When I originally sat down to do this review, it was set to be one post. Later, it had grown into three, which I advertised on the @psalmsandhymns twitter feed. By now, we’re at at least four posts. Today, we’ll look at the second half of the album.
There have been quite a few settings of “Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed”, from Hugh Wilson’s MARTYRDOM to the sing-songy “At the Cross”. This is an interesting setting. It’s slowly growing on me. This is the only song on the album that’s a setting of Watts’ original text.
“May Your Power Rest on Me”. Isaac Watts joins Evanescence. That’s probably a bit unfair but captures the feel of this song quite well. Piano-led accompaniment with rock drums and pads supporting a female vocal at the very top of her chest voice register. Hopefully, this doesn’t come across as a negative description of the tune; it’s very good. Lyrically, this is one of the strongest songs on the album.
Though the trial still goes on,
Your grace will be my song.
For I can bear all things when temptation springs,
For you sustain me all my days.
And then we come to “Refuge”. This song was featured on the YouTube video teaser for the album and helped make me impatient over the many months it took to come out. I could describe the simple piano-octaves that open the song or the text of reliance upon God at all times or the use of the choir in the background but that would obscure what I love most about this song: it’s just fun. Think Coldplay meets Wilco meets the Psalmist.
“We Are Changed” takes the jazzy, gospel vibes from other songs on the album and runs with it. Rhodes electric piano drives this song about the work of God in salvation. The chorus reminds me of Gomez’ cover of the Beatles’ “Getting Better”.
The final track on the album is “Savior King”, a rocking 6/8 setting of Isaiah 52.
How happy are the ears that hear this joyful sound,
Which kings and prophets waited for, and sought but never found.
How blessed are the eyes that see this heavenly light:
Our Savior King.”
Musically and lyrically, this is a solid album from beginning to end. The drumming is especially solid. I am already looking forward to “Lo-Wattage”, the next volume in this set.
In part 4, we’ll look at the question that all worship musicians should ask when looking to incorporate songs from this or any other album into corporate worship: “What about congregational singing?”