Provident Label Group / Story House Collective
Release Date: April 10th 2020
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Take Heart
Matthew West is by far one of my favourite CCM artists at the moment. Delivering poignant songs and melodies, often about other people’s lives, while presenting the songs in a way that humanises the stories sung through song, we see, what I reckon, is this generation’s Steven Curtis Chapman. Releasing albums aplenty where the main goal for him has been to draw inspiration from other people’s stories, that he received via letters, emails and other various letter/email-sending apparatuses, and then write songs about them for people to connect towards; Matthew’s melodies over the years have been ever so poignant, with standout songs over the last few years being that of ‘All In’, ‘Broken Things’, ‘Day One’, ‘Mended’, ‘Grace Wins’, and recently as of last year, ‘The God Who Stays’. Now a veteran and mainstay in CCM, Matthew’s at it again, releasing his first song under the strict guidelines of social distancing and quarantining protocols because of this horrific COVID-19 pandemic, and yet his song (which is accompanied by a powerful live music video- each of the band members are from their homes and the video filmed through digital video software a la Zoom) is one of 2020’s best and most inspired. ‘Take Heart’ is the title of this 3:14 powerful hit, and a song that’s destined to become a fan-favourite in online concerts as well as real-life concerts (whenever they return), with Matthew reminding us all to never lose heart in this pandemic, but to lean on Christ, more than ever.
‘Take Heart’ could go to radio even now, or when the pandemic is over, but regardless of whether the song would have radio charting status at the end of it all is immaterial- the song itself brings us all comfort during one of the most uncertain moments in time throughout modern history- with this virus virtually crippling the globe and halting almost every industry known to man at a standstill, music has been the comfort for many people quarantining in their own homes- either by choice or mandatorily forced. Nevertheless, songs have been what we’ve clung onto during such a crisis, and upon hearing ‘Take Heart’, I imagine this song would also be such were people cling onto, as the weeks and even months progress. As Matthew himself relays to us, ‘…songwriting has always been my way of working through what I’m feeling. It has always been my go-to when I’m having a hard time with the world I see outside my door. These days, we are all being told to not even step outside our doors, and the world sure feels like a scary place to be. I’ve been hit with waves of fear, doubt, anxiety, even sleeplessness. But I’ve also been hit with waves of gratitude, perspective, compassion and love…’ ‘Take Heart’ gives us all a reality check- that the God we serve has overcome this virus, when He conquered death and the grave all those years ago. Yes we have to take precautions in relation to social distancing in the heat of such a widespread pandemic, but we ought to rest assured in the hope that even this virus shall pass, and we will be on the other side, confident in Jesus, knowing full well that He is working everything, including such a horrific pandemic, for our good and His glory.
Matthew’s most recent album Brand New is one of my favourite albums of his, with standout songs like ‘Brand New’, ‘Man Who Needed Grace’, ‘Not Today’, ‘Grace Upon Grace’ and the first single from the album, ‘The God Who Stays’. Now here we are with the song ‘Take Heart’…is it an additional track on Brand New for a deluxe edition of the album that’s coming soon? Or just a single released from a new album/EP in the works, or just a single, full stop? Not sure, but what I do know is that this song is Matthew at his best- delivering a Biblically sound joyous anthem of us being reminded of Bible verse John 16:33, where Jesus Himself declares that in the world, we will have difficulty, hardship and trouble, but we all should take heart and not worry, because He has overcome it with the death and resurrection. And that, and that alone ought to be reason enough to celebrate. Well done Matthew for such a powerful and poignant melody, a song that’s certainly to be on my Spotify playlist on repeat for the upcoming weeks and months ahead!
RIYL: Rascal Flatts, Tauren Wells, Big Daddy Weave, Royal Tailor, Tenth Avenue North