Sixsteps Records / Capitol CMG
Release Date: October 22nd 2021
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Shake the Dust Off
- 1000 Names
- Catch Me Singing
- Praise the Lord (Brighter the Morning)
Do you remember way back in the day when Sean Curran was the lead singer of alternative/CCM rock band Bellarive? It seems like forever ago that Bellarive even existed, but they did, and gave us 2 solid worshipful albums, before the band left with no press release about what was happening, not until Sean showed up himself in Passion Conferences and I guess now the rest is history. With no formal statement regarding Bellarive’s disbandment, nor even an official press release of Sean himself joining Passion full time in a band capacity; Sean Curran nonetheless is known primarily for his songwriting, giving us great melodies, be it part of Bellarive or even part of Passion, from songs like ‘Lazurus’, ‘Real Thing’, ‘Worthy Of Your Name’, and ‘Taste of Eternity’, to others like ‘Heaven’, ‘Almighty God’, ‘Calling on Fire’, ‘Bring Us Back’, ‘Sing’ and ‘Your Great Love’; to name a few. Now here we are in 2021, and Sean continues his involvement with Passion and their annual conferences. Sean released his debut EP under Capitol CMG titled Bigger Than I Thought in mid-2019- we as a site reviewed the album here, and I personally thought that album/EP was one of my favourite worship albums of that year. Sean was (and is) very much an artist who is poetically and lyrically inclined, and a lot of his music to date has reflected this. His 2019 album was for anyone who loves worship music full stop, but worship music in a way that the songs allow us all to enter into a space of reverence and adoration, without any worry or expectation. Now here we are in November 2021, and Sean is at it again, this time with a 6 song EP, 10000 Names.
‘Catch Me Singing’, the first song from Sean to be released from this project, was first unveiled October 2020, and was one of my favourite songs of that year- alongside others like ‘My Weapon’ (Natalie Grant), ‘Standing With You’ (Guy Sebastian), ‘Battle Belongs’ (Phil Wickham) and ‘Together’ (for KING AND COUNTRY). First hearing this song towards the end of October last year, it was really in the moment of realising that this song was very much curated and unveiled during this COVID-19 2020 season for a real reason, that made this song ever so poignant and meaningful. ‘Catch Me Singing’ is a reminder to tell ourselves to keep singing, to keep declaring God’s promises and what we know of Him to be, even during the seasons of darkness, doubt and winter, the times that we experienced when COVID-19 hit last year, and even during the everyday moments of darkness we could be experiencing right now. For the lyric line ‘…You’re gonna catch me singing when the springtime comes…’ is a great reminder for all of us, that springtime happens after a dark and toilful winter, and that good things can often occur after the worst of difficulties. For to declare that we are still going to sing when spring comes in our lives requires guts and determination, but even more than that, it requires us to still believe into the fact that God has never left us during such difficulties of 2020, and that after everything has settled and we come out through the other side, we will still be declaring God’s praise, and understand that even in such a time as this, God is using even the COVID-19 pandemic for His purposes, no matter how baffling and puzzling it can seem to people right now. The time we are in is for a reason, albeit a reason that has resulted in deaths around the world, but nevertheless, a reason, that though we may not understand right now, doesn’t mean we’ll never stop singing of God’s goodness on the nations. We know that what happens or doesn’t happen, doesn’t stop God being God, and what we declare about Him isn’t determinant on the circumstances we are in. ‘Catch Me Singing’ is a reminder of God being God, for a long time as this song points out. We declare God for who He is not because of what we may have experienced in our own lives, but rather, we declare God’s fame just because of what He has done and continues to do in our lives, over and over and over again. Co-written with South African worship leader Brenton Brown, ‘Catch Me Singing’ is a great leveler, and places God at the continual centre rather than other worship songs that unintentionally place man there instead (I’m looking at you ‘Do It Again’ and ‘I Am Loved’!).
‘Ways’ is actually one of my favourite songs of 2021 thus far. Standing tall lyrically with other songs like ‘Jesus I Have My Doubts’ (Jon Foreman), ‘Glory I Couldn’t See’ (Mike Donehey) and ‘Good, God Almighty’ (Crowder); I heard this song almost immediately upon it’s single release earlier on during the year, and was (and still is) a reminder that we ought to be never running out of ways to praise the Lord, even if we believe that the situation doesn’t even require for it. Even during the seasons of darkness, doubt and winter, there are always ways to praise the Lord, and are always ways to look at situations and circumstances through a different lens than before. For the lyric line ‘…I keep discovering the weight of Your love for me, I need eternity to tell You how much I love You…’ is a great reminder for all of us, that God’s vastness is ever expanding, and our knowledge of Him will always continue, because we as people cannot fully understand an incomprehensible God, and that ought to be very sobering. For to declare that we are never going to be running out of ways to praise God, means that in every situation we face, they’ll always be good in it…somewhere. There are always ways to be thankful to the Lord, and that there is nothing that is in our lives, that God won’t use for His glory and our good. There is a way to praise God during this- we may not see it now, but hindsight is always a good teacher. We know that what happens or doesn’t happen, doesn’t stop God being God, and what we declare about Him isn’t determinant on the circumstances we are in. ‘Ways’ is just a continual reminder of this; and carries on from where ‘Catch Me Singing’ left off. We declare God for who He is not because of what we may have experienced in our own lives, but rather, because of what He’s done on the cross all those years ago.
‘Shake the Dust Off’ is another standout single released this year, and was the latest single unveiled by Sean, prior to 10000 Names. Co-written with Cody Carnes and Brandon Lake; ‘Shake the Dust Off’ is from the Biblical references of John 16:33 (I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world) and Psalm 47:8 (God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne), and it is in these two verses that the structure of the song is formed upon. An anthem of praise as we focus our gaze on Jesus, the perfector of our faith, we are to ‘shake the dust off’ according to the track, a reminder of us to take heart, because of God’s involvement in humanity through the lens and person of Jesus, and how His sacrifice on the cross (and subsequent resurrection) means that He’s already won- victory has come through eternal life, and death is defeated. ‘Shake the Dust Off’ is a reminder, that whatever we feel that is not from God and what the Bible says about Him, ought to be ‘shaken’ off, in a metaphorical sense, and maybe even in a physical sense as well. A song that has been on repeat by me since the song released a couple of days ago, Sean’s newest is as joyful as it is declaratory, as enthusiastic as it is needed in a society that is still worried about current situations in the world right now. Shaking the dust off doesn’t dismiss these things in the world from happening, but it does create a different mindset on how to approach these issues and circumstances in the first place.
Throughout the rest of the EP, Sean continues to deliver poignant and compelling themes, packaged in a way that allows us to worship both in corporate and personal settings. ‘Praise the Lord (Brighter the Morning)’ is a reimagined version of ‘Praise the Lord (O My Soul)’, a song back in the day that was originally recorded by Kevin Prosch. Sean himself makes this song unique and his own, adding new versions in a track that still carries the essence, passion, heart, and enthusiasm that the original chorus once did. Declaring praise unto the Lord in any circumstance requires bravery, and especially during this time where everything seems to be polarising, declaring praise to God is even more needed and necessary. ‘Holy’, the last song on this EP project, is a duet between Sean and worship leader and frequent leader of the Housefires worship movement, Kirby Kaple, as this song speaks about God’s holiness as we lift up His nature in spite of everything that is going on around us; while I reckon Sean’s own unique version of ‘1000 Names’ (a song that he co-wrote with Phil Wickham) is one of my favourites off this album, and a standout also on Phil’s worship album Hymn of Heaven as well. Released also as a powerful live music video, ‘1000 Names’ is a song that could easily feature on the new Passion album; and would probably be one of the signature songs sung at Passion 2022 in just a few months. The song itself is about all the words that that can be conjured up to describe Jesus, and how He is deserving of, reminding us all that we know the King of Kings ‘…by 1000 names, and You deserve every single one, You’ve given me a million ways, to be amazed by what You’ve done, and I am lost in wonder, at all You do, I’ve known You by a thousand names, and I’ll sing them back, I’ll sing’em back to You…’ A song that has been unveiled with endless amounts of jubilant energy and fervent praise and adoration, Sean’s rendition of an already-great song, is just the icing on the cake, and makes ‘1000 Names’, both the song, and the album, one of my favourites of 2021 thus far.
Bigger Than I Thought EP was by far one of my favourite EP’s of 2019, and Sean’s follow-up EP All Of Us (All Praise) continued to assert the claim that Sean, one of the many ‘new’ faces of Passion, inclusive of Melodie Malone, Kristian Stanfill and Brett Younker; is bringing in a new era of Passion just as passionate and worship-facilitating as the old guard of Chris Tomlin, Christy Nockels, Crowder and even Matt Redman. 1000 Names the album, just reiterates the fact that Sean is fast becoming one of my favourite ‘up and coming’ (I say this in inverted commas because though Sean is not new in that he was in Bellarive before, he is a new artist in terms of him singing solo and in a genre of worship!) artists over the last few years. The ever-changing landscape of Passion, and in effect, the changing landscape of worship music and worship artists as a whole; is very exciting- Sean’s new solo music is evidence of this. A must-have if you enjoyed Sean’s debut EP, or if you enjoy modern worship music along the lines of Passion and all its worship leaders; Sean’s new collection of songs is very much a reflection on what these past two years have been for us all. Both these two EPs by Sean are just the start of a hopefully long career of music that can hopefully shake up the notion of what worship music should look like, and sound like to a new generation. Well done Sean, for giving us 1000 Names…maybe a full-length album, whenever that arises?
2 songs to listen to: 1000 Names, Ways
RIYL: Bellarive, Passion, Chris Tomlin, Crowder, UNITED