Release Date: March 31st 2015
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Where I Am Right Now
- Sweet Salvation
Previously signed to Integrity Music, worship leader and songwriter Jared Anderson is an artist whom I recently discovered a few years ago, even though Jared has released many albums for the past 15 years! It’s a fact I have remedied hastily and to great appreciation over the past year, as I have come to love many, many songs and the entire body of work from the artist known for his popular worship hits such as “Great I Am”, “I Am Free”, “The King Is Coming”, “Pouring It Out For You” and “Amazed”. Having signed to Centricity Music this year, Jared releases his brand new EP Where I Am Right Now next week. Marking the beginning of the next musical step in his already successful and inspiring career, Jared has delivered 5 poignant and heartfelt melodies that are accessible to the church and also a bit different with a rock edge as well, to distinguish his expansion in musical direction, and a stance I am gladly welcoming. Releasing on the same day as NF’s debut album, let’s see how these 5 songs motivate, encourage, and draw us closer into communion and worship with God.
Starting the EP off with the radio friendly guitar heavy rocker that is the title track, we are immediately introduced to stirring electric guitar strums amidst a prayerful and thoughtful heart to heart with God, where Jared relays the notion that ‘…I am called to be where I am right now, in the middle of the storm, but I have no doubt, You are here with me…and I won’t give in or second guess, I’m trusting You with every step, Father You are here with me…’. Reminding us that God is by our side even in the times where we feel discouraged and abandoned, Jared reassures us that our less than ideal situations can be used for God’s glory and for our character building. Because of where we are right now, either physically, spiritually, emotionally and every other facet, we will be stronger, wiser, and more trusting of God’s decisions and where He is leading in the future. Well done Jared for a confronting and thematically simple yet complex anthem.
The rest of the EP is a trip across many different musical genres, and relays Jared’s versatility lyrically and musically as well- these songs are some of the most enjoyable and catchy of 2015! “Overboard” is an upbeat, celebratory, fun melody led by rousing gang vocals and guitars, as Jared successfully does his Matt Maher vocal impersonation, and reminds us of wholeheartedly pursing Christ, that nothing on this earth is worth more than being with Him and in His presence, hence the reason why we jump overboard to be with Him. A metaphor for living life to the fullest with Christ in our lives, the rousing rocker transitions into the soft, contemplative, mid-tempo piano led radio friendly ballad “Forgiven”.
As Jared fervently reminds us that ‘…Jesus took all of my sin, heaven’s inviting me in, this is what it feels like to be forgiven…’, we are presented with the theme of accepting that Jesus has forgiven us and that we are no longer sinners, a theme present in Sanctus Real’s song of the same name as well. The Chris Tomlin piano led mid-tempo ballad cover “Almighty” is next, and though I like Chris’s version better, Jared’s rendition still packs a punch, and provides us with an honest, transparent vertical worship God to Jesus, as we sing in reverence and gratitude that God is almighty and that He is the King of Kings. Lastly, the final song, the 2 minute almost acapella (with hand clicks, beat boxing, and ‘whoo’s’) song “Sweet Salvation” is nothing I have ever heard from Jared before, as he enters into new territory musically. Lyrically singing about Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and also reiterating the fact that we are saved, redeemed and made pure, blameless and spotless in Jesus’ death and resurrection, it’s clear that Jared had a lot of fun recording the song, as did I listening to the unique offering.
“…During the songwriting and recording of this project, I’ve come to realize that a genre of music exists because a lifestyle exists. People who write country music don’t just write it, they live it. Christian music is the same. Our ears respond to our values. To be a disciple of Jesus is the highest job description anyone will ever have. I pray that my music will expand people’s imagination about God…” Though the mini-album is a joy to listen to and re-listen to; Jared Anderson’s Where I Am Right Now is too short in my opinion- once I’m totally immersed in the worship and the near flawless melodies, the songs end… Anyway, that’s not a bad thing, because it has me eagerly anticipating Jared’s full length Centricity Music label debut, whenever it releases. So should you listen to Jared’s EP? Most definitely (you can listen to the EP on New Release Tuesday now in it’s entirety!), as all of these songs are produced to perfection, and sung skilfully and with much professionalism. Though NF’s debut album may overshadow Jared’s in terms of lyrics, music and grandness; Jared should be proud of his release, and in time, listeners will love the EP too! Well done Jared, I can’t wait to hear more of your music from this next chapter in your music career!
3 songs to listen to: Where I Am Right Now, Forgiven, Almighty
RIYL: Brenton Brown, Paul Baloche, Leeland, Shane & Shane, Matt Maher