Release Date: May 5th 2015
Reviewed by Joshua Andre
- Lord Of All (feat. Curvine)
- Forever I’ll Worship
- Once And For All
- I Will Follow
There have been many CCM artists over the past few years that have blown me away with their music, with critical and commercial acclaim abound. Artists like Chris August, for KING & COUNTRY, About A Mile, Everfound, 1 Girl Nation, I Am they, Lauren Daigle, NF, David Dunn and Dan Bremes have all released label debuts less than 5 years ago, and all have garnered some sort of fan following and support from the public and critics as well. Enter in independent R&B/pop artist Chad Evans, who released his debut EP Before And After last week. It’s only 5 songs, however, the production here is sublime, and I can’t help but champion Chad’s prowess as a singer and a songwriter after listening to these songs. A must listen on my iTunes playlist for a while yet (and hopefully yours); this EP includes a brilliant cover of Hillsong UNITED’s “Oceans”; so let’s dive in and see why Chad’s musical presence is something to be admired and celebrated!
Let me start by delving into the most recognisable song on the album. “Oceans”…well, it’s “Oceans”, what more do I have to say? This Holy Spirit inspired God breathed song just transcends artists, and Chad brilliantly covers what Hillsong UNITED should be congratulated for! Sung in an acoustic piano led atmosphere (with little to no instrument buildup or crescendo in the bridge or anywhere else in the song, except an increase in vocal intensity and presence); the epic anthemic prayer, and declaration of Jesus’ sovereignty, delves into the fact that we can call upon God’s name, and rest in the hope and security that we are God’s and He is ours. Taking off in a way unlike no other Hillsong song in recent years; we are met with a song that confronts and reassures at the same time, and asks us the question of whether we’d follow God in the direction that He calls us to when he calls us to it. Every time I hear this song I am almost drawn to tears, as I commune with God, and this version continues on this positive trend! The worship anthem “I Will Follow” previously recorded by Chris Tomlin, is transformed to a reggae Carribean/dance/EDM melody, with Chad emphatically declaring that ‘…where You go, I’ll go, where You stay, I’ll stay, where You move, I’ll move, I will follow…’; a declaration we as Christians should all make with assuredness now and into the future; yet it is the rest of his original melodies that impact and challenge the most.
The Hillsong-esque “Once And For All” is a joy to listen to, and not because it’s a song that’s easily accessible in church, but it’s also a song that highlights Chad’s vocals extensively. A track I originally thought was from Chris Tomlin, or from Lauren Daigle, this melody driven by powerful electric guitars reminds us that Jesus is the only one who can save us, that Jesus is on His throne forever. As Chad exuberantly and eloquently relays that Jesus is ‘…Almighty king of kings, reigning Lord of Lords, I call You Prince of Peace, You are worshipped and adored…’; this is an all-out worship anthem where God is to be revered and celebrated for who His is!
The album opener “Lord Of All” is an acoustic guitar driven gospel flavoured r&b melody, with Chad exquisitely and emphatically reminding us that Jesus is Lord of all, and that Jesus is ‘…my all in all, You’re my everything, Your truth will carry me, there’s no height, there’s no depth that separates, I am sure of Your Love that will remain…’. Vocally, Chad is at his brilliant best, channelling his inner Chad from Unspoken, and rapper Curvine steals the spotlight here also, with his impressive rap solo in the middle of the track worthy of repeat listens! And “Forever I’ll Worship” takes the tempo down a bit, and is a reflective and contemplative worship ballad, fit for both corporate and personal worship, as Chad brilliantly asserts with passion that ‘…You’re the anchor for my soul, You are never letting go, forever I’ll worship You in the forest of triumph, forever I’ll sing of Your unfailing love, Your blood has covered all of me, humbly I fall to my knees…’. Well done Chad for a compelling and unique EP that will surely be loved and championed by many who listen!
With a captivating vocal similar to Aussie artists Guy Sebastian and Stan Walker, as well as Anthony Evans, The Katinas and Anthem Lights; and a myriad of musical styles encompassed, including stirring piano ballads and powerful emphatic worship anthems; Chad Evans’ Before And After is a release to be listen to many times, and a release to recommend to your family, your friends, even the person living next door to you! Guaranteed there’s a song amongst the five that will speak to you, so what are you waiting for? Dive in, and listen! Well one Chad; can’t wait for your new album, whenever it releases; and I hope and pray listeners are blessed by this release of worshipful and personal songs!
3 songs to listen to: Forever I’ll Worship, Once And For All, Oceans
RIYL: Anthony Evans, Unspoken, Danny Gokey, Anthem Lights, The Katinas