Release Date: May 12th 2017
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Broken Things
Matthew West has been on a mission of late. Ever since his 2010 chart-topping album Story of Your Life (and inclusive of that album), Matthew has been writing new songs at his cabin in the woods, for often months at a time. And during those moments of solitude, Matthew has been reading stories from fans around the world, and writing songs based on and inspired by these stories. In effect, Matthew’s songs from 2010 onward have not been about himself and his own struggles, rather, the messages have come from all of us. The fans, the everyday people. And when we hear a track that we know is inspired by a fan, it makes the song ever more raw, real, honest and relatable.
Not that any other song written by any other artist is of void of passion and enthusiasm. It’s just that there’s something unique and different when it comes to hearing an album solely inspired by someone else, other than the artist and their journey themselves. It makes the process of recording much more inclusive and impacting. That is what Matthew has been embarking on these last little while, resulting in The Story of Your Life (2010), Into the Light (2012), and Live Forever (2015), and unearthing radio singles like “Strong Enough”, “My Own Little World”, “Hello, My Name is”, “Do Something”, “Forgiveness”, “Grace Wins”, “Mended” and “Day One”. Enter in “Broken Things”, the lead single from his yet-to-be-titled album scheduled to release later on in 2017.
Standing at a quite-short 3:07, this song is by far one of his shortest to be a radio single…and that’s ok. We as listeners to Christian radio have a stigma attached to lengths of tracks and the quality of them- we think that the longer the song, the more enjoyable, powerful and poignant the track tends to be. But here we have “Broken Things” and this song, if ever there is any, bucks the trend. Despite the short track length, the song is still emotive and impacting- and this is shown quite powerfully in the chorus- ‘…now I’m just a beggar in the presence of a King, I wish I could bring so much more, but if it’s true You use broken things, then here I am Lord, I am all Yours…’ More often than not, we as humans can often think that what we have and what we want to give, back to God and back to society, is so miniscule and small, that how can we make a difference to the world we live in if what we have to begin with isn’t worth talking about? This track turns our own thoughts around and says this- that even if we don’t have that much, even if we aren’t qualified to be in the circumstances and places that God sets us in at a certain moment, even then, He will still use us, not only to further His ever-advancing kingdom, but also to influence and impact the lives of people we are in contact with, even ourselves too!
What we believe God can do in a certain moment is far less than what God can really do, and that is what is so amazing about our heavenly Father. Time and time again in the bible God never chose that good, the righteous, the ‘sinless’ to be His ambassadors. Not once. In fact, He chose the tax collectors, the doubters, the misfits, the adulterers, the fearful, the rebels and prodigals, the different and down-and-outs to proclaim His name and fame across the world. And it is in that moment that we realise that there is still hope and encouragement for people like you and me, people who are still struggling to find out their role and place in society and in the story of God. And it’s ok if we don’t have it figured out right now. God will nevertheless use us where we’re at to bring hope and joy to whoever we are in fellowship and communion with on a daily basis. And if at least one person understands such a concept as this, then “Broken Things” has succeeded with its message.
‘…God has spoken to me in a powerful way as I’ve spent time in the cabin, my place of solitude, to work on this new album. I had a hard time getting through the writing and recording process on this song without choking up – it brings me to tears and into a place of worship. The fact that God still uses me blows me away. There are a lot of times that I feel broken and unqualified for God to use me, but day after day He invites me into the gates and says ‘I’m going to use you in a powerful way’ because our God is in the business of using broken people and broken things…’ So will this new Matthew West single be as popular as his previous ones like “Mended”, “Day One” or “Grace Wins”? Only time will tell. Still, it’s good to hear Matthew back on the airwaves again. Though short- I was just getting into the song when it suddenly stopped; the message is one that is very much needed in a society where self esteem and vulnerability aren’t as easily uncovered as they should be. A song that’ll hopefully become revolutionary in months to come, Matthew is back with a chart-topping song in the making. Here’s to this track impacting people’s lives, hope to hear more of Matthew’s identity-defining music in months to come!
1 song to listen to: Broken Things…again and again until Matthew’s next album releases later on this year, or until we realise that God uses broken things like us to further His kingdom, whichever revelation comes first!
RIYL: Sidewalk Prophets, Chris Tomlin, for KING AND COUNTRY, Mandisa