Mini Mac Music
Release Date: September 23rd 2014
Reviewed by Joshua Andre
Scott MacIntyre– Lighthouse (Amazon mp3/iTunes)
- Safe In My Arms
- Sacred Space
- Lovely Mess
- Fifty Second Chances
- Through The Eyes Of Jesus
- Hallelujah Song (feat. Danny Gokey)
- With This Ring (feat. Skylar Lane)
- Carry On
- I Am Hope
Having tried out for American Idol and placing eighth on the eighth season, Scott MacIntyre has had a pretty interesting ride and career. Being the first visually impaired contestant on the show, he bowed out at the half way stage, but never once did he fuss and complain about his predicament. In fact, academically Scott has thrived and reminded us that adversity should spur us onto relying more on God and being the best version of ourselves we can be. Scott has gained so many academic awards (see his Wikipedia page– it’s far too many to list here!), and now his new album Lighthouse released a few days ago, which outlines to us that God is here with us all the time, in our deepest struggles and our trials. With inspiring, encouraging and honest songs all pointing us to Jesus, Scott has recorded an album, along with producers Kyle Lee and Matt Bronlewee, that’s full of emotion that is thoroughly enjoyable. With a sense of surety and certainty in these songs, that depicts God as our Saviour, Father, and the only One we can call on; Lighthouse is a must for anyone in need of encouragement and building up.
Opening the track list is the title track, brilliant anchored by the light piano and soft electric guitar. Radio friendly and with Scott vocally reminding me of Jonny Diaz, this feel good worship anthem to God relays to us that fact that in times of trouble, Jesus is the One we can run to and trust because of His faithfulness and promises. As Scott unashamedly and unequivocally proclaims that ‘…You are my lighthouse standing tall and true, out of the wind and waves I’m drawn to You, You’re a beacon shining through the clouds of doubt, You are my lighthouse…’, it’s evident that he’s holding nothing back from this album opener in terms of his faith. From the get go Scott dives in and reassures us of God’s sovereignty and His love for us, with the inspiring song definitely also setting the tone lyrically and thematically for the rest of the album, as well as pointing us into the direction of Jesus.
Throughout the rest of the album, Scott brings forth his personality and his superb writing prowess to deliver an album full of uplifting anthems worthy of a second or third spin, with plenty of relevant topics explored across a myriad of genres. In “Remarkable”, which is slightly cheesy and cliché lyrically, Scott provides us hope and lets us know the truth that we are made in the image of God, and are perfect in His eyes. Driven by vibrant keys, subtle electronic effects, a powerful drum beat and potent electric guitar riffs, lyrically this melody is as great as any other from any artist in 2014, with Scott outlining that we’re ‘…more than a mirror can say, perfect and wonderfully made by the hands of Grace…’. Reminding me of Psalm 139, this song is sure to build us up and lift us up from whatever negative situation we are dealing with. The rock infused “Sacred Space”, with the synth at the forefront, has Scott promising God that he will make his heart a sacred space for God, which alludes to the part in the Bible where Jesus said that whatever we spend our most time on is our treasure. It’s a divergence of sorts as Scott puts on his ‘Steve Fee’ voice and belts out a Sanctus Real rocker, but it’s nevertheless enjoyable.
To me, where Scott shines the most is in the quieter ballads. The reflective and piano only “Safe In My Arms”, sung from God’s perspective, has Scott singing out God’s promises to us, that ‘…you’ll be safe in My arms tonight, close your eyes…’, and is a great reminder and encourager, that God is faithful, that He always keeps his promises, and that His word can be trusted. It’s comforting knowing that God is in our corner, and Scott’s distinct voice is sure to soothe and calm those who are feeling down. “Lovely Mess”, also led by the keys, is a story-song, with Scott depicting a woman who’s struggling in life, and unsure that God loves and accepts her. In the chorus, Scott vocally hits the high notes and brings chills, and he quells those doubts immediately, proclaiming that ‘…when God looks down He sees us on the inside, no matter what we’re up against, we don’t have to hide…’, a ray of sunshine and hope as we know that we don’t have to be good enough for God for Him to love us. He just does, and that’s the best news we all can hear; “Lovely Mess” is sure to bring lifelines to many, and many more to Christ.
The soft piano led lead single “Fifty Second Chances” paints a vivid picture of a ‘work in progress’ Christian (‘…I’ve need 50 second chances , and a hundred near misses, and a hundred near misses, a thousand more I’m sorry’s, and a million questions why…’), who stuffs up and continually asks God for forgiveness, contrasted to a God who readily forgives and loves without hesitation, even fi we don’t deserve it. With synth and keys, as well as Scott’s moving vocals, this song is brilliant as the midpoint of the album. The piano led “Through The Eyes Of Jesus”, thematically similar to Matthew West’s “My Own Little World”, explores our inability to see beyond the worlds we live in, and our tendency to see others very different to ourselves. We look at those different to us with disdain, and this song is a prayer to God, as Scott asks for God to allow him to ‘…love the broken hearted, let me stand for the least of these, give me strength to break the bondage, Father set the captives free…’, something we should strive to be like. Then comes the two duets, which are poles apart lyrically, however each showing us a part of Scott’s faith and commitment to Jesus.
The funky groovy song “Hallelujah Song” is a pop/soul/r&b worship anthem to Jesus, driven by hand clicks and powerful drum beats and electric guitar strums. As Scott proclaims that God is worthy above all others, Danny Gokey’s soulful voice joins Scott in the bridge, and it’s such a joyous celebration of God’s goodness, as ‘…we come to offer You the highest praise, stand up and shout the glory of Your name…’, a declaration sure to be on everyone’s lips in personal or congregational worship. “With This Ring”, sung with country singer Skylar Laine, is a piano led heartfelt vulnerable melody about the love between a man and his wife, that makes us remember our own wedding if we are married, or ponder and dwell upon our possible wedding in the future, for those who are single. While the song isn’t a Christian song, it does however vividly describe the kind of love that God desires each marriage to have, an unending love that is real and stays true in the good and the bad times. Moving and emotional, this song is a highlight, and beautifully sets up the last couple of songs.
While the pop tune “Carry On” is an earnest prayer for strength and grit, as we ask God to help us in our walk of life as we carry on despite our trials and tribulations, the final song “I Am Hope” is the track that literally brings tears to my eyes. A solemn, calm piano led semi-autobiographical track, Scott wrote this song in support of kidney donation, of which Scott himself is a recipient of a kidney, and in the midst of another transplant. And it’s the lyrics that move me and inspire me the most. As Scott sings once again from God’s perspective, he encourages us, singing ‘…don’t ever settle for defeat, just hold your head up and believe, as long as you are breathing, there is hope…’. Jesus is right here beside us through thick and thin, and I think that is the take home message of the whole album summed up in a emotional and personal song. Well done Scott for passionately voice your faith through music and reminding us that Jesus is always with us!
An artist whose musical prowess is only going to increase his stature and popularity in the mainstream and in the Christian industry, Scott MacIntyre’s album Lighthouse is a breath of fresh air, as this singer/songwriter’s album is one of the most impacting and encouraging releases this year. Certainly one of my favourite albums of September, and maybe of 2014 so far; fans of Jonny Diaz, Steven Curtis Chapman and Tenth Avenue North will love what Scott has to offer. With ballads and upbeat tracks in abundance, there’s no time to hesitate everyone! Check out this album pronto, and be amazed by Scott’s amazing heart for Jesus and his contagious optimism!
3 songs to listen to: Safe In My Arms, Through The Eyes Of Jesus, I Am Hope
RIYL: Jason Gray, Jonny Diaz, Tenth Avenue North, Steven Curtis Chapman, Steve Fee