Prime Cuts: You Are Here, In Rhythm, King Among Men
Overall Grade: 3/5
If Justin Bieber or Ariana Grande were to release a worship album, this would be it! SEU Worship's "A Thousand Generations" is a worship album made for today's Millennials. Its synth riffs and cool beats that permeates right through these cuts updates worship music to day's pop sound. SEU Worship is the worship movement coming out of the campus of Southeastern University in Lakeland. Florida. "A Thousand Generations" is the team's debut full-length album for Provident Music, following the release of their EP last year. "A Thousand Generations" thus include the songs from last year's EP, bulking up to become a record of 17 cuts; a generous offering especially in this digital age.
Though this record be entitled "A Thousand Generations," the songs are more domesticated to the sounds of this generation. "Glory Come down" with its synth-manufactured flute sound and its cascading drum sounds, would not be foreign on the new Jonas Brothers' record. The rousing "Freedom All Around," which borrows musical progressions from Hillsong Y&F, is the perfect invitation to a worship party. Despite its Hebraic title, "Yeshua" sounds more like it was made for the urban dance floor than for the Jewish soils of Palestine. Among the more propulsive entries, current single "In Rhythm" is perhaps the lodestar. Featuring an irresistible melody, worship leader Olivia Grimes urges our hearts to beat in rhythm with that of Jesus'.
However, the team doesn't just let worship twirl around the dance beats. David Ryan Cook does pen what can be a great Christmas/Advent hymn "King Among Men." The song's slow melodic build up to give description to what the incarnation of christ means is stunning. Not bad too is the Sydney Wilson-led "You Are Here." Sydney's use of her various vocal intonations bring out nuances of the song that is noteworthy. Sounding like a song Hillsong UNITED's Joel Houston would write, "Glimpse of You" has a haunting ethereal feel that draws us in to who Jesus really is.
Lyrically, the songs reflect what is typical of pop music today: they are conversational bereft of much (or any) poetic and biblical allusions. Without much overt interactions with Scripture, many of the songs sound more like love songs with Jesus taking over the pronouns. Though it's not wrong to sing love songs to Jesus, there is a lack of authority and depth when all our worship vocabulary tilt towards this direction. Though a case can be made for worship music to be conversational, without any poetic nuancing, there's a lack of memorability to these songs. This record may speak to today's generation, but will they still sing and sting two generations from today?