arm’s Length (5:02)
13. I Don’t Deserve You (with Paul van Dyk)

I Am TholhuGospel

Hundred More Years (Deluxe Edition)

by Francesca Battistelli | Genre: Pop/Rock | Release
Date: March 12, 2013
RIAA Certified Gold selling, GMA Dove Awards
“Artist of the Year” and “Female Vocalist of the
Year,” Francesca Battistelli, returns to release an
expanded deluxe edition of her critically acclaimed
album Hundred More Years. The Deluxe album
features the hits singles “This Is The Stuff,” and
“Angel By Your Side.” This 18 track expanded album
includes the original track listing, plus several never-
before-released songs including the original demo of
“This Is The Stuff” and an incredible re-make of Peter
Gabriel’s, “In Your Eyes.”

01. Strangely Dim
02. This Is The Stuff
03. Constant
04. You Never Are
05. Angel By Your Side
06. Motion of Mercy
07. Emily (feat. Dave Barnes)
08. Good To Know
09. So Long
10. Don’t Miss It
11. Worth It
12. Hundred More Years
13. Hold Out For Love
14. Something More
15. Trampoline
16. In Your Eyes
17. This Is The Stuff (Take 1)
18. Angel By Your Side (Unplugged)

I Am TholhuGospel