Capitol Christian Music Group
Release Date: July 23rd 2021
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Won’t Stop
- Good Love
- Speak To The Mountains
- It’s Time To Worship
- Known By Love
One of the more recent artists on mainstay CCM label Capitol Christian Music Group; Chris McClarney (who I guess will forever be known as the writer of the smash hit “Your Love Never Fails”, made famous by both Jesus Culture and Newsboys!), in my opinion, has never quite recorded the hit needed for his worship and songwriting prowess to be recognised enough as a solo worship artist, to catapult him into stardom and the lofty heights that he probably deserves- given the years and years he has been in and around the music industry. That’s just my opinion though… but “Hallelujah For The Cross”, a hymn like track released in 2018, remains his crowning achievement post-Your Love Never Fails- Chris unveiled to us something special, a track probably so poignant and impacting to the local church and hopefully the wider global faith community, that it almost begs us to sit up and take notice. Though having the same name as the modern hymn from Newsboys that released in 2014, anyone expecting a cover of that track, or an upbeat pop tune like Newsboys will be disappointed. But never fear, this pulsating, eclectic and encouraging melody is sure to inspire. And with 2 live albums already released (Breakthrough in 2018 and Everything And Nothing Less in 2015), but for me still not creating a massive hit like “Your Love Never Fails”; it’s now time to dive in deep to another project from Chris. This time a studio EP called Speak To The Mountains.
It probably isn’t fair to always compare every Chris McClarney song to his one big hit. I’d say that just creates extra pressure on Chris to perform and to always get it right all the time. So a better way is to judge each song on its own merits- and in that way this new EP is moving, inspiring, emotional and powerful. Though not on the same level as Chris’s mega hit, these songs nonetheless do have its place as we worship God and sing out his praises with some quality Sunday morning worship tunes. Opening the track list with the radio friendly, 3-and-a-half minute compelling melody “Won’t Stop”, one of my personal favourites from the EP. And as Chris powerfully and emphatically relays to us that Jesus Christ will never, ever stop fighting for us and that he will always be by our side; we are met with an anthem that is similar in theme to Riley Clemmons’ “Fighting For Me”, and is a reminder of the faithfulness and promises of God. “Good Love”, though catchy in the moment, is unfortunately musically forgettable, with Chris relaying to us that God is love and love is good (a feel good happy and emotional worship melody but with no mention of what Jesus Christ has saved us from!); while Chris encourages us all to worship Jesus in the lyrically simple yet beautifully sung melody “It’s Time To Worship”, singing out that ‘…if we’re gonna sing, then let it be now, if we’re gonna dance, then let it be wild, if we’re gonna praise then let it be Loud We sing hallelujah…’.
“Known By Love”, the heartfelt, prayerful and reflective piano led ballad, is Chris at his most vulnerable and emotional, as he sings out with pride and passion ‘…let justice roll like a river in my soul, let mercy overflow like a flood, let kindness burn like a fire in my bones, that lights the way back home for all to come, I wanna be known by love…’; while the album closer “Revival”, highlights the concept of revival, as Chris majestically and fervently relays to God that he want revival to come and break out amongst anyone and everyone on Earth. Yet for me the heartbeat of the album and THE song to listen to is the title track. As Chris powerfully dives deep into the gospel and outlines in no uncertain terms that Jesus lived, died and then rose again for our sins; we are met with a track that undoubtedly should be sung in churches every Sunday for the foreseeable future. With Chris eloquently crying out that ‘…I won’t be shaken, I won’t be moved, my God is faithful, His promise is true, so I speak to the mountains, “Oh, it’s time to move, ’cause my God is bigger, better, stronger, greater than you”…’, we are presented with a solid track that outlines the essential issues of the faith, and inspires us to live for Jesus as we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is with us and He will never, ever leave us.
With Chris McClarney hopefully prepping for maybe another studio or live album; Speak To The Mountains is a worthy and competent project that I’m certain will tie us over until another full length project. Comprising of timely songs to proclaim and declare over the coming weeks and months; tracks like the title track and “Revival” are songs which will be on my iTunes and Spotify playlists for a while yet. A must listen for fans of any worship artist; Chris McClarney needs to be recognised and congratulated for this moving and inspiring effort. So, what are you waiting for? Dive in and listen to some powerful truths about God!
3 songs to listen to: Speak To the Mountains, It’s Time To Worship, Revival
RIYL: Phil Wickham, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Jesus Culture, Hillsong Worship