Release Date: October 21st 2014
Reviewed by Joshua Andre
- Changes Everything (Intro)
- The Love Inside
- Lift Up Your Head
- Beautiful Heart
- Song of Destiny
- He Shall Reign (Son of David)
- King Jesus
- I Feel His Love
- Got Something Going On
- Brilliant Light
- Cover Me
“…I love all styles of music, but for a long time I tried to shut that down because I was trying to be separate from the world, and be consecrated to the Lord. I feel like in this season particularly I’m falling in love with music again and I’m treating it like the gift that it is. That affects my writing, because I genuinely enjoy writing in different styles…” One of IHOPKC worship leaders, Laura Hackett Park is right now most probably recognized and respected for her free worship talents and her prayers, as she has many led worship in the organisation’s 24/7 prayer room for 12 hours a week. With a vocal similar to Kari Jobe, Ellie Holcomb as well as Leigh Nash from Sixpence None The Richer, and a heart of worship akin to Taya Smith from Hillsong, this talented vocalist now ventures out into recording on her own, with her first solo album in 5 years, Love Will Have Its Day, releasing via Forerunner Music this week. Though I myself haven’t listened much to IHOP and their music, it was the presence of the producers Brown Bannister and Ben Shive, which piqued my interest in this project. Was my interest warranted? Yes, it definitely is! Laura’s album is so rich lyrically, and deserves a thorough listen. There’s so much gold and treasure to find in this release, so let’s dive in, and see how that songs sound like and what they’re all about.
Starting with the electronic pop 2 minute tune and prelude “Changes Everything”, complete with loops and synth, Laura’s captivating vocals break through, as we hear the honest and vulnerable words across electronics, that ‘…I believe You are and this changes everything…’, which is as overt as Laura can be first up, as we delve into the holiness and sovereignty of God, which changes our outlook on life. The next track “The Love Inside”, led by inspiring synth and poignant keys, is a slower paced worship ballad, as Laura passionately sings about God’s love and how ‘….the love inside of You, is so pure, so right, it fills all heaven with its light…’. With the track building from a soft melody to an epic worship anthem full of guitars (especially in the bridge where Laura unequivocally declares her praises for Jesus; it’s clear that this song, though simple in lyrics, serves as Laura’s own platform to worship Jesus with all that she is. Let us hope and pray that this song can be our platform as we lift Jesus’ name high as well!
A mid tempo piano and synth led worship anthem, the catchy and upbeat “Lift Up Your Head” was inspired by Laura’s friend suffering from chronic back pain, and the song is reassurance and hope to those who need it, as we are reminded that though our situations and circumstances may not be ideal now, that God is always faithful and He is always working in our lives, that everything in our lives can be used for His glory and our good. Positive and buoyant, this song is one of my favourites, as I hear the song played with light acoustics and Laura’s distinct and powerful vocals.
The nonlinear free verse “Beautiful Heart” is next, written for a singer friend suffering from a vocal injury, with the piano led ballad a tribute for us to worship in the face of adversity, and as a call for us to stand up to the enemy and claim our lives for Jesus instead of him. With plenty of musical elements (piano song transitioning to pop anthem and back again), Laura is such a brilliant artist who knows what she wants to say and how she wants to say it. Similarly, the contemplative and reverent piano led track “Song Of Destiny”, sung from God’s perspective, allows us to be broken and vulnerable to a God who reminds us that He will carry our burdens for us, and Laura tackles the voice of God with such professionalism, aplomb and grace.
“He Shall Reign (Son Of David)”, a worship anthem, is led by keys at the start, but later on features a full band with many instruments being introduced, to create an album highlight, and reminding us how anointed by the Holy Spirit Laura is in her worship leading. Singing about how God will reign on earth forevermore, this simple track speaks volumes, and embodies the essence of the Christian faith quite nicely. While the acoustic guitar driven “King Jesus”, complete with electronics, gang vocals, hand claps and a pulsating bass line, has Laura venture into the genre of rap and gospel, something that she’s never done before musically; her versatility in genre surprise me greatly, as Laura nails the verses, as I gain a new level of respect for this unique album so far. With the song written in light of human trafficking, Laura clings onto the truth and promise that ‘…there’s a Man who’s seated on a throne and He’s coming back to bring forth justice…’, and this song is a vibrant, fresh representation of that eternal truth. Catchy and worth many of repeat listens, this song opens the second half of the album with a bang!
“Anger” is a song that I had to listen to multiple times to fully grasp and understand its meaning. It’s a track with many layers, and through the electronics and synth, Laura passionately sings about her own personal struggles with anger, and how she dealt with them. As Laura has gone very personal with this song, outlining that “…I wanted whoever hurt me to pay because they had taken from me, but then I saw a picture of the Lord stepping in and saying, ‘I’ll pay for it. Punch me instead. I’ll take the blow.’…”; we are reminded of the restorer of all our mistakes and wrongs, and that God can heals our hurts, our worries and insecurities; no doubt this song will be healing and freeing for those who hear it.
The last few melodies take a more subdue, reflective and completive turn, but are nonetheless all poignant and impacting. The acoustic guitar and keys led “I Feel His Love”, transitioning into a slower paced jazz/soul/gospel melody, is a testimony like track, where Laura emphatically cries out the explosive verses, about her certainties of the Christian faith, highlighting to us that God’s love ‘…goes deeper than the pain that I feel, His love is stronger than depression and fear…’. On the contrary, “Got Something Going On” is a contemplative ballad about her love for her husband Jonas, and this catchy melody reminds us that we always must pray for our spouse or future spouse, and always choosing to be with that special someone, through thick and thin, asking God for help and guidance always.
While “Brilliant Light” is a simple yet effective piano led tune, a worship song that has us praising along with Laura as she asks God to be filled with His brilliant light, with his joy, love, peace and Everything; this soft yet moving track segues nicely into the album closer “Cover Me”. A heavenly moment of praise, as Laura ardently and fervently asks God to cover us with His love, and under the shadow of His wings (obviously metaphorical); we are reminded that He is faithful and He is for us, a reassurance that brings us hope and meaning in this life. Well done Laura for reminding us through these wonderful collections of songs about Jesus’ unending love, and how we ought to respond to what He has done for us.
“…If I put my hope in relationships or circumstances or my reputation, I would actually lose everything. In Christ I have a hope and a future, and eternity. These songs express those themes that have resonated in my heart…” A God breathed, exemplary collection of personal and corporate worship songs, Laura Hackett Park’s sophomore album, produced by Brown Bannister and Ben Shive, has wowed me in many ways I can’t even imagine. Initially unsure about this album as I wasn’t familiar with IHOPKC; roughly 4-5 times of listening to this album later, and I am now convinced of Laura’s songwriting and singing ability that is on the same level as artists like Nichole Nordeman, Meredith Andrews and Kari Jobe. A thoroughly enjoyable album that I will listen to many more times before the year’s end, expect this album to be somewhere in my top 20 or 25 albums of the year when it’s posted online in December! For fans of worship, pop, and every genre in between; what are you waiting for? Check out the album; you will not be disappointed with Love Will Have Its Day!
3 songs to listen to: Lift Up Your Head, King Jesus, I Feel His Love
RIYL: Ellie Holcomb, Kari Jobe, Moriah Peters, Nichole Nordeman, Leigh Nash