Selah “You Amaze Us” Album Review


Prime Cuts: Be (My Heart, My Hands, My Voice), Nearing Home, At the Cross

Have you ever bought an entire CD or downloaded an entire album at the impulse of hearing a single off the radio?  You are so enamored by this one song that you hope the single is a prolepsis of more sonic greatness to come.  But after giving the CD five or six spins, save for the lead single, none of songs seem to have any melodic velcrose to stick to your memory bank.  Even after the umpteenth listening, these songs still remain distant, aloof and unrecognizable; they are like complete strangers dearth of any social skills.   This is not the case with Selah's "You Amaze Us."  Todd Smith, Allan Hall and Amy Perry have hospitably eased their latest release with a sense of congeniality, familiarity and cordiality that makes you feel like you are listening to an old friend you have not seen for years.  And each song they sing sounds like a fresh episode of conversational piece you wish it would never end.

Part of the reason why "You Amaze Us" has this refreshing familiarity is because Selah has recorded their new tunes conterminously with hymns and familiar worship songs.  In this case, they have included four hymns, namely "Victory in Jesus," "In the Garden," "I'd Rather Have Jesus" and "Just as I Am."  But they have not woodenly phoned in their recordings.  Rather, the hymn "Just as I Am" not only features Amy Perry's powerhouse melisma but it also shows how Selah has contemporized the hymn by augmenting the hymn with a pre-chorus to it.  Not only are hymns included, but the trio have also included a couple of covers, namely Gateway Worship's "O the Blood" and Andre Crouch's "Soon and Very Soon."  With regards to the latter, Todd Smith sings the African-flavored "Soon and Very Soon" in both English and Kituba.  Having grown up as a missionary kid in the Congo, "Soon and Very Soon" was the song they would sing over and over again whenever life was challenging.

However, "You Amaze Us" is more than just a nostalgic trip back to the past.  The title cut and lead single "You Amaze Us" is a slick pop worship piece that celebrates an array of God's encompassing attributes.  And those who are into triviality may be delighted to know that "You Amaze Us" is the only song to ever debut at #1 on Billboard's Christian Soft AC chart since the chart's inception in 2006.   "Nearing Home," which also appears on Allan Smith's brand new solo album, is a treasured gem.  After being invited by Dr. Billy Graham's daughter Anne Graham Lotz to sing at a pastor's retreat, Allan Hall has decided to write a song in honor of Dr. Graham.  Nestled within the homely sounds of fiddle and guitar, this gentle ballad chronicles the legacy of one of America's towering evangelist in ways that are heartfelt and challenging. 

A couple of songs were driven by the trio's passion for missions with "Be (My Heart, My Hands, My Voice)" being a standout.  While Amy Perry puts her soaring soprano on full display on the power worship ballad "At the Cross."  With a hymn-like structure that could work wonderfully in congregational singing, "At the Cross" spells out the heart of the Gospel in its gorgeous splendor without a iota of compromise.  "You Amaze Us," at the end of the day, is an amazing record.  Brimming with a broad range of themes, styles and stories, there is hardly room for any soporific moment.  And with a familiarity that comes with some of the songs, this is an album that will get you worshipping along in no time.  



Tags : Selah Selah you amaze us selah album review selah you amaze us album review selah christian group selah new album Selah news selah 2014 selah curb records Selah Amy Perry selah aaaron hall aaron hall Amy Perry todd smith

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