Release Date: May 6th 2014
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Never Alone
- On the Inside
- Come Home
- Give You the World
Originally ¼ of CCM/pop quartet Anthem Lights, vocalist Kyle Kupecky left the band to much of the Anthem Lights fan’s disappointment, and while in some respects, it hasn’t been the same without him in the band, Anthem Lights have nevertheless made a fairly successful second album in You Have My Heart, with the addition of Joseph Stamper to be a regular member in Kyle’s place. With Anthem Lights continuing to bring new listeners within their fanbase as each new cover/original song is recorded and released; Kyle Kupecky on the other hand has tried his hand in new music as well. With his debut self-titled EP released a week ago (May 6th); Kyle’s first music collection as a solo artist is something that will be thoroughly enjoyed and respected by listeners of Anthem Lights, as well as listeners of CCM/pop that enjoy someone who loves to incorporate styles of various different artists into the EP, from Matthew West and Chris Tomlin, to Kutless. While each of the five tracks may seemingly be rather un-unique in its musical approach, as compared to other more musically sophisticated artists like Rend Collective, Bebo Norman and David Crowder; Kyle’s heart to bring hope and encouragement to listeners is evident in the songs. One of the most underrated EP’s of the year (maybe the fact that he was in Anthem Lights), Kyle nevertheless gives us a moment of understanding, as we hear one of the most standout EP’s within these last few months.
The first single on the album, “On the Inside” debuted as a music video late in 2013, and while the video was seemingly unimaginative (singing in a field and in a barn), the song itself is arguably one of the best songs on the EP. Speaking about how we, whether Christian and follower of Christ or not, are broken beyond repair and that the only way for us to turn around is the realisation that we need assistance and help, Kyle opens up to provide one of the most vulnerable lyrics since The Afters’s “Broken Hallelujah”, in how ‘…I may smile for the camera, I might fool my friends with laughter, but underneath the lies, you will find the truth that hides…’ A song that gives us a chilling and sobering look and what we all may feel like on the inside of our lives, even though we may not even show it, “On the Inside” is a call for us to uncover and reveal our hurts and pains, knowing that Christ has borne them on the cross and we don’t have to carry them longer than necessary. A piano led melody that is just as radio friendly as it is emotive and poignant; “On the Inside” is the backbone of the album, as we as listeners discover the very depths of ourselves, and know that God carries the grace for us all to embrace.
“Come Home”, the piano only track, encourages us to all come home to the grace that is enveloping us as Kyle sings in his best ‘Chris Tomlin’ voice, and while at first can seem like the oddest song on an EP full of lively and upbeat inspirational melodies, ‘Come Home’ is actually one of the songs on the EP that I enjoy the most. A song that I reckon would be right at home for Chris Tomlin to sing, we are reminded by the chorus that God tells ‘…me You love me, and You say to me, it’s never too late wherever you are, no matter how far, you can still come home…’, with Kyle presenting to us the lyrically strongest song on Kyle Kupecky EP.
“Give You the World”, “Plans” and “Never Alone” are the remaining three tracks on the EP, and while each of them didn’t leave that lasting impression on myself that the aforementioned two above did, these three tracks still give us glimpses into the personal life of Kyle and what he hopes to bring to listeners through his songs (encouragement, inspiration, comfort, confrontation, hope and the certainty that God’s plans always prevail). “Plans” is a 3 minute melody of pop goodness complete with ‘woaahhh’ sounds and a looping percussion as Kyle addresses the issues of us worrying about our lives. Instead, we ought to know that ‘…He’s got plans for you…’, and that everything that we experience is us learning and becoming more resilient as we uncover what was meant for us to achieve and accomplish that was set for us even before the dawning of time itself. “Never Alone”, again using a piano hook to draw listeners in, tells us of a theme that can be familiar as the air we breathe outside- that we’re never alone in this life. And while this theme can be sung about to death (“You’re Not Alone” by Meredith Andrews, “Never Alone” by BarlowGirl, “I Am Not Alone” by Natalie Grant, “You’re Not Alone” by Marie Miller); Kyle nevertheless delivers one of his best vocal performances to at least give us yet another song for us to hold onto and remind ourselves during situations where we believe at that point in time that we are in fact, alone, even though we’re not.
Ending the EP with “Give You The World”, a love song for his wife, and a moment for each of us to see that the love expressed in the song is what God is singing over us; Kyle’s 5 tracks are a symbol of hope and encouragement as each song within the EP portrays something new- about Kyle, about us, about God and everything else that He longs for us to understand and believe. While he will be sadly missed from Anthem Lights, Kyle’s solo material is just as strong, one that will be loved, enjoyed and hopefully purchased by fans, not only of Anthem Lights, but also of his own music, and music of his contemporaries like Chris Tomlin or Matthew West. While this EP may not necessarily be my favourite of the year, it does do a job well- showing us all the truth that ‘…I know what’s in your heart and I can see you for who you really are, I’ll fix what’s broken on the inside…’ (“On the Inside”). Well done Kyle for such an enjoyable EP, and a great precursor to whatever comes next.
3 songs to listen to: On the Inside, Plans, Come Home
RIYL: Anthem Lights, Chris Tomlin, Phil Wickham, Matthew West