Release Date: October 25th 2019
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- The Same Jesus
I have always admired the tenacity of which Matt Redman delivers his music over the years. Such emotion and power that I’ve seen over the years with his music, that I have come to respect and admire one of today’s most influential worship leaders of both today and yesterday, as songs like ‘Blessed Be Your Name’, ‘Once Again’, ‘Dancing Generation’, ‘Holy Moment’, ‘Let My Words Be Few’, ‘The Father’s Song’, ‘The Heart of Worship’ and ‘Undignified’, to name a few; have all shaped the worship music landscape into what it currently is today. While Matt may not be as popular now in the worship music industry (leave that to global worship movements like Bethel Music and Jesus Culture to be popular now), he still keeps chugging along, releasing albums every few years apart. Here we are now in 2019, and Matt unveiled to us arguably one of his very best, in ‘Always Grace’ a few months ago- the song being the exclusive theme song of the forthcoming faith-based movie PALAU, based upon the life and ministry of evangelist Luis Palau. Now here we are again at the end of the year, this time Matt has delivered to us yet another single- this time ‘The Same Jesus’, his first on Integrity Music.
Sadly, and I mean this in the most utter respect that I can give Matt period…the song’s not really all that engaging to me at the moment. Sure there are the trademark Matt Redman vocals and choruses and lines, and the passionate enthusiasm that we all know Matt to have. Yet I’ve felt that this song has been recorded before…just under a different name and a different artist- ‘The Same Love’ by Paul Baloche is a fitting example of this theme. The repeated refrain of ‘I know that my Redeemer Lives’ reminds me so much of the Hillsong track from yesteryear that it isn’t funny anymore- and therefore it pains me to see Matt deliver such songs now when I know he is indeed capable of creating songs that speak to the heart of listeners- his previous songs within the last decade or so are testament to this. But what I will say from here on end is this- the song itself is ok, and if you haven’t heard much of Matt’s previous material, you’d even say it’s borderline good. But the repetition of the lyrics, the constant ‘woah’s as well as the recycled themes that I know I’ve heard on previous albums and previous artists, is what brings the rating down. It’s not a complete fail, because of the reputation of Matt Redman himself, but having said that, because it is Matt himself, I sadly expected much more than what I heard. Still, others may enjoy this song immensely and that’s ok. I may come to appreciate this song in the future too, and that’s ok as well.
But where it stands, I’m not feeling it much, but then again, who am I to say anything? Maybe I’ll just reserve my own assumptions and judgement to when Matt’s new album comes next year sometime. And yet even though I’m not connecting with the song as much as I’m sure other people are, the message of it nevertheless is something we all need to hear in this troubled time and season of life. As Matt himself explains, ‘…I love that when we worship Him in the here and now, we’re worshiping the same Jesus who spoke creation into being, the same Jesus who walked the earth, who went to the cross, who rose again and is coming back again. It’s a beautiful thing that we get to worship the God who was, and is, and is to come. The God of yesterday, today and forever! …’ Matt Redman’s reputation and respect as an artist is not going to be tarnished forever because of this one song. Even if it isn’t my cup o’tea, others may enjoy it, and that’s perfectly valid. Here’s just hoping, that Matt’s newer material can be more artistically engaging and unique, as Matt continues to remind us that his career is far from over- if there’s one thing to takeaway from this mixed-bag song, is that Matt’s job in the CCM worship industry is not done yet!
RIYL: Chris Tomlin, Christy Nockels, Crowder, Bellarive, Kristian Stanfill