Prime Cuts: If Not for Christ, Let Me Love You, Move
Overall Grade: 3.5/5
There are reasons why the release date of Lincoln Brewster's Perfect Love was pushed back a couple of times last year. Perfect Love was originally scheduled to be released by Integrity Music in early 2020. Due to the pandemic, the album's release date was extended by a few months. Later, when none of the singles "Who I Am," "Nobody Like You," and "Move" gained traction with radio, the album was delayed indefinitely. Finally, Integrity Music has set April 30th, 2021 as new release date. This is in stark contrast with Brewster's previous non-seasonal album, God of the Impossible. The 2018 release saw three top 30 hits, including "No One Like Our God" (#14), "Everything" (#27) and "While I Wait" (#28).
One listen to Perfect Love and the real reason for the push back comes apparent. God of the Impossible is easily Brewster's best album in his catalog. The guitar playing on tracks like "Deep Down (Walk Through Fire)" and "Amazing God" is without parallel. The songwriting is exquisite, with ballads like "Loyal" and "While I Wait" being specimens of perfection. The songs on Perfect Love sound like rejects from the God of the Impossible sessions. Perfect Love has a decidedly more keyboard-centric feel with Brewster's deft guitar virtuoso taking a backseat. But the major problem is with the songs. They don't possess the same immediacy as the songs on God of the Impossible.
"Who I Am," the lead single from the project, was released way back in 2019. The song is a poor attempt of re-writing Hillsong Worship's "Who You Say I Am." The melody is average and the lyrics pan for its lack of originality. "Nobody Like You" is a poor (and desperate) attempt of using Brewster's hit song "No One Like Our God"as a template. "If Not for Christ" is by no means on the same wavelength as Brewster's "While I Wait," but it does have a beautiful hymn-like melody, making it the best ballad (and song) on this recording.
Though the album pales in comparison to God of the Impossible, there are still some fine moments. "Move" is more redemptive, in that Brewster sounds more inspired. And the piercing percussion and Brewster's striking vocals are the song's strongest points. If you like Brewster's lighter pop shuffles, "Let Me Love You" is excellent. The detailing of how grace works is simply stunning: It's never too late, you're never too far gone/Might've lost faith, but you could never outrun grace so free/I'll show you the way home, I can still reach further than your feet go/Let me love you."
Not to be missed is the title track "Perfect Love." Though the song borrows many of the chords from Brewster's earlier effort "Loyal," "Perfect Love" finds Brewster at his vocal best, nuancing with great affection our father's love. By itself, Perfect Love is an above the average worship album. But coming on the heels of God of the Impossible, most of the songs sound like rejects from the first round. Maybe the two albums were made too closely together; perhaps some time and space between albums might be helpful.