Today’s praise: SCC embarks on ‘All Things New’
With 13 CDs on the shelf, it might be hard to imagine what new ground Steven Curtis Chapman could cover in his 14th.
However, “All Things New” lives up to its name. Sure, several of the songs are traditional SCC but many offer a feeling of experimentation and growth that makes this CD something truly new.
The title track, “Only Getting Started” and “Please Only You” are excellent pop tunes and likely to receive a lot of airplay. However, the slower songs give the CD much of its beauty and depth.
It’s a musically diverse disc that flows from ballads to pop tunes to rock anthems and back with a surprising grace. It takes you on a journey that rolls up and down but always delivers an overriding sense of joy, awe and anticipation.
The disc was released last week, with its debut linked to a concert Tuesday at Fort Campbell, Ky., home of the 101st Airborne Division. The division is gearing up to deploy to Iraq.
“It was rockin’,” said Cathy Gramling of the Fort Campbell public affair office.
“You had people dancing and people clapping their hands,” Gramling said. “. . . They really appreciated it.”
In a press release, Chapman said, “I hope this day and concert encourages them and can in some small way express my sincere thanks for all they are doing and the sacrifices they are making in the service of our country.”
The new CD opens with “All Things New.” After an acoustic intro that joyfully retells the creation story, the tempo builds as the lyrics describe God’s continuing action in the world and anticipates Jesus’ return to make everything new — a common theme on the disc.
Things then slow down a bit with “Much of You,” an acoustic praise ballad. But they pick up again with “Only Getting Started,” a fun account of being overwhelmed by God’s gifts. The chorus says it all: “Hey kid, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! I’m only getting started.” It’s an enthusiastic piece introduced by twangy guitarwork and propelled by scratches and electronic flourishes. It’s certainly something new.
The tempo slows again for the next two tracks: “Last Day on Earth,” which ponders mortality and serves as a call to live life with abandon, and “What Now,” which describes how we are called to help the needy. The second song evokes images of Chapman’s own experience with adopting two daughters from China when he sings, “I saw the face of Jesus in a little orphan girl.”
“Please Only You” has traditional SCC written all over it. It’s an enjoyable pop tune that says, “Let everything I say and everything I do, please, please only You.”
Crank up the volume for the next track. “Coming Attractions” soars to a new level as it anticipates Jesus’ return and proclaims, “Until that day comes, let your kingdom come in me, let your will be done in me.” It’s a prayerful but very powerful rock song that washes over the listener in waves and provokes thought.
The next track, “Big Story,” is a bouncy throwback to the ’60s. It invites the listener to “come and take your place in the story” being written in heaven.
With “Believe Me Now,” the tempo slides back a few notches. The haunting, awe-filled look at God’s power and love also contains the rich baritone vocals of Mac Powell of Third Day.
Chapman then turns to the piano to round out the disk with intimate thoughts about the beauty of heaven in “Angels Wish,” trusting God in “I Believe In You” and acting out your faith in “Treasure of Jesus.”
About a week ago, Chapman was nominated for an American Music Award as “Favorite Contemporary Inspirational Artist” — a title that he won last year. With “All Things New,” those nominations are likely to keep rolling in.
On the Web: www.stevencurtischapman.com
—Today’s Praise is a roundup of news and reviews from the contemporary Christian music industry. It appears twice a month on the Religion page.