Dream Label Group
Release Date: January 27th 2017
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
Joel Vaughn– Surrender EP (Amazon mp3/iTunes)
- As You Are
- One In A Million (feat. Matthew Parker)
- If I Trust In You
- Every Alley Of My Heart
- All Things New
Recently signed to Dream Records, singer/songwriter Joel Vaughn is an artist that you all need to stop and take notice of, if you haven’t already. Having released his debut label EP Kinetic on the same day as high profile albums from NF, V. Rose, Jordan Feliz, Phil Wickham and We Are Messengers (April 22nd 2016); Joel follows up the highly successful project with another EP, titled Surrender, dropping at the end of this month. While this release may slip under the radar initially, there’s no mistaking and denying Joel’s fervent passion for Jesus oozing throughout these vibrant and honest 5 melodies, and these emotional and heartfelt pop/EDM and reflective ballad melodies are indeed a few of my favourites of this year thus far, with Joel blending CCM and worship styles, creating an honest, raw and emotional moment of praise and adoration to our God and King. With the release centred around the theme of coming to Jesus just as we are and surrendering out entire being; let’s dive in and see how these 5 songs have spoken to and ministered to me.
Opening the inspiring and engaging EP is the lead single “As You Are”. Dirven by exquisite synth and catchy electronic beats, Joel enthusiastically reiterates that surrender to God can happen right now, not when we’ve done ‘x, y and z’. We can come to Him as we are, and ‘…. there’s never been a day, that you’ve gone too far, when everything around you, could fall apart, no, you don’t have to be stronger than you are, He wants your heart, you can come, just as you are…’. Encouraging, honest and freeing in the sense that this song allows us to rid ourselves of the mindset of ‘doing more, trying harder’, Joel then segues into the danceable remix like synth driven pop melody “One In A Million”, featuring Matthew Parker on guest vocals. As Joel reminds us that ‘…you are one in a million, you gotta know it’s true, no one else in the universe, could ever be just like you…’, the notion of self-worth and identity is explored, as we remember that our worth and identity is in Jesus, and in the security that we are unique in His eyes, not in the people around us and the things of this world.
Easily the catchiest and most ‘pop’ offering of this batch of songs, “If I Trust In You” has Joel eloquently asking God whether He will save us and be our comfort, Father, Friend and our everything if we indeed trust Him in everything that our heart desires; while the pulsating drum and bass guitar led and electric guitar prominent pop tune “Every Alley Of My Heart” highlights the notion of God taking every part of our hearts and transforming the parts that we do not like into something beautiful that glorifies Him. The EP ender is “All Things New” (nope, not the inspiring Steven Curtis Chapman single of the same name!) and is an original melody, where Joel passionately and ardently recounts that Jesus makes all things new, and that He is the Only One who can make our life worth living, the Only One who can turn our life around from boring and mundane into exciting and full of beautiful surprises. A fitting closer, reminding us of the fact that the Author of Life is orchestrating events in our lives to ensure that we are satisfied and content; Joel presents us with a timely reminder of the beauty of life and the reason why we can surrender control to God; the reason why we can say with confidence that Jesus has our life in our hands, and we trust Him 100%.
With Joel’s independent EP and debut label EP last year and the year before, I was surprised in a good way, with every song a highlight personally, and Joel’s heart for worship quite admirable. In Surrender, now that Joel Vaughn is signed, the production is cranked up a notch, even from the already cleverly produced Kinetic, with Joel’s passion for Jesus greater than ever. With songs for personal and corporate worship infused together, as well as inspiring pop melodies as well in this short but sweet playlist; what more do I have to say to convince you that this EP is something you all need to listen to? Well done Joel, I can’t wait for your next release, as you inspire people to live for Jesus!
3 songs to listen to: As You Are, One In A Million, All Things New
RIYL: Matthew West, Sanctus Real, Jonathan Thulin, Josh Wilson, Jeremy Camp