Prime Cuts: This is How I Thank the Lord, Unexpected Roads, Shelter
Overall Grade: 2/5
Los Angeles-based Mosaic MSC first attracted attention when their breakout single "Tremble" spent 33 weeks on the Billboard charts. As a result, the church-based worship team has become one of worship music's most seminal bands. One of the reasons why "Tremble" was such a success with Christian radio is because it has the unique ability to offer us a glimpse of the mysterious sovereignty of God within the span of the song. The excellent use of pauses, synth riffs, an irresistibly hook, and an inspired set of lyrics can do wonders for a song. Six years have passed, and the team has yet to follow-up with another hit of the same calibre. This is How I Thank the Lord, the worship collective's first studio album, is unlikely to lift that dry spell either.
This is How I Thank the Lord is the collective effort of the team after not being able to meet face to face for one and a half years because of the pandemic. However, the time of hiatus did not do much to inspire the songwriters. A few listens right through the album and nothing stands out. This is because of four reasons. First, the lyrics of most of the songs thrive on the repetition of pedantic lines. Take "Generous Love," for instance, the entire chorus is only made up of the repetition of the lines: "Your praise is always on my lips/How could I keep it in?"
Second, many of the songs canvas the same thematic ground. The titles of the songs are most telling: "How Do I Thank You," "This is How I Thank the Lord," "I Need You" and "(I Need You Now)." Third, there is a serious lack of anything substantial in the lyrics of most of the songs. If you take the time to read the lyrics, many of them sound like they are poorly written high school love poems. Here's a sample: It's amazing how You love me like You love me/Like You want me close to You/It's amazing that You love me like You do or I wanna be with You/To the end of my days/I wanna be with You/You're the love of a lifetime.
Fourth and the most important, there's a lack of theological and biblical impartation of truth in these songs. Songs, like sermons, have a pedagogical value to them. They are there to teach us about God's truth as contained in scripture. Unfortunately, there is not much these songs have to teach us about God and discipleship. A spiritual diet based on words such as I need You/I'll say it again and again/That I need You/I'm over pretending that I can do life on my own/I need You will lead to severe malnutrition. This is not only a poorly executed album, but it also teeters on being dangerous.