Jesus Culture Music/Capitol Christian Music Group
Release Date: November 4th 2016
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Feroz (Fierce)
- Existe Um Rio (In The River)
- Cantamos (Sing Out)
- Teu Amor Não Falha (Your Love Never Fails)
- Teu Nome É Glorioso (Your Name Is Glorious)
- Amor Sem Fim (Unstoppable Love)
- Mostra-me Tua Glória (Show Me Your Glory)
- Quero Conhecer (I Want To Know You)
- És Tudo Para Mim (My Everything)
- Santo Espírito (Holy Spirit)
- Aleluia (Alleluia)
- Nos Ama (How He Loves)
One of the most popular worship movements over the last 10 years since their inception in the late 2000s, this revivalist culture of music and the prophetic that arose from Redding, California has become such a movement that has changed the landscape of the worship music genre in all its facets. Equally lyrically challenging and compelling as any other group like UNITED or even the music borne from Bethel Church (also in California), Jesus Culture, helmed by worship leaders Kim Walker-Smith and Chris Quilala, have become a household name. Known primarily for the annual albums they release, Jesus Culture have been known for delivering encouraging and empowering songs, from “Holy Spirit”, “I Want To Know You” and “Your Love Never Fails”, to “Burning Ones”, “One Thing Remains” and “Rooftops”, to name a few. While sometimes I reckon the movement can deliver songs that are catchy but not necessarily lyrically compelling (that’s quite understandable, considering that they release albums every year- there’s bound to be a few songs we as listeners connect with more than others); on the whole Jesus Culture have revolutionised the culture of worship music today, alongside other artists like Crowder, All Sons and Daughters, Paul Baloche and UNITED. Jesus Culture, even if we may not enjoy their whole catalogue of music, will nevertheless have some songs that we enjoy on a regular basis. So I guess it’s fair to say that when the movement decided to release their first Portuguese album, titled Jesus Culture Em Portugues on November 4th 2016; I decided to take notice. Standing at twelve tracks, we are given a quasi-best-of album of sorts, and while some songs I heard of compared to others, on the whole this Portuguese effort by the band is enough to bring in listeners of music from another culture, those who may enjoy a lot of Portuguese music, but who may not have heard much worship music at all.
So what can I say about a 12-track album where I know the songs, but don’t really understand the words? I guess the same that I previously said about other international language albums (see album reviews of Paul Baloche’s Uw Naam and Danny Gokey’s La Esperanza Frente a Mi). Uw Naam, Paul Baloche’s Dutch album full of radio hits that spanned across the years of his career, released last year, and Danny’s Spanish album (a rework of Hope In Front of Me) released earlier this year, and while I didn’t understand a word of Dutch or Spanish, I still enjoyed the reworked songs very much…I guess it really helped to know all the lyrics of all the Paul Baloche and Danny Gokey songs in English prior to listening to their Dutch and Spanish albums respectively. Yet, this new album from Jesus Culture is a little bit foreign to me. Not that I can’t worship alongside Chris and Kim, but rather, songs like the reworked “Your Name is Glorious”, “Unstoppable Love”, “My Everything” and “Alleluia” haven’t necessarily been on repeat on my iTunes playlist of late.
In fact, dare I say that I’ve only heard each of these 4 above songs only about once, so when I heard the Portuguese album from start to finish a few days ago, these four tracks were highlighted to me as ‘foreign’? Let’s just say that for me, Jesus Culture is somewhat like Hillsong- their most famous songs I know, like indeed in this album “Fierce”, “In the River”, “How He Loves”, “I Want to Know You”, “Your Love Never Fails” and “Holy Spirit”, yet apart from the very famous ones, even I have difficulty in familiarising myself with the melody and what the English counterpart of the Portuguese track is. Nevertheless, this album, if it does one thing for me, is this- revisit Jesus Culture’s catalogue before I review any more Jesus Culture best-of albums in the future. Nevertheless, I did enjoy this album very much, and I’m sure anyone who enjoys the Portuguese language will appreciate the collection of songs as well, maybe even more than me. Still, Kim and Chris’s passion throughout each of the tracks is evident, with all the songs presented to us in such fervent urgency and poignant honesty. The Portuguese speaking community (Brazil, Portugal) will thoroughly enjoy this album, as will fans of Jesus Culture and their previous music. Since I fell into the second category, I jumped at the chance at reviewing this album collection, even though I don’t know any Portuguese.
So with artists like Danny Gokey and Paul Baloche releasing international albums of late, what does it say about artists re-recording albums in another language for re-release? That music is indeed universal and ought to be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of whether we speak a certain language or not. Jesus Culture’s new Portuguese project, though not complete in terms of which songs are given the ‘Portuguese’ treatment (I would’ve loved to have seen songs like “Set a Fire”, “Holy”, “Burning Ones”, or even “Rooftops” and “One Thing Remains” given a new perspective with a Portuguese version), is nevertheless a unique representation of what worship music could sound like if sung by someone else in another country. Jesus Culture Em Portugues is a great album if you want to hear more of Jesus Culture and their songs (though in another language), inclusive of their most recent hits “In the River” and “Fierce” from their most recent album Let it Echo. Well done to both Chris and Kim for these renditions, even though I don’t understand the language at all. Here’s hoping this album reaches the Portuguese community, and encourages them in their walk with Jesus.
3 songs to listen to: Feroz, Teu Amor Não Falha, Santo Espírito
RIYL: UNITED, Chris Tomlin, Delirious?, Rend Collective, Vertical Church Band, Hillsong Worship