Release Date: August 7th 2015
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Warrior [Steven Curtis Chapman]
- Impossible [Building 429]
- Press On [Mandisa]
- Me Without You (Remix) [TobyMac]
- Crazy Faith [John Waller]
- Shake Yourself Loose [Vickie Winans]
- Amen [I Am They]
- To Know You [Casting Crowns]
- Healing Begins [Tenth Avenue North]
- Raise ‘Em Up, Lord/Rekindle the Fire [Movie Score]
There have been many faith-based films of late that have impacted the lives of many…but none more so than the movies created by the Kendrick Brothers. Alex and Stephen Kendrick have revolutionised Christian movies as a whole, and with the popularity of previous movies like Fireproof, Facing the Giants and Courageous, it would make sense for their next movie, War Room, releasing August 28th, to be even now popular with anticipation and expectation. A movie about a family and their personal strains in marriage as the wife prays for her husband and family under the guidance of an elderly mentor through the assistance and help of a ‘prayer war room’; this 2 hour movie is a must for anyone who wants to excel within their marriage, or just excel within their role in the family unit. Partnering with Provident Films and TriStar, the Kendrick Brothers will release this movie in America and around the world at the end of August.
While from the general media it will probably receive some flack because of its overtly Christian message, what this film challenges us to accomplish and believe in is the good fight, and fighting it, not against ourselves, and not by our own strength, but rather with God and against the devil who longs for us to be divisive when it comes to the family unit and structure. Coupled with this movie release is a companion CD- songs that have appeared in some form or another during the movie, and others that have been inspired by the movie’s themes. From artists like Casting Crowns, Tenth Avenue North, Building 429 and the never-before-heard song “Warrior” by Steven Curtis Chapman; to newer artists like I Am They and John Waller; this album is a must for anyone who is going to watch the movie and would love a companion soundtrack. Or otherwise check out “Warrior” on iTunes or Spotify- because I’m sure the general population may have access to the other tracks already in some form or another.
From Casting Crowns “To Know You”, that speaks about knowing Christ and every facet of his being as we continuously long for Him and ourselves to delve deeper in relationship on a daily basis, and “Healing Begins”, a heartfelt song by Tenth Avenue North about healing and how healing begins when we submit over to God and allow Him to work in us whatever He longs for us to see and experience, to the ever reliable TobyMac and his track “Me Without You” (albeit the remix version)- a song showing us where we’d be without God in our lives; there is a wide variety of music on the album. Gospel legend Vickie Winans brings the song “Shake Yourself Loose” to the table of songs as the gospel music genre is shown to be fun, enjoyable and powerful, and an eye-opening experience to myself (especially since I am accustomed to a more CCM friendly musical style). Nevertheless, the song is a reminder to shake ourselves loose from the devils hold on us in all aspects of our life. Mandisa, an ex-American Idol finalist and one of CCM’s most powerful, passionate and emotive voices of this generation, brings to us “Press On”, a song that is as energetic as it is poignant, as we are commanded and encouraged to press on, past the things temporary and towards the things eternal.
“Impossible”, “Amen” and “Crazy Faith” are all newer songs by Building 429, new band I Am They, and former Provident Label Group artist John Waller respectively, all providing us with themes of us trusting God with the impossible (“Impossible”), us declaring agreement as we believe in the promises of God our Father (“Amen”) and us stepping out in faith as we trust the decisions of God knowing full well that it may cost ‘…everything, but I’m stepping out, I’m taking a leap of crazy faith…’ (“Crazy Faith”); while the album even has a film score as track ten. “Raise Em Up, Lord” probably is the monologue either at the beginning or the end of the movie (every faith-based movie has one), where we are encouraged to take a stand for the truth as we seek more and more of Christ. The score is as refreshing as it is invigorating- a different side of music altogether. Yet it is the newly recorded song “Warrior” by CCM legend Steven Curtis Chapman; that has made an impact on myself personally in the last few weeks.
Released when the album released at the beginning of August, “Warrior” is as emotive, poignant and enjoyable as it is compelling. With Steven declaring from the outset that we fight the battles on our knees in prayer, it is when we realise that we are all warriors, even if we don’t know or even believe it, that we can truly face the battles with confidence of our victory in Christ Jesus. Presented with an acoustic guitar undertone, as well as a gospel choir toward the end of the song, there’s no telling what Steven can’t do- “Warrior” is arguably one of his most heartfelt songs I’ve heard since “Beauty Will Rise” from his 2009 album of the same name. With a guitar riff and lyrics that give us courage to declare that ‘…our weapons are trust, our weapons are hope in the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, He says ‘I am with you’ so don’t be afraid…so fall on your knees and fight with me…’, this is Steven Curtis Chapman at his best. A potential single for his new album? Most probably. One of my favourite songs to be released in 2015 so far? Most definitely. Well done Steven for such a real, raw and honest song, and one where this album is worth checking out, even if for that song and that song alone!
War Room releases this coming week, and while there will be flack for sure, there will also be inspiration and encouragement. Every Kendrick film thus far has been emotional, and I’m sure this one will be no different. From proven hits to recent favourites, this is a motion picture album proven to encapsulate the theme of standing on God’s Word and fervently praying during the moments of difficulty and calamity, all the while knowing who is in control. Partly released through Provident Music, War Room: Music From the Original Motion Picture is a perfect companion to a movie that I’m sure will be talked about in months and years to come. Well done TriStar, Provident and Kendrick Brothers Productions for this album compilation, and one that’ll hopefully encourage movie-going in the upcoming weeks and months.
3 songs to listen to: Warrior, Impossible, Crazy Faith
RIYL: John Waller, Steven Curtis Chapman, Building 429, Tenth Avenue North