Release Date: March 10th 2015
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Where It All Begins by Francesca Battistelli
- Power Of The Cross by About a Mile
- Stronger by Dara Maclean
- He Said (feat. Chris August) by Group 1 Crew
- What A Promise by Love & The Outcome
- Unashamed Of You by Chris August
- Give My Life Away by Big Daddy Weave
- Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us by Sidewalk Prophets
- Take This City (Feat. Joel Of For King & Country) by Everfound
- Hole In The World by Point Of Grace
- Worth It All by Meredith Andrews
- By Our Love by for KING & COUNTRY
With Integrity Music having already released a compilation album of worship songs inspired by the miniseries A.D. premiering on NBC on Easter Sunday, now Word Label Group have unveiled their own soundtrack for the highly anticipated series, titled AD: The Bible Continues: Music Inspired By The Epic NBC Television Event. With plenty of powerful and poignant melodies from established and up and coming Word artists, inclusive of 2 brand new never-before-heard songs, I am moved and inspired by this release, as I was for the previous A.D. soundtrack release as well (which you can read the review here!)
If you have been avidly following Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s projects for the past while, then you know that the TV miniseries The Bible, which aired on The History Channel in 2013, was one of the year’s most watched TV miniseries in that year. Despite the polarising content and overt Christian messages and themes, quite a lot of people loved the series, even though some viewers may not have been Christians when they saw the miniseries. And because of the success of the show, A.D. will air in April, and the show is one of the series which I am avidly waiting for (and which I will review for this site). Though some listeners may believe that this compilation wasn’t necessary, as there already is one, my point of view is different, as these are pop songs, and not worship melodies, which brings to the fore certain themes and lyrics relatable to the life of Jesus, that Integrity Music’s 14 songs do not. So let’s dive in, and see if we can be blessed and inspired as we approach the premiere date of the series on Easter Sunday!
Of the 10 recognisable tracks, one such song that stands out is Everfound’s most recent single “Take The City”, featuring Joel from For King & Country. A new radio version of the melody, the fervent, anthemic call to action, is a personal statement from the band that as Christians we should claim our city (and our country as well as the whole world) for Christ, just like Jesus did when He was on earth. With the drum and piano work being very impressive here, the song writing is top notch, with the soaring crescendo a highlight of the entire album. As words are declared that ‘…we were made for this moment, we were meant to be here, and we’re not gonna stop til the walls disappear…’, the four brothers, and Joel, are inviting us all as Christians to join and stand with them, as we see and understand why Everfound will be a force to be reckoned with musically and lyrically in the future, both in the Christian and mainstream markets!
The worship anthems and pop/rock continue and each remind us of the love that Jesus has for us, and the gratitude that He deserves because of His sacrifice for us on the cross. As soul/pop/r&b artist Dara Maclean puts her own spin on Hillsong’s “Stronger”, albeit at a slower pace and with less instruments than the more frenetic version from Newsboys; we are met with a well-constructed and sung version of a track that speaks about how Jesus is stronger than any adversary that we face, that ‘…sin is broken you have saved me it is written, Christ is risen, Jesus you are Lord of all…’. Dara’s angelic and beautiful vocals carry this song the new heights, and gives me a new appreciation for the track- hats off to Hillsong who wrote the God breathed anthem!
“Worth It All”, written by Ben Cantelon, is brilliantly sung and delivered by Meredith Andrews, a praise song of utter devotion to Jesus, driven by Meredith’s gorgeous piano playing. Lyrically, Meredith declares that God is higher and more greater than any treasure, and asks God to ‘…set this heart of fire…’ and later prayerfully declares ‘…I let go of what I have just have all of You, and no matter what the cost, I will follow You…’. This is true love and devotion, and what we all should strive to be like: loving Jesus until He is the only One we desire and we would be content if we lost everything but still had God.
The rocky inspirational “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us”, complete with stirring gang vocals and a choir, is led by Sidewalk Prophets, and is where lead singer Dave Frey explores how as Christians, we can spread the gospel, and nothing will stop us as Jesus is on our side. If there are friends and family in our lives who do not know Christ, then when God is with us, we must do whatever we can so that they may see God as their Saviour.
While rocky, this song is also uplifting and encourages us to share our faith. Group 1 Crew’s “He Said” introduces the lyrical theme of God being there every moment of our lives; even during the valleys, as Manwell Reyes and Blanca Callahan execute this truth perfectly, really hitting home on the lyrical themes of God’s faithfulness and how ‘…I might let you bend, but I won’t let you break…I’ll never ever let you go…’; and Chris August’s “Unashamed Of You” is a jazz soul Caribbean type tune with many a guitar riff; as Chris declares that ‘…I will sing about Your love, I will shout it to the sky, I will tell of what You’ve done…I’ll say that I am unashamed of You…’. We all have freedom in Jesus Christ, why shouldn’t we shout it out and share it with everyone else? Such a powerful track that also speaks about the gospel as well, Chris has powerfully delivered a sublime effort.
“What A Promise” is as perfect as songs come period, with Canadian duo Love And The Outcome providing an epic orchestral type song that Michael W Smith sometimes records on his instrumental albums, with the acoustic guitar and keys accentuating the musical elements of this God-breathed anthem quite nicely. Reminding us that God’s promises are to be trusted and relied upon 100%, and that there’s ‘…nothing we can do, nothing we can say, no; could ever take away, ever take away, Your love, You give strength to the faithful to rise up on Eagle’s wings, what a promise, what a promise…’, Chris and Jodi show us a worship anthem with their passion and an unbridled love for Jesus bursting through.
“Power of the Cross”, sung by up and coming band About A Mile (consisting of three brothers), is a story of personal faith for the brothers, as they declare the cross to be powerful and the most important facet of their life and evident faith. An inspiring melody fitting to proclaim this Easter, we can assuredly declare that what Jesus did on the cross stands forever, and has lasting impact, and the words in the chorus, where Adam poses the question ‘…what could break, what could ever separate all You’ve done for us…who could ever take away the power of the cross…’, bears much more weight and meaning. With the musically daring jazz infused anthem “Give My Life Away” from Big Daddy Weave, where the band sing about laying our lives down for Jesus; and Point Of Grace’s “Hole In The World”, a cover of The Eagles’ smash hit, rounding out the already-recorded melodies, it is the album opener and the album closer alone that makes these batch of 12 songs worth listening to as we prepare for Easter and the premiere of A.D.
Francesca Battistelli opens the album with an acoustic guitar driven and ukulele prominent inspiring melody, with a country and southern gospel twang, a genre that is slightly unfamiliar to Francesca, but she nails the delivery anyway. Probably featuring on her brand new album that might be releasing in 2016, “Where It All Begins” reminds us our faith starts with the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ and that when we finally believe that Jesus died for us, we can agree wholeheartedly that ‘…this is the spark, the start of something beautiful, this is the seed of song to usher the rise of hope, this is the not the end, just where it all begins…’. With Aussie duo for KING & COUNTRY contributing “By Our Love” as the album closer, a worshipful anthemic inspiring epic melody where Joel and Luke authoritatively proclaim that everyone around us will know about and be drawn to Jesus by our love for Him and our love for each other; Word Records has compiled a fantastic collection of songs celebrating the coming of Jesus, so that we all can live in relationship with Him. Well done everyone involved for an equally impressive soundtrack to A.D., that works alongside the Integrity Music version!
Handpicking songs directly relating to Jesus’ resurrection and what it means for us today, the second soundtrack to A.D. contains some pretty impressive artists singing well known and original songs. From Meredith Andrews and Dara Maclean to About A Mile and Everfound; AD: The Bible Continues: Music Inspired By The Epic NBC Television Event is a must for any fan of pop/rock and worship music, any fan of The Bible miniseries, or any fan of the channel NBC. Or all three. So what are you waiting for? You will find a song on the album to inspire you and possibly change your life; so dive in, and let me know your thoughts! Well done everyone involved as you minister to others in your sphere of influence!
So…is this album just as good or better than Integrity Music’s effort?
3 songs to listen to: Where It All Begins, What A Promise, Take This City
RIYL: Everfound, for KING & COUNTRY, Dara Maclean, Meredith Andrews, About A Mile