Release Date: August 18th 2017
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- I Will Praise You
- God Most High
- Without You
- Rest in Jesus
- Forever Messiah
- Your Name
- More Like You
- The Lord Who Reigns Forever
- In Your Hands
- How Great Thou Art
- On Faith Alone
“…This has been a six year project. It’s exciting for me to get the album out and for people to hear it. When writing music, my heart is always for the people in my church. I’m always thinking about them in my mind and envisioning them singing the words that the Lord has given me to write down. Over the past six years, I’ve grown as a songwriter. When I went to college, I felt the Lord saying it was time, and during that time the Lord grew and developed in me a heart for Him and for our church. I’d say this song [Without You] is a song that, as we were getting closer to finishing the album, every time I heard it I wanted to worship. I would sing the song with my arms open wide every time. It really is the heartbeat of who I am. I really am nothing without the Lord…” Robert Pierre is probably the teen artist (now in his twenties) that nobody knows right now…until now, as I reckon this new album will put him on the map in CCM- from the fringes into the centre. Releasing his debut album in 2006, titled Inside Out, when he was 14, Robert followed the critically acclaimed album with equally impressive offerings Identity (2009) and I’m All In (2011).
Now, six years later, Robert is back with Nothing Without You, a worship project 6 years in the making. For those of you who are not familiar with Robert’s music, then this certainly is a great opportunity for you to hear some quality vertical worship to Jesus. Packed with plenty of radio friendly hits and accessible worship melodies for the Sunday morning service and the wider church congregation, as well as for personal worship; these emphatic, honest, vibrant and relevant songs are sure to find a home amongst many Sunday setlists around the world, and are set to possibly provide healing and comfort for those of us who are feeling far away from Jesus. So what’s really so special about Nothing Without You that separates it from other worship albums this year? Well, first of all, there’s just something, which is on the surface can’t be pinpointed, that is truly special about Robert’s latest batch of impressive tracks. Call it God breathed or Holy Spirit anointed, but Robert’s album is indeed something to listen to. As Robert vertically sings praises to our Father, in sometimes the simplest of phrases, none of these songs come off as bland and too CCM or complicated and complex. There’s just the right number of ballads and quicker melodies as well.
First single “Without You” is an earnest prayer driven by stirring keys, and a mid-tempo ballad, where Robert passionately reiterates that he could be the richest person in the world, but if God isn’t in his life, then Robert has nothing. Reiterating that ‘…You’re every treasure, every joy and reward, You’re all the beauty that my heart could reach for; that nothing else can satisfy only proves that I’m nothing, God, without You…’, we are met with an emotional plea, one that we all should proclaim with gusto now and into the future as well, that we are indeed nothing with God, that He is our everything. One of my favourite worship songs of 2017 alongside tracks like “No One Like Our God” (Lincoln Brewster), “Bigger Than” (For All Seasons), “Shadow Step” (UNITED), “Gloria” (Stephen Christian) and “Never Let Me Fall” (Cimorelli), Robert should be proud to be in good company, as he effortlessly showcases his worship leading prowess through this song and the remaining tracks.
The other eleven songs are just as inspiring and equally impacting as “Without You”, reminding us that God is on our side and He will never leave us. “I Will Praise You” vividly describes God’s handiwork in the creation story, and His handiwork in our own story as well, where Robert exuberantly rejoices, singing out ‘…my heart is Yours and Yours alone, and I will praise You, I will praise You, You were, You are, You are to come, and I will praise You, I will praise You…’. Though somewhat repetitive, there’s no denying Robert’s heart, and the sheer inspiration that I reckon this song will draw in the future, from listeners and those who need to hear the message of God forever being for us, and loving us immensely, so much so that He created the whole Earth and created all of us. While piano and guitar led worship anthem “God Most High” simply highlights the fact that Jesus is the Lord Most High, worthy and deserving of our utter devotion and praise, and the slower paced reflective and contemplative piece “Rest In Jesus” brings back the Avalon vibes vocally, as Robert fervently encourages us to rest in Jesus, in our Father, so that we can receive all of the peace from Him, and all of His knowledge that we are and forever will be ok, as long as He is here with us.
Radio friendly and electric guitar prominent in nature, the 90’s themed “Holy” is aptly titled, as Robert imparts to us that ‘…holy, holy, holy is the Lord…surrounded by glory, no other worthy…’, that Jesus is above anyone we could ever think of, and for that reason alone, is thoroughly deserving of our praises, even when the circumstances show us that God may not be present and actively moving in our lives; while the theme of God being present in our lives, and always beside us, carries on in “Forever Messiah”, a 3 and a half electronic and electric guitar infused EDM melody, prophesising that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, and is worthy forever. The piano led mid-tempo worship anthem “Your Name”, recorded a while ago by co-writer Matt McCoy, is one of my favourite songs from Robert Pierre ever, with the simplicity of the lyrics striking similarities thematically with “Your Great Name” from Natalie Grant and “Your Name” from Paul Baloche, but nonetheless, Robert makes this song his own, as he reiterates to us ‘…Your name is strong enough to save, death could not contain the greatness of Your name…no power could ever stand against the people You defend, our hope is in Your name…’.
“More Like You” is almost lullaby-ish (and possibly the only downside- only because I almost fell asleep!), with the piano prominent, introspective melody firmly asking Jesus to change us, and mould us to be more and more like our heavenly Father, while the tempo greatly quickens with the explosive, joyful and bouncy pop melody “The Lord Who Reigns Forever”, essentially declaring that Jesus is all powerful, all reigning, and standing above and beyond time, therefore the only One we can and should place our trust in. “In Your Hands”, the final ‘new’ song from Robert, is next, and is probably the most impacting song on the album in my opinion. Hymn like in nature, the piano led melody is a standout on the album, as Robert eloquently recounts how Jesus holds us in His hands, and we can unequivocally and resoundingly proclaim that ‘…before the beginning and after the end, You are forever and I’m just a man, how could it be that You care who I am, You are the God who holds me in Your hands…’, a reassurance that our entire being can be given over and surrendered to the Almighty, and we can still rest in the promises that He is for us, because of the immense love He has shown us time and time again. Well done Robert for these hopefully soon to be timeless classics that are sure to find themselves on the Sunday setlists sooner rather than later.
“…What better opportunity do we have than to use the gifts we’ve been given to offer songs of praise back to Him? There’s no greater reward than to be able to sing a song to the Lord. It’s so exciting. Thinking back to Solomon: it is okay to have possessions, the problem is when they are on the altar of your heart. In Revelation, Jesus says, “you’ve lost your first love” to one of the churches. If the things we reference in the song are your first love, then that’s the problem. In Jeremiah, it talks about how when we trust in the Lord it’s like a tree that is firmly planted by the water and the roots will never run dry. When we trust in Jesus, the Living Water will never let us run dry as He flows within us. Things will fail us. We could have all these things, but we are nothing without Jesus…” With Robert Pierre also including his own modern updated version of the hymn “How Great Thou Art”, and a re-recording of this 2006 smash hit “On Faith Alone”, Nothing Without You boasts plenty of musical variety yet still the same heart for Jesus, as Robert shows us that you don’t have to be signed to a major record label to have success and have songs impacting the world. It is not known how long Robert will take to record another new album, so I guess let’s just enjoy this new set of tracks, and marvel at Robert’s songwriting and worship leading prowess. What are you guys waiting for? Robert’s brilliance needs to be heard to be believed!
3 songs to listen to: Without You, Your Name, In Your Hands
RIYL: Danny Gokey, Matthew West, Avalon, Cana’s Voice, Newsong, Veritas