Fair Trade Services
Release Date: October 4th 2019
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Not My Life
- You Cannot Be Stopped
- I Give Up
Laura Story, the writer and singer of the hit song and Chris Tomlin covered “Indescribable”, is probably one of the most underrated female vocalists currently in CCM. Having released her debut Christmas project God With Us in 2015, on the heels of her most successful album God Of Every Story in 2013 (featuring smash hits such as “I Can Just Be Me”, the title track, “Who Is Like Our God” and “Keeper Of The Stars” to name a few), and her previous impacting and honest albums Blessings (2011) and Great God Who Saves (2008); Laura has wowed us time and time again with her stellar and relatable songwriting, while also staying relevant to the current CCM sound as well. With parallels lyrically and musically to Bethany Dillon, Sara Groves, Christy Nockels, Natalie Grant and Nichole Nordeman, Laura already has huge shoes to fill, left by herself and the successes of her relatable and poignant albums. Yet with her full length 2017 project Open Hands, we are blessed to hear Laura unveil one of the most vulnerable, honest and inspiring albums in recent memory. Fast forward another 2 and a half years, and now we have the pleasure and honour of hearing Laura’s latest project- a new EP titled I Give Up. So how do these songs rate when compared to the rest of Laura’s discography? Well to tell the truth, nothing can compare to songs like “Open Hands”, “Blessings”, “I Can Just Be Me”, “Indescribable” and more- however these 5 anthems for the church and poignant melodies for self-reflection also; are nonetheless full of hope and encouragement. With Laura reminding us that she’s still a force to be reckoned with in the music industry, I Give Up is the perfect re-introduction for us as we realise that though we may have thought that she had left the music industry, that Laura is actually back and in fact never ever went anywhere prior to this release!
A quick look down the track list reveals an instant recognisable cover- as “You Cannot Be Stopped”, previously recorded by Phil Wickham and Chris Quilala of Jesus Culture, as Laura puts her own spin on an already well-received worship melody. Though I myself am more partial to the original recording (as to me it has more passion and enthusiasm), Laura nonetheless makes this song her own and delivers a solid, resounding offering that packs an incredible punch, and has us on our feet worshipping Jesus. Sung in a celebratory mood, “You Cannot Be Stopped” recounts the unbelievable and true fact of Jesus rising up from the grave and saving us all from condemnation. As Laura proclaims that Jesus is the ‘…mover of mountains, breaker of chains, Jesus has triumphed over the grave, sing hallelujah, the battle is won, nothing can stand against our God…’, we are met with one of the most inspiring worship songs I’ve heard all year, and a track that needs to be heard and experienced right now! Quickly, pronto, that’s how good it is!
The rest of the track list is just as compelling and impacting as “You Cannot Be Stopped”. EP opener “Not My Life” is a powerful declaratory worship anthem that highlights the ever-true notion that our life is not our own but God’s- and that we are only stewards of what God has entrusted to us in order to make His name renown; while the cliched-titled “Holy” is anything but- the track is simple yet effective, as Laura uses Andrew Peterson-like descriptive verses about Revelations or stories of the prophets like Isaiah or Ezekiel as well as a more direct worshipful chorus to bring forth a special song that needs to be listened to at least once, or maybe even twice, three times, 10 or 20! Penultimate track is the title track- piano prominent ballad that details our surrender to Jesus, and the admission that we need our Father and Saviour in every aspect of our lives. And just as quickly as the album starts, it unfortunately ends, with the stellar, beautifully sung radio friendly track “Nearness”. The personal highlight here, Laura fervently relays to us her longing to be near to God and the security to know that He will always be near us and will never walk away from us, even when we’re far from Him.
For Laura Story, to record a heartfelt and inspiring album that is the worshipful Open Hands, after the emotional and personal God Of Every Story, is probably as healing and as therapeutic for her to record, as it most likely will be for others to listen to it. And to then go on and release the vulnerable and honest I Give Up where Laura basically admits that she gives up everything in this life just to be in communion and worship to the Lord Most High; well that’s an impacting feat in and of itself! Reminding us all that Jesus is always with us and will never leave us; Laura has recorded one of her strongest projects to date, and one of the most cohesive. So with plenty of soon to be original hits, worshipful melodies, as well as heartfelt personal ballads, you cannot go wrong with taking a look at Laura’s new release. For fans of singer songwriters such as Jason Gray, Nichole Nordeman, and Jonny Diaz, as well as pop/worship artists Christy Nockels and Natalie Grant; I Give Up, although short in duration, should be on everyone’s list, for an EP to listen to this 2019! Well done Laura for 5 new songs that have touched my soul and changed me for the better, as I marvel at possibly one of the most underrated female vocalists and artists of recent times!
3 songs to listen to: You Cannot Be Stopped, Holy, Nearness
RIYL: Third Day, Big Daddy Weave, Natalie Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, Nichole Nordeman