Release Date: January 22nd [Say]/March 19th [In Love] 2017
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- In Love
‘…WE BELIEVE GOD BRINGS DEAD THINGS BACK TO LIFE. WE BELIEVE THE HOPE FOR OUR WORLD IS JESUS. NOT ANOTHER SONG. NOT ANOTHER BAND. WE ARE ALIVE BECAUSE OF HIM. THERE IS A NEW MOVEMENT SPRINGING OUT OF THE WRECKAGE. IT’S A MOVEMENT WE CALL ALIVE | CITY. MORE THAN A BAND. MORE THAN MUSIC. MORE THAN A SHOW. IT’S A MOVEMENT ROOTED IN THE GREATNESS OF GOD. ALIVE | CITY BRINGS A FRESH, ENERGETIC AND PASSIONATE MIXTURE OF POP AND ROCK WITH A TOUCH OF DETROIT HIP HOP. OUR SINGULAR GOAL IS TO MAKE JESUS FAMOUS!…’ Alive City. Another worship movement. And you stare that are the screen and read this review and think, ‘gee, not another worship movement/band, don’t we have enough of these?’ And fair enough comment, we probably do. Between Passion, Planetshakers, Rend Collective, Jesus Culture, Bethel Music, Leeland and Urban Rescue, to name a few; we have been saturated from the get-go with movements and bands that focus primarily on music in the worship music genre. Yet, on the flipside, it is good to see a lot of bands out there with their focus on delivering music for the church, along with music for private and personal worship. Now enter in another worship movement from Detroit- Alive City. Releasing an EP a while back, before a massive overhaul and a new lineup, Alive City have arisen with a reinvigorated purpose to present worship music in a way that is fun and accessible to whomever hears it. While the band may not be signed to a record label…yet (because isn’t that what probably will happen, indie band makes it big- signs to a record label…right?), what I will say is this- Alive City has passion, heart and enthusiasm, and that will take them a long way. With the band releasing two singles in 2017 thus far (not including their near-flawless cover of “What a Beautiful Name” which released last month, nor a cover of “Scars to Your Beautiful” which will release in a few days), both “Say” and “In Love” are songs that are as much enjoyed as needed in today’s society. Both speak to the heart of what it means to be human and alive, in whatever we do. So, to see the beauty and relatability of these two songs, makes me appreciate the band all the more, making Alive City, alongside others like Grayson Reed, Branan Murphy, Mallary Hope and Cimorelli, some of my favourite new artists of 2017 thus far!
Released in January 2017, “Say” marked the first song by a revamped Alive City. Borne out of the city of Detroit, Michigan; this worship collective has embarked on creating a song that we can relate to no matter what our walk in life is. “Say” is a declaratory statement, what we say in light of what the Lord Jesus did for us all those years ago, how He made a way for us to come back to the Father so that we didn’t have to. It is when we realise the enormity of the Lord’s sacrifice, with Jesus Himself dying and rising again for our own sins that we should’ve taken the blame for, that we can truly say and declare His goodness, just because. It is not because of duty or obligation that we share God’s love with others, or because we must, as we spread the message of ‘turn or burn’ to everyone we meet. Rather the opposite. “Say” marks a moment where we as followers of Christ realise that there’s a shift in what we thought we believed, versus what is really true. We ‘say’ because we are loved, we ‘say’ because we are free, because we have grace abundant in our lives. It is not because of what we’ve done in any circumstance, but what has been done for us. “Say” reflects that, as we realise that ‘…I’ll say something cause You love me, say something grace surrounds me, be someone in your freedom, be someone—be myself now…’ It is out of the immense love the Father has poured out for us, and out of the change in our lives as we embrace such an unconditional love, that we can be ourselves, and ooze out unconditional love to everyone else. A song that will hopefully change our mindsets and realign what it truly means to say something out of love and grace rather than fear and duty, Alive City have presented to us a song that is one of my favourite tracks by any independent artist I’ve heard this year so far!
“In Love” carries on from where “Say” left off. Released a few months later in March, this song is basically a pop-worship-ballad, an anthem where love is at the centre of what is sung. The song is called ‘In Love’- which in and of itself, is a lot. It’s not called ‘in duty’ or ‘in condemnation’. Nor is it called ‘in understanding’ or ‘in tolerance’. It is called ‘in love’. We are not called just to serve out of duty, or to serve out of fear that the Lord will condemn them if we don’t do out bit. Nor does God want us to act out ‘in understanding’ or ‘in tolerance’- as we look at the other person’s perspective, even understand and tolerate it, but not love them whole heartedly. But rather, we are called to love. That’s it. To love without hesitation. Without borders, with no if’s or buts. God passes judgement, while we are just called to be the conduits of the love of the Father that people will see. Sometimes, all the people will see of Christianity is the lives we lead- therefore how should we react considering that? It is in the chorus where everything that we have ever known comes into focus- ‘…in love tonight, all darkness hides cause Your light will guide the way. In love tonight, our souls can find a perfect hiding place. In love…’ It is the Lord’s love that covers us in the moments of difficulty or trial, that Christ’s love guides us through the dark places, even when we believe that at that moment, we’ve done it on our own. Whatever comes from hearing “In Love”, whether we view the song as a worship track, or something much more poignant and heartfelt, what will be said is this- the song is a much-enjoyed follow-up to “Say”, and is a track that ought to be played in conjunction with it. It is “In Love” that we “Say”, nothing else, otherwise we ought not to say anything at all. Hopefully, the Lord speaks through these tracks and encourages us to look at our own lives, and see if we need to alter what we say to people around us (and ourselves) or not!
Alive City have presented to us two songs that have become anthems in and of their own right. While the band may take some time in becoming as popular as many other worship movements, what I will say is this- this group from Detroit have much heart and fervent honesty, that it ought to be criminal not to be caught up in their infectious joy that is presented in both these two tracks. “Say” and “In Love” form the basis of what we as Christians need to uncover, about both ourselves and the Lord in the whole process, how our motivations in this life is just as important as what we do and say. Why we do what we do- that is what these songs evoke in my own heart, and hopefully yours too. Another song from them in the future? Yes, possibly. It’s only a matter of time before a full-length album drops, or they are signed to a major CCM label, or both. And I’ll be waiting as an eager fan, to whatever comes first! Kudos to the team at Alive City for such impacting songs, can’t wait to the next few come in the foreseeable future!
2 songs to listen to: Both of them, until their debut album releases
RIYL: Rend Collective, Vertical Church Band, Urban Rescue, Tim Hughes, Matt Redman, I AM THEY