Release Date: August 26th 2014
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Morning Song
- Constant One
- Out of Hiding (Father’s Song)
- I Spoke Up
- Cecie’s Lullaby
- Letting Go
- Promise I Always Will
- Steady Heart
- No Fear in Love
- Open Up Let the Light In
- Getting There
One of the most honest and real artists within the Bethel Music artists community, Steffany Gretzinger has been able to unleash a sense of realness and honesty in every song she sings. While not necessarily as noticed or even popular as fellow artists on Bethel Music- Brian and Jenn Johnson, Amanda Cook or Jeremy Riddle; Steffany’s heart for worship and being able to worship from a place of struggle, grieving or transition is very much evident in Steffany’s first studio album, The Undoing. Releasing her first studio album after years of contributing to Bethel Music annual projects (songs like “Closer”, “You Know Me”, “Letting Go”, “Be Still” or “We Dance”), Steffany’s unique voice and the ability for her to use a song as a tool and vessel to stir up prophecy and other worship ministry gifts is what has had me excited for The Undoing.
From listening to the 11 song album from start to finish, I am in awe of Steffany and her ability to provide one of Christian music’s most underrated worship album of 2014 so far. With Steffany’s album birthed from, what Relevant- The Drop’s Bio describes as ‘…“the moments in-between”: the life we live in between our corporate worship gatherings…’; this is an album not to be missed if you are a fan of similar artists like Brian and Jenn, Jeremy, or Amanda, or even artists from Jesus Culture Music, Passion or Hillsong!
From first note to last, Steffany has been able to craft songs full of hope, pain, joy and longing as we witness one of the most vulnerable set of worship songs I’ve heard since Bellarive’s Before There Was. “Morning Song” starts off the album with light acoustics and big drum beats as Steffany reminds us all that it is when we welcome the morning, be it physical or metaphorical, that we can truly be free of everything that has been weighing us down previously. With such fervent heart, Steffany cries out with usual enthusiastic fashion that ‘…I can feel the rising of the sun, mercy sings me the promise of Your love, and I’m reminded how far we’ve come, You’re the one that my heart is beating for…’ and we see how close Steffany’s relationship is to the Lord, and how real and authentic she is. With acoustic guitar riffs and Steffany relaying a message of constant reminders of God’s faithfulness; “Morning Song” encourages to us to look to morning, be it a physical one or otherwise, knowing that it is only the morning that uncovers our secrets, and the grace that covers them again and again!
“Constant One” employs light acoustics and a powerful ethereal vocal as Steffany relays the theme of God being constant in both our triumphs and trials. Sounding vocally like Dara MacLean and Leslie Jordan of All Sons and Daughters in this track; we see a glimpse into the ‘…constant one, who is like you God? Your mercies like the sun, oh it’s rising over us…’, as Steffany gives us one of the most poignant songs on The Undoing. “Out of Hiding (Father’s Song)” is spoken from the Father to us, and with a piano and strings, we see the Father’s heart in the opening words, to ‘…come out of hiding, you’re safe here with me, there’s no need to cover what I already see…’ As we find freedom in this song knowing God sees and loves every cm of ourselves the way we are (but too much to want us to stay that way); Steffany launches into “I Spoke Up”, a short 2 minute piano prominent song about speaking up and being ourselves, showing love to our neighbours and being Christ-like to those around us (and just as poignant, if not more so, than the two previous tracks).
“Cecie’s Lullaby” is a heartfelt moment of emotion as Steffany brings to the fore the concept of love, and how a love for a child can be just what is needed for us to see that Christ loves us the same way. It is in this track where I myself realise that the lullaby sung over Cecie is what God sings over us, with much more passion and fervent heart than what Steffany has portrayed. “Letting Go” the longest song on the album, is one of the quietest, with just an acoustic guitar and the fervent prayers of Steffany, as we see the song’s theme of letting go of everything that holds us back from a relationship with Christ being something we all need to hear and experience. It is in the moments where music is lacking where we may find that the message and lyrics speak to us louder, and this is certainly true of “Letting Go”. Despite the length, it is one of my favourite songs on the album.
“Promise that I Will” showcases light electronically distorted vocals as Steffany explores the unfolding of the relationship between Christ and His church- telling the story from sin, to redemption. While this song can be as awkward and uncomfortable as it is redeeming; Steffany nevertheless reminds us all that ‘…I love you, I promise I always will…’, a lyric that I’m sure God is singing over us as much as we need to, and should, sing over God as an outpouring of our thankfulness to Him. “Steady Heart”, featuring powerhouse Canadian singer Amanda Cook (nee Falk), the song is full of unique vocal loops and a heart that encourages us all to have one of trust and encouragement as both Amanda and Steffany long for us all to keep a steady heart and keep moving into the things that God calls for us to be in.
With Steffany also delving into themes like us living like we have no fear when we believe Christ’s love covers everything we are and will be (“No Fear in Love”), and us being vulnerable enough to allow God to come in an rearrange whatever is necessary for us to focus more on Him for whatever we need (“Open Up, Let the Light In”); she ends on one of the most sincere and emotional notes in “Getting There”, another poignant anthem with looping percussion and a CCM-esque radio friendly atmosphere as Steffany encourages us to move on through adversity as we try to ‘get there’- all the while holding onto God through every circumstance we are in.
‘…I realized that this life was all about process, God’s pleasure over my life was in the process, in the journey…some songs began in spontaneous worship; others started as personal prayers or were written for friends. These songs are the in-between Sunday’s stuff, when no one else is watching…learning to worship and sing truth over yourself until you believe it, not just because you do…’ A rare album that embarks to show us worship with less instruments rather than more, Steffany’s heart for music, worship and ministry is evidently shown throughout these 11 tracks. Whilst still relatively ‘new’ within Bethel Music, Steffany’s heart is undeniable, regardless that no one really knows her or her music outside of those who thoroughly enjoy Bethel Music and their artists. Nevertheless, The Undoing is great, and ought to be enjoyed thoroughly and purchased if you are a fan of Bethel Music, and other current worship groups, like Desperation Band, Passion or Hillsong. Well done Steffany for this first studio album. Can’t wait for studio album #2 in the future.
3 songs to listen to: Getting There, Morning Song, Out of Hiding
RIYL: Jesus Culture, Bethel Music, Passion, Desperation Band