Today’s Praise: Rock albums focus on changed lives
Christian rockers aim a lot of lyrics at “coming undone” — or shedding selfishness, fear, addiction, pride, pain or anything else that blocks out God. The struggle comes through clearly on new discs by veterans Seventh Day Slumber and newcomers Jackson Waters.
Seventh Day Slumber launched a modern rock assault with 2005’s “Once Upon a Shattered Life,” which earned it a Dove nomination from the Gospel Music Association. With “Finally Awake,” the band steps back ever so slightly from the hard edge presented on “Shattered Life.”
The album opens strong with “Awake,” which urges turning from air-brushed magazines to real life. A bit of screaming accents “Last Regret,” about ditching “a life that only God himself could change” — a reference to frontman Joseph Rojas’ unsavory past. Growling guitars drive “My Only Hope,” which describes “crying out for something more.”
However, the new disc also demonstrates a greater reliance on acoustic guitars and softer vocals from Rojas.
“Undone” is a prayer on behalf of someone who’s shut God out of his life. “Always” is Rojas’ promise to his son to provide guidance, support and witness for God. “Every Saturday” describes the confusion and emptiness left by a death.
The disc delivers a message of hope and returning to God after slipping away. It offers a solid set of tracks, even though it doesn’t quite rise to the level of the superb “Once Upon a Shattered Life.”
The pop-rock band Jackson Waters titled its debut CD “Come Undone,” and followed through with a focus on changing lives.
The band, fronted by David Leonard, got a big break last November when the song “Center of Attention” was used on the TV drama “One Tree Hill.” The song is a slow, reflective piece that promises to wait for someone to change their self-centered ways. Jackson Waters quickly became MySpace and iTunes darlings. In March, “Come Undone” debuted strongly on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart.
The attention was worth it. The disc opens assertively with “Different,” which describes a search for love and rescue. The catchy rocker “Give Me Amazing Grace” describes God’s amazing love and forgiveness. Two of the best songs on the disc are actually ballads. “Jamie’s Song” dreams of a better life and “One More Day” encourages a friend to hold one despite discouraging problems.
Overall, the disc offers a good mix of rock and ballads that offer hope and encouragement to let God undo the angst binding up modern life.
On the Web: www.seventhdayslumber.com www.jacksonwaters.com
Today’s Praise is a roundup of news and reviews from the contemporary Christian music industry.