Release Date: March 15th 2019
Reviewed by Joshua Andre
- Lighter Burden
- You Are Good
- More To Me
- Jesus The Well
Born in Australia, Nathan Tasker has been one of my favourite Christian homegrown artists (alongside Newsboys, for KING & COUNTRY and Rebecca St. James); with his albums A Look Inside and Must Be More being two of my favourite albums ever of the 2000’s! With smash hits and inspiring singles such as “Your Love Changes Me”, “Like You Love Me”, “Floating”, “Narrow”, “I Was There”, “Eternity”, “Love Is The Compass”, “Something Beautiful” and “Man On A Wire”; Nathan has wowed us all with his though provoking, emotional and personal tracks of joy, sorrow and meaning, as he invites us onto a journey where we discovery our own purpose and meaning, remembering the promises of our Saviour and King that He will never leave us. With Nathan having just released his brand new EP Lighter Burden this past week, with songs on this album influenced by a more joyful, cheerful and happy time compared with the sombre musical landscape of Man On A Wire; this newest collection of laid back, acoustic songs (similar in music genre to Andrew Peterson, Bebo Norman and Jason Gray), is one to listen to over and over, as we marvel at how wonderful and faithful our Heavenly Father is. With Nathan already having toured with the Newsboys, and Michael W. Smith, this EP is sure to gain many more fans and followers, as Nathan’s stardom in the U.S only continues to rise and rise!
Opening the EP with the slower paced acoustic guitar led “Young”, we are met with a heartfelt and honest track eloquently depicting the simplicity of the years gone by as Nathan was growing up and having big dreams to conquer the world. A track that is somewhat a lamenting type song or a prayer of regret or missed opportunities, Nathan cries out that he longs to go back to the days when he was young. It’s a brave and courageous thing to say, however Nathan’s feelings of today’s society and how much it has changed from when he was young is probably a factor in the themes of this song. I don’t think that Nathan regrets anything in his own personal life- but maybe something about the world in general right now doesn’t seem to be aligning with his views of the future when he was younger. Or perhaps Nathan just wants time to pass slower so that he could spend more time with his family. Whatever the case of the meaning or double/triple meanings of this song- “Young” is a brilliant confronting melody to open with. The title track follows; and is a vivid account of Pilgrim’s Progress; with the track being essentially Nathan laying down his burdens and pain and sin at the foot of Jesus- so that it’s possible that we can live the Christian life without feeling weighed down. Because if we actually try to carry our sin around with us, life would be unbearable, however knowing that Jesus paid the price, died on the cross and rose from the grave, gives us comfort that life this side of heaven will be ok.
Acoustic guitar once again is at the forefront in the personal, vulnerable ballad “You Are Good”- and though the song title is a tad cliché, Nathan’s powerful voice makes up for any lyrical simplicity, as Nathan majestically reiterates that ‘…You are good even here, when I can’t fight these tears, and my heart is asking why, still I trust You’re on my side, and You are good because this hurt will not have the final word, though the valley might be low, it is well within my soul…’; while the penultimate 3 minute radio friendly melody “More To Me” is Nathan’s attempt at pop (or light acoustic type pop!)- and somewhat works as the catchiest track on the project, as he relays to us that Jesus means more to him than anything else in this world. Yet just as I’ve come to enjoy this EP and be accustomed to Nathan’s acoustic style of singing again; the project ends. It’s probably the only downside of a thought-provoking album, as “Jesus The Well” fervently recounts that Jesus is the only One that can satisfy our every need. With Him and only with Him- we can still have live life to the fullest.
One of the most emotional releases I’ve heard this year (alongside Head Above Water [Avril Lavigne], The Work [Elias Dummer] and singles from Newsboys [“The Greatness Of Our God”] and Big Daddy Weave [“Alive”]; there is quite a lot of reflection yet also happiness and optimism- as Nathan Tasker’s EP Lighter Burdens is bound to bring someone to Christ, and I guess that’s all he can hope for when creating a solid batch of songs like these. If you’re struggling in any way, guaranteed these songs will give you hope and perspective, but even if you’re fine in all aspects of life, this project can still minister to you. And with that, I say, that Nathan has done a fantastic job, and I can’t wait to hear what else is in store! But until the next album, let’s just have this release on repeat on iTunes and on our phones, shall we?
3 songs to listen to: Lighter Burden, More To Me, Jesus The Well
RIYL: Jason Gray, Steven Curtis Chapman, Sara Groves, Nichole Nordeman, Bebo Norman, Andrew Peterson