Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Phil Wickham 'Response' Album Review

Two years after his last album 'Heaven and Earth', Phil Wickham returns with his latest album 'Response'. I love Phil Wickham's music as they are not only encouraging and inspirational but they are extremely engaging musically and instantly captivating. So I was extremely excited when 'Response' was released.

The album cover for 'Response' is a far more grown up cover compared to 'Heaven and Earth'; and is unlike any of the previous covers. Simple yet sophisticated, the album art reflects the music perhaps more so lyrically, as they are the main focus, with some beautifully written songs within.

There are 11 tracks on this album:

1. Heaven Fall Down 4/5
Sounding very much like a continuation of 'Heaven and Earth', 'Heaven Fall Down' is a great bridging point between the two albums, a song that is upbeat and catchy. Whilst this is the longest track, at over five minutes long, it flies by and very easily engages you.
2. Joy 4/5
This song did not grab me instantly, but it took a few listens for me to really like this song. I initially rated it as 3/5 but after a few more listens, I like it more! This song showcases Wickham's voice in yet another consistently upbeat and 'joyful track'.

3. One God 5/5
This song is a wonderful song of admiration for God, the lyrics are fantastic; I particularly like the explosive chorus which goes: 'There's only one God who can make the stars, one God who can save out hearts, one God who will reign over all, one God who can set us free, one God alive in me, one God, you reign over all".

4. At Your Name 5/5
This is the song that has perhaps gotten the most attention as it was written with fellow Christian artist Tim Hughes, who also released a version on his album. I like Phil's version equally if not more, due to the slower verse but slightly more upbeat and catchy chorus! 

Really like the meaning of the song and how we should shout God's name more often! It's definitely the first time I've heard a song use God's name 'Yahweh', we call him so many names, but very rarely 'Yahweh'. Favourite track on the album!!

5. This is the Day 4/5
Another catchy track, 'This is the day' is slightly more reminiscent of the 'Cannons' era, but nonetheless an exciting track, which invites us to a new beginning with God, but will we accept him? "This is the day when the lost are found, the day for a new beginning... the day when life begins".

6. All I Want is You 5/5
Back to a 'Heaven and Earth' sound and at a slower pace, 'All I want is You' is a nice change in tempo from all the previous upbeat and catchy tracks. The line "We all want something more" reflects our yearning for something greater and the verses beautifully show us God's amazing work in our lives.

7. God of Our Salvation 4/5
A song of praise, 'God of our Salvation' is a great song to listen to as it is encouraging, reminding us that "God sent his Son for us and we can come to him just as we are".

8. Sun and Moon 5/5
A beautifully poetic song, 'Sun and Moon' showcases Wickham's writing ability at his best. "If you are the sun, then I want to be the moon, I want to reflect the light that shines from you". Musically resounding his best from 'Cannons', this is yet another brilliant track which I can easily call one of my favourites.

9. This Love will Last Forever 4/5
An upbeat 'Heaven and Earth- intro' leads into a song which sounds very familiar, yet different. A very catchy chorus makes you want to shout and sing along.

10. All I Am 4/5
A nice response song dedicating our lives to God and asking him to use us. I wish this was the last track on the album, as it would make a great finish. I really like the guitars in the song and wish he'd use more of it in the album like with his older tracks. Love the lyrics too.

11. The Victory 3.5/5
A song about the victory of God, defeating death and sin and Jesus' resurrection; 'The Victory' is a very soft song which is very atmospheric and emotional. This isn't a song that can be listened to anytime and you kind of need to be in the mood for it. It's not the best finish to the album, but does set the mood to evoke a spiritual response.

SONGS TO LOVE: One God, At Your Name, All I want is You, Sun and Moon

'Response' is a beautiful album telling us of God's wonderful mercy and grace, showing God's character and love for us. After listening to such an album, it does evoke us to make a spiritual response to God, whether we rededicate our lives to him, meet him for the first time or decide to follow him. 

The lyrics are wonderfully written and sung by Phil Wickham, making this a great gift to give to a non-believer, a new Christian or someone who needs encouraging!

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