Prime Cuts: Your Nature, Amen (Simple Gospel), The Wind
Overall Grade: 3.5/5
At the start of the pandemic, Kari Jobe's "The Blessing" was the song for the times. While the world went into a frenzy, Jobe pronounced God's blessings upon us. Setting Num 6:24-26 into a fresh and invigorating anthem of refuge, the song has been the theme soundtrack for countless of Christians. Over the ensuing months, nations have gathered to record their own covers. A search on YouTube and you will hear a Chinese, Indian, UK, Australian, Portuguese and more international versions. Finally, Jobe has follow-up her huge International hit with her brand new album.
Recorded live at her home church in Nashville, Tennessee, the album contains 15 songs and with some songs going over the 10 minute mark, this record packs in many minutes of worship. If you like Jobe's crescendo-style of worship where she starts off soft before cresting into a bombastic chorus making way into a bridge with lots of instrumental punctuation, you will love this record. "Your Nature," the current single, is superb. Anchoring on the character of God which is intrinsic gracious and good, "Your Nature" brings a delight to the soul as we are reminded that God in his nature will never harm or remain impotent.
Following this thematic trajectory are "The Wind" and "No Fear." The former could easily be the sequel of Hillsong UNITED's "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)." The dramatic angst between our fears and God's sovereignty, the cinematic use of strings, and Jobe's emotionally nuanced vocals, make "The Wind" a standout. "Amen (Simple Truth)" is again similar to Hillsong's "This I Believe (The Creed)" in that it is a gorgeous and catchy reminder of the basics of our faith. Though the song "Rest" is also inviting, it suffers from too much ab-libs and it drags on for far too long.
The album does have a number of flaws: first, on a few of the songs, the lyrics are opaque and superficial. "Heaven Invade" presents a wonderful idea of how Jesus does radically transform our lives, but the lyrics are at best shallow: "Heaven invade/there's freedom in this place/Every heart awake/Everything is changing now..." Second, there is evidence of some lazy songwriting. "First Love" tries to capture the intimacy of Jobe and her Lord. But the lyrics seem to suggest otherwise: she does mention breaking bread with the Lord, for example, but she fails to give exposition of how such communion develops intimacy with Jesus.
Third, there is a sameness of sound that pervades right through the record. Every song seems to be cut out of the same powerhouse balladry template. Ballads may be Jobe's best avenue to channel her ability to lead worship, but when you have them repeated over 15 times, tedium can certainly take over. Fourth, with her songs already containing lots of instrumental breaks and repetitions, is there still a need for spontaneous worship tracks? On one of those moments, she delves in, albeit only for a couple of minutes, into Delirious?'s "Obsession," which is fantastic. Why not do a cover to disrupt the feeling of "sameness" that permeates through the album?