Wednesday, November 17, 2010

REVIEW: "Come Away" By Jesus Culture

Jesus Culture’s “Come Away” Live CD debuts worldwide on November 23, 2010.  Feel free to visit their website HERE.  Below is a sneak peak into their latest live recording (images from Jesus Culture's website):

REVIEW – Jesus Culture “Come Away” Live CD
Jesus Culture’s “Come Away” is a must listen for any spirit-led worship team!  I must admit Jesus Culture intrigues me.  Their music is not the standard verse-chorus-bridge-guitar solo-chorus format.  They intend for their music to invite others to join them in a time of worship and adoration for the Savior, which means they repeat choruses and bridges several times as the crowd joins them.  At first listen, I was drawn in.  Live albums help in that aspect because listeners easily connect with the crowd in those recordings.  Jesus Culture has an uncanny ability of inviting the crowd into their personal worship time as evidenced by how they lead spontaneous worship.

Every song has “crowd participation.”  The band backs down so the crowd is welcome to sing louder than the lead vocal on stage.  When this happens, it’s a beautiful sound.  Although the bridges and choruses repeat often, the dynamics change enough to avoid needless repetition in a live recording.  The songs are longer than usual recordings due to the live nature, yet this simply means there is more music to love and worship with.

Are these songs usable for any congregation?  Absolutely!  In reality, any Jesus Culture song is adaptable for congregational singing.  Their songs are designed that way.  My personal favorites on this album are “Rooftops”, “You Are My Passion”, “My Soul Longs For You”, “Let It Rain”, “Show Me Your Glory”, and “One Thing Remains.”  Every melody flows smooth enough that an average acoustic guitar player can choose a song, and arrange a “camp fire” worship time. 

The song order seems intentional, which is not surprising to me.  “Come Away” begins the album from the perspective of the Father inviting his children to join Him in life together.  From there, the songs move into surrender, proclamation, adoration, longing for the Spirit, and faith in the moving of the Holy Spirit.  The album concludes with “One Thing Remains” which is a perfect example of spontaneous worship.  Half way through the song, the band and vocals cut out completely, and the crowd keeps singing and clapping.  After a few bars of crowd-only music, the band’s drummer joins the crowd with the kick drum.  One by one, musicians join in, and the full band continues the song in a powerful chorus.

Spontaneous worship, when done effectively is very powerful.  Jesus Culture sets an amazing example of spontaneous worship for other worship bands.  “Come Away” is yet another amazing live recording from Jesus Culture that will not disappoint.  The following is a song-by-song breakdown of the album:

1.  “Come Away”
* Great opening song seeking people to open their hearts to God, and allow Him to move.
* A message from the Lord to his children, encouraging them to draw near
* High energy; starts off light then builds its energy through the choruses

2.  “Rooftops”
* A great song of surrender.  It acknowledges the greatness of God and futility of man. 
* The band lightens up for a sort of response time during the bridge then leads into a powerful chorus and an equally powerful bridge.
* The song ends with vocals only; the crowd sings along which draws the listener to worship with them.  Very well done!

3.  “You Are My Passion”
* High energy from beginning to end
* Song about the desire to know Jesus more
* The ending of the song cuts down while the crowd sings in the vocals place

4.  “I Want to Know You”
* Starts somewhat subdued, and builds to a powerful chorus
* Sounds like a few hooks put into one song.  Does not have the typical verse-chorus format
* I love the chorus, “I want to know you, let your spirit overwhelm me; let your presence overtake my heart.”
* Takes a while to get to the title phrase since the other phrases repeat several times
* The vocalist backs out, and the crowd sings in his place; always beautiful

5.  “My Soul Longs For You”
* Great song!  The guitar hook matches the lyric hook, which makes it very distinctive.
* Song breaks into two melodies one for male voice and one for female voice.
* Has an unconventional format; sounds like 4 phrases each repeat several times.  That may be the intention of the song to keep the format unconventional for the sake of encouraging worship and praise in a spontaneous way.
* Has a spontaneous worship moment after 5 minutes into the song

6.  “Freedom Reigns”
* Starts off soft with vocals and percussion, and builds throughout the song
* Unconventional song format
* Has a very strong chorus

7.  “Let It Rain”
* This song must be very familiar to the people in the live venue.  The crowd sang immediately as the song began.  This is evidence their music is a ministry. 
* Inviting the Holy Spirit to open the floodgates of Heaven and pour out on the Lord’s people
* Towards the end of the song, the vocals back out while the crowd sings.  After a few bars, the worship leader prays over the crowd.

8.  “Mighty Breath of God”
* Starts off soft and then builds
* Has a strong bridge then softens to allow spontaneous worship with the crowd
* I can imagine this as a “campfire song” with acoustic guitar only

9.  “Show Me Your Glory”
* Begins soft and builds to powerful chorus
* Has several dynamic changes between light and powerful
* The end of the song, yet again, drops the vocals out where the crowd is easily heard.  Beautiful.

10.  “One Thing Remains”
* I love the chorus, “Your love never fails; never gives up; never runs out on me”
* Great closing song because it sums up the Lord’s promises to us
* About half way through the song, the band stops but the crowd keeps going (singing and clapping).  The drummer keeps the beat with the kick, and one-by-one each musician comes in adding another layer to the song.  Without missing a beat, the vocalist comes in at just the right cue. 


Overall: Every song has repeated choruses or bridges.  Given the venue and the purpose of Jesus Culture’s ministry, it’s rather expected.  Since this is a live album, the shortest song is around 6 minutes (because of the repeated phrases).  The entire live recording is high energy, perfect for younger venues.  The style of the music seems much like U2 to me with heavy delay on the guitars.  Plus, there are sections of the songs where Chris Quilala sounds like Bono.  I'm not sure if this is the sound Jesus Culture aims for, but it still sounds good.  As with all Jesus Culture music, it’s a great resource to encourage the youth of this nation to search for the greater things of God through worship.

For more reviews of this album, visit

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