People & Songs
Release Date: April 8th 2016
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- It is Finished
- Be Exalted
- Until That Day Comes
‘…stunning voice aside, Magen is a solid woman of God who knows the Word. It is written on her heart. She has made a well-worn path to the throne room, making it an easy joy to follow her in worship…’ ‘…Magen Thurman is both a phenomenal singer and experienced leader of people. It’s been an honor to lead worship alongside her at The Heights Baptist and see our congregation respond in such a powerful way. Magen truly lets the Lord speak through her voice and music…’ With support and accolades in both these aforementioned quotes, the former being said by Jennie Lee Riddle, worship leader and writer of “Revelation Song”, and the latter being the praise of worship leader and Sixteen Cities lead singer Josiah Warneking; Magen Thurman and her music has a lot to live up to, if the writer of “Revelation Song”, and a lead singer of one of CCM’s most underrated bands (I reckon) endorse her music. So it was off to iTunes I went after reading these quotes. I figured, what would the harm be? The worst would be that I didn’t like her music, and then I’d move on to finding another new artist. Little did I know, that once hearing Magen’s voice, I decided to stay a little while, and before you know it, I heard all of her self-titled EP that released earlier this year. And let me tell you- Magen and her music is one of the most raw and honest and real and hopeful that I’ve heard in all of Christian worship music in a while- maybe not since Lauren Daigle’s debut album on Centricity Music that I have heard an artist so passionate and enthusiastic about what they are singing about. And that is a good thing. That’s not to say that all the other worship artists in between don’t have passion, it’s just that sometimes, a few artists stand tall above the rest. And Magen is one of them. So what do I make of this EP that dropped to iTunes in April of this year? A must purchase for any fan of worship music, and those who love similar artists, like Kari Jobe, Amanda Cook, or ever reliable Meredith Andrews. Let’s just say that if Magen isn’t signed by a major label this year or next year (Bethel Music, Integrity Music, Centricity Music or even Capitol CMG), then it’d be by her own choice, or the executives wouldn’t have heard the same EP that I did. Magen’s music is a gem to hear and enjoy, and one of the best kept secrets in Christian music in 2016 thus far!
How can I review an EP of three songs when each song is as strong, lyrically as well as musically, as each other? It’s like asking a parent which child he loves the most. As equally as each other? That each is unique in what they give and bring to the table? I thought so. Magen comes to the table of woship music with 3 humble offerings, each highlighting her talent as a worship leader and her heart to lead people into a place of worshipping our Father, King and Friend. Starting off with the lead single “It is Finished”, a light electric guitar leads us into the comforting lyrics of how God gave to us His blood in that of Jesus, for every man and woman, no condition attached. Fit for the church if ever there is a song right now that is Sunday-morning-like, “It is Finished” allows Magen to channel through artists like Kristene DiMarco and Amanda Cook to remind us all that you don’t necessarily have to be signed to a major record label to have great vocals…which Magen really has. In fact, by listening to “It is Finished”, I can safely say that Magen has one of the most overlooked and underappreciated vocals for any worship leader/artist within the last few years.
“It is Finished” is perfect Sunday material- not that there’s anything bad with delivering song after song that is for the church- artists like Hillsong UNITED and Chris Tomlin achieve that all the time with much success. But to have an independent artist whose song “It is Finished” could fit nicely in a Passion Conference, sung by either Chris Tomlin or Kristian Stanfill, and no one would know that it was independently made? (that is indeed a compliment to Magen of how her songwriting skills place her on the same platform as UNITED and Chris). Expect to hear a lot of “It is Finished” on Sunday worship services in months to come. A favourite worship song of mine for all of 2016? Most definitely. Of all time…we’ll wait and see. All I can say is this- Magen has a very bright future within the Christian worship music industry. Well done Magen for such a poetically emotive and powerfully poignant track, and the song to listen to if you were to pick one on Magen Thurman EP!
“Be Exalted” and “Until That Day Comes” are just as heartfelt and poignant as “It is Finished”, each of them delivering a theme of how God is to be exalted above any other, and that we ought to be in the business of exalting others and lifting them up, just as how He has lifted us up from darkness, from now until He comes to take us home to heaven. With a light acoustic framework leading into a powerful anthem full of vibrant drums and guitars, Magen powerfully asserts for God to ‘…be exalted in the silence, and in the raging storm, be exalted in the heavens, and in the depths of my soul, You are my refuge and You are strong to save…be exalted Lord…’, while it is the People & Songs anthem “Until That Day Comes”, co-written with songwriters Crystal Yates, Brandon Collins and Sean Carter, written 2 years ago, that has made a lasting impression on me, and was neck and neck with “It is Finished” regarding which was my favourite song on the EP was. With light instrumentation leading to a crescendo where Magen powerfully asserts that there will be a day coming where everything will be perfect, we are reminded that ‘… until that day comes, I will go and warn the darkness, that the light of Jesus Christ has overcome, and until that day comes, I will speak to all injustice, that the moment of its ending is sure to come…’ Magen has delivered a victory song, where we powerfully speak to the darkness that Jesus overcomes. A song that I reckon will also achieve success in Sunday morning church worship services; Magen has shown us that you don’t need to be signed to make great worship music.
What can I say about Magen that I haven’t said about her already? That she is a great worship leader, and quite possibly the only drawback of the EP is that it was too short? That she quite possibly is one of the emerging voices in worship music for 2016? Her EP may not necessarily be that known, or even that popular. But that doesn’t discount the fact of the truth- Magen Thurman is a very talented worship leader, and this EP is proof of the fact. She may still take some time to be noticed or even popular. But if she continues in her craft, something good will happen- it may be soon or not, but regardless, Magen has earned one more fan (myself) through hearing this EP. Well done Magen for such an inspiring EP. Can’t wait to the full-length album whenever it releases.
3 songs to listen to: All of them
RIYL: Kari Jobe, Christy Nockels, Amanda Cook, Meredith Andrews