Release Date: September 18th 2015
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Beautiful Offering
- My Story
- I Belong To God
- Come Sit Down
- Lion And The Lamb
- Heaven Is Here
- It’s Already Done
- I Will Go
- Praise You
- Glory Unspeakable
- You’re Gonna Love Him
- When You Love Somebody
- Jesus I Believe
- Good, Good Father (Live)
“…for Big Daddy Weave, cool has never really been in our repertoire, but we have boatloads of real. The more vulnerable we get, and the more willing we get to share about our own failures or our own faults, the more it resonates with people. A ploy of the enemy is to keep us isolated in our fears and in our failures, but when we begin to share from just that real place, then that rings true with people…” Comprising of Mike Weaver, Jay Weaver, Jeremy Redmon, Joe Shirk and Brian Beihl, CCM band Big Daddy Weave, originating from Mobile, Alabama; have released their brand new album Beautiful Offerings this past week, after a 3 and a half year break since their previous album, the popular and successful Love Come To Life in early 2012. Plenty of their songs, inclusive of “Every Time I Breathe”, “What Life Would Be Like”, “Audience Of One”, “Love Come To Life”, “You Found Me”, “Redeemed”, “The Only Name”, and “Overwhelmed”, to name a few; have impacted and inspired the lives of critics and listeners alike. So for me personally, ever since I’ve heard the first word of the lead single “My Story” a couple of months ago, I was excited and very intrigued as to what this new album would sound like, given the lengthy time between albums, as well as the track list, which stands tall at 15 songs! Well, I’m happy to say that after listening to this album plenty of times, that Beautiful Offerings is one of the stand out albums of the year, in my opinion, as well as the band’s most complete and mature work to date, with plenty of genres encompassed throughout. With the uninhibited and unashamed praise of “Good, Good Father”, the pop goodness of tracks like “Glory Unspeakable” and “I Will Go”, as well as the biblically vivid and worshipful melodies like “Lion And The Lamb” and “Come Sit Down”, not to mention the powerful lead single “My Story”; this album is one to savour and listen to again and again, as we commune with God and sing of his mighty and powerful name!
Opening the track list is the emphatic and captivating title track. Led by compelling synth and strings, this epic worship anthem sets the tone for the rest of the album, as Mike Weaver and the band lay down a strong foundation of faith and overtly exclaim that God can take every facet of our lives, the good, bad and ugly, fashioning every part into something beautiful. Thematically similar to Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Something Beautiful”, Mike prays that God to ‘…take this broken life I bring, make it a beautiful offering, a beautiful offering, all I am laid at Your feet, make me a beautiful offering, a beautiful offering to You…’, and it is in the chorus, that I am found closing my eyes and singing in agreement with the band. Oh how I long to be shaped and moulded into who God wants me to be, and this explosive opener is just the song to get me into the mood of vertical worship to God.
The album’s first single is next, and personally, “My Story” is the most personal and honest melody that probably the band have ever recorded. I know, I know, that’s a bit premature and bold, but I really think that there’s something about this song that makes it very special. Call it the Holy Spirit anointing on this song; Mike ardently proclaims his testimony of becoming a Christian across light keys and percussion. Though there’s not the much words I can say to describe the track adequately and to do the song justice (you can watch the music video below!), let me just say that we all have a story to tell. As Christians, our personal story of how Jesus has changed us is very important, and we are encouraged to share that story with those around us who may or may not be believers, to build them up and reassure them that everything is going to be ok. As we are brilliantly reminded that ‘…if I should speak then let it be of the grace that is greater than all my sin, of when justice was served and where mercy wins, of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in, oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him…’; I can only give the highest praise to Mike and the band. Once you watch this video, you’ll be proud of and congratulate the band as well!
Using worship as a backdrop, the rest of the album features the band singing songs to God in their most honest and vulnerable setting. With such simple music and lyrics, we are invited into communion with God through many songs which speak about His unending qualities. The country and bluegrass inspired acoustic guitar and banjo driven melody “I Belong To God” is a bold statement declaring that we belong to Jesus, that ‘…we have been marked, marked by grace, we have been called by name, here we are now, children of a mighty God…’, as we are reassured that as a son or daughter of God, we are more powerful than we could ever imagine, and the devil cannot hurt us in any way, as God is on our side. While the piano prominent slow paced ballad “Come Sit Down”, also the album’s second single, is a gentle and inspiring piece, slowly swelling with an epic crescendo to a gigantic and booming worship anthem. With Mike asking God to dwell within us, to stir in us a desire to know Him more, as we bask in His presence and the knowledge that He is God and He is good; we are reminded that ‘…we lack nothing, we lack nothing, we lack nothing in You…’, a promise that can inspire us in the times where we need encouragement.
Though the upbeat guitar led mid-tempo worship melody “Heaven Is Here” is simple lyrically, with plenty of repetition and words of ‘hallelujah’ in the chorus, Mike excitedly proclaims that God is here with us and that we should be excited and celebrate this fact. It is Mike’s passion and joy evident that simply pours out to me as well. Theoretically, with plenty of lyrical clichés present in this song in particular, I should loathe this song for being too CCM, but there’s something that makes me want to jump up and dance, well done guys for transforming a simple melody into a song worth listening to over and over! “It’s Already Done” brings the tempo back down, with the gospel infused piano led melody reiterating that Jesus has already paid for our sins so now we can live in freedom; while “I Will Go”, a firm and honest statement of faith, reminds me of Rend Collective musically, with the acoustic guitar being the main instrument at the forefront. Lyrically we are encouraged to go to wherever Jesus wants us to, and to be obedient, even when the steps to be taken are hard and seemingly impossible. And these two songs go hand in hand- Jesus has paid the price of our sins and we can now live in freedom (“It’s Already Done”) so with that freedom we can and should go out to spread the good news to Jesus (“I Will Go”); it’s amazing how Big Daddy Weave have included these two songs as consecutive in the track list!
As cliché as worship songs go, “Praise You”, led by vibrant electric guitar, and musically enjoyable, is as simple and somewhat irritating as they come lyrically, with Mike nonetheless eloquently reminding us that Jesus is ‘…son of God, son of man…I’ll join that song that will never end…’, in practically the downside to the only album. While the next melody “Glory Unspeakable”, a potential radio single, has my toes tapping and dancing, with this dance anthem driven by guitar, providing us the promise that we will be with Jesus together in heaven after this life, thus giving us hope to make it through this life with Jesus’ help. Together with the standard edition album closer “You’re Gonna Love Him”, a piano led mid-tempo ballad and a desperate plea from Mike to a unbelieving friend, reiterating that Jesus loves him/her, and that ‘…you’ll never find another who loves you like He can…’; the album as a whole includes some of the most real, raw and exciting melodies Big Daddy Weave have ever recorded. Though one of the most revealing and impacting worship songs on this album to me personally is “The Lion And The Lamb”.
It is this melody that I would suggest listeners to listen to first if they were to choose one song from Beautiful Offerings– it’s pure and unbridled worship at its best, with plenty of imagery and metaphors for heaven and for God’s second coming here on Earth. Reminding us that ‘…our God is the Lion, the Lion of Judah, He’s roaring with power and fighting our battles, and every knee will bow before Him…’, Mike emphatically and brilliantly covers this Bethel Music penned worship tune, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this song takes off in churches everywhere in the near future! You can sometimes tell that some songs are just breathed by God especially and this melody is one of them, in my opinion.
The soft and revealing strings led “Welcome”, the mid-tempo synth led and guitar prominent melody “When You Love Somebody” and the earnest and vulnerable piano ballad “Jesus I Believe” are inclusions on the deluxe edition of the album. While these extra songs depict God invading our lives to glorify His name, and doing what He wants for us to grow as believers (“Welcome”); us being in love with Jesus so much that we can’t keep it in, and need to share the good news, as we’re ‘…in love with the One who saved my life…’ (“When You Love Somebody”); and a honest prayer for God to reveal more and more of Himself to us, as ‘…I need to hear You now, I need to know it’s You, I’m standing on Your promises, I know Your word is true…’ (“Jesus I Believe”); it is Zealand Worship’s smash hit radio single “Good, Good Father”, ending the deluxe edition of the album, that pulls at my heart strings, with the simple melody reaffirming the belief that God is a good Father and He loves to shower His children with good gifts. Not as poppy or rocky as Zealand Worship’s version, Big Daddy Weave has slowed the tempo down, yet nonetheless provided us with a worthy version, reminding us that a song can transcend even the artist singing it! “Good Good Father” is definitely bound to be popular by listeners and critics alike in the future!
What more can I say about Big Daddy Weave’s Beautiful Offerings that I haven’t said already? I’ve already showered this album with plenty of praise maybe a bit more than necessary, so I’ll just say this. Go buy the album! You definitely won’t regret it, as it’s one of my favourite albums of the year, and my favourite album from Big Daddy Weave ever! If you have to buy only one album this year, it should be Beautiful Offerings! Well done guys, I can’t wait to hear your next album, and to see the effects of lives changed by this album as well!
5 songs to listen to: My Story, The Lion And The Lamb, Jesus Speak, It’s Already Done, Good Good Father
RIYL: Michael W. Smith, The City Harmonic, Jesus Culture, Leeland, Tenth Avenue North