Word Label Group
Release Date: May 1st 2020
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Together (feat. Tori Kelly & Kirk Franklin)
for KING & COUNTRY have always been a band that are a joy to listen to, and no matter the preference of musical genre, I’m sure, that anyone who hears this infectiously hopeful and poignant duo, are sure to be blessed and encouraged. Relatively new compared to a lot of the CCM pioneers that have shaped what Christian music is today (artists like Switchfoot, Skillet, Carman, Steven Curtis Chapman, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, to name a few); this duo from Down Under nevertheless have crafted their career in a way that allows the songs they’ve carefully created, to sit with listeners in a reflective way, delving deep within our psyches and challenging the very nature of what we were to believe is true, about ourselves, God, love, life and the rest of it. Joel and Luke have created something special in for KING & COUNTRY, and this is a band that’s certain to make waves, continually in the CCM realm, but maybe, just maybe, in the mainstream market as well- for the band have been a household name for quite some time, ever since their chart-topping song ‘Busted Heart’ hit the radio waves all those years ago, having taken the media, listeners and the whole general CCM industry by storm since their arrival to Word Label Group back in 2011. Relocating to Nashville in the early 1990s as their father pursued a new career opportunity, for KING & COUNTRY has been touted many times as the Aussie version of Coldplay- with a focus more on unique instrumentation and anthemic moments of revelation, realisation and just plain powerful songs full of rousing declaration and proclamation. Fast forward till 2020, and we’ve seen the duo mature and grow in their musical pursuits. Songs like “Fix My Eyes”, “Busted Heart”, “Middle of Your Heart”, “O God, Forgive Us”, “Messengers” [feat. Lecrae], “It’s Not Over Yet”, and more recently “Ceasefire”, and new songs “Joy” and “Amen” are just some examples of the songs that the band has shown us, and the calibre of them. The band has managed to show us what it means to succeed in the CCM industry, while still delivering engaging and thoughtful melodies that encourage us to see and look beyond ourselves, as we challenge the status quo and ask ourselves the continuing question- ‘why’ and ‘why should this be if I don’t agree with the way that it is now’? Topics like self worth, identity, the human condition, and man’s relationship with the creator and the created, are some of the messages scattered through these songs.
Now here we are in 2020, and the duo have yet again released another song to the masses, and this time, a necessary one at that. For I’m sure by now people know about COVID-19, or the more common name for it, coronavirus, and its impact both heath-wise and economically on a global scale, affecting almost every country around the world, for at least the last couple of months. Now here we are at the beginning of May and personally, I don’t think we’re all too close to a vaccine, yet. And yet, it is during this time where our physical morale seems to be going under, where I’ve realised that people have been leaning on God more and more- worship songs are being sung like nobody’s business, and we’ve been seeing the Lord move in ways unimaginable in people’s lives around the world. Though we are distancing physically, the connection that we’ve having with people in a general sense seems to be going up, with more Skype calls, more phone calls, even Zoom calls, and just connection through facebook, twitter and every other mobile and technological device there is, especially when there’s lockdown of countries and stay-at-home orders in a lot of places around the world. A song like ‘Together’ by the duo cannot come at a better time…no seriously, it can’t. With the band themselves partnering with gosel legend Kirk Franklin and mainstream pop icon Tori Kelly in a collaboration that I’m sure will make this song see crossover success in both the CCM and mainstream radio charts and music markets; for KING AND COUNTRY premiered their uplifting song of unity and camaraderie on ABC’s Good Morning America (GMA) on Friday morning May 1st, as the band performed the song across a nation needing hope and a song to declare and sing that will bring them together as the nation and the world moves forward to fight this pandemic head on- and ‘Together’ by the duo is one such song that I’m sure people around the world can cling to during such a time as this. As the brothers themselves have shared about their experience with ABC’s GMA, ‘…we are very grateful for the opportunity to premiere our brand-new song, ‘TOGETHER,’ on Good Morning America. It is such a humbling thought as Australian immigrants, that we are getting to perform on such an iconic, American morning show. Our hope is that with this performance, we can spread the message that if we are able to unite, and support one another during this time — be a neighbor to someone, serve someone, reach out to someone – how might those acts of kindness change the scope of our futures, together? This idea is what ‘TOGETHER’ represents. We believe what unites us is ultimately so much stronger than that which divides us…’
In a holistic sense, the band and their music has always been littered with messages of hope, encouragement, and perseverance, all the while throwing a little bit of ‘God’ in there for good measure (not much, but enough for people to think about things beyond themselves). Joel and Luke have created a space for us to respond in whatever way we know how, and for us not to be worried about the person to the left or right (in a metaphorical sense), but to focus on ourselves and our response to such thought-provoking songs that we hear. ‘Together’ is once again another song of theirs that has hit the nail on the head, as we see the importance of being together (albeit in a digital way) in a time where physical closeness may not be possible because of this virus. Nevertheless, ‘Together’ is a timely reminder to always find ways to connect to our loved ones and friends, as we understand that the only way out of this dark and uncertain time, we’re in is together rather than apart. A song that’s certain to be replayed again and again on my Spotify playlist for months to come, ‘Together’ is a song that’ll literally bring people together, I’m sure, as we navigate uncharted waters over the next few months, unified in our joys, and our defeats as well. Well done Joel and Luke for such a poignant and compelling song, can’t wait to another full-length album in the future, whenever that arises.
RIYL: Coldplay, OneRepublic, Delirious?, TobyMac, Tenth Avenue North