Music Review: Heart
Happy day-after Valentine’s Day, everyone! Hope you had a great weekend!
There are so many albums that would be fitting to review today. Chris Rice’s What A Heart Is Beating For. Jj Heller’s When I’m With You. Chris Tomlin’s Hello Love. Et cetera. But then it struck me: what better album to review this weekend than Audrey Assad’s Heart? The album isn’t particularly romantic, but it points to the real meaning of Valentine’s Day: the heart of our Creator and the heart of a human longing for Him. When the title popped into my head, the review topic was decided instantly. 🙂
Before I begin, I have to tell you that Audrey Assad is probably my all-time favorite artist, which means this review will be biased. She’s the kind of artist that I don’t always come out and rave about, but ever since I heard her debut album, The House You’re Building, she’s found a special place in my heart, and no other artist has managed to replace her. She has talent. She has authenticity. Her focus is in the right place. And her music is fantastic. I’m completely sold!
image from jesusfreakhideout.com.
Audrey Assad is an extraordinary singer, pianist, and songwriter. She’s released five records: The House You’re Building (2010), Heart (February 14, 2012 😉 ), Fortunate Fall (2013), Death Be Not Proud (an EP released in 2014), and Inheritance, a hymn album released three days ago, people, so go check it out! Audrey’s pure, beautiful vocals are trumped by pretty much no one in my book, and the same goes for her passionate piano playing. Her outstanding poetic and lyrical talent express a depth exceptional to artists today. These God-given talents have set her apart and have made Heart a shining star of success.
Heart is captivating, with twelve winning songs that span many different categories. I’m going to highlight half of the songs on the album, my favorites, the first of which is “Blessed Are The Ones”, peppy and bright. It especially hits home for me, because I know what it’s like to trust God for provision in different areas and to feel like I’m “planting seeds of toil and tears”. This song paints a picture of complete contentment and wholehearted praise to God through trials of any kind. “When we plant the seeds of toil and tears,” the artist sings, “it’s beauty we will sow . . . and blessed are the hungry ones.” Isaiah 61:3 backs this up completely. When I realize my need for God, joy becomes closer than ever. In any kind of need, this song is a beautiful reminder that there really is a blessing in all of the toil, and “love is all we need”.
“The Way You Move” is a slow piano ballad about the relationship between our hearts and the heart of God. The way He moves is so different than the way I’m used to: “all my pride doesn’t stand a chance against the way You move; You’re tearing up my roots and You’re breaking down my walls . . . I don’t stand a chance at all against the way You move.” This can be a scary thought, but at the same time when there’s “nothing left to hide behind”, that’s when I find myself before a Savior on my knees, ready for healing. Galatians 5:16-24 is a great passage to read while listening to this song.
“No Turning Back” is fighting for the place of my favorite song on the album. I love how it starts out: “my little heart is swelling with a song from somewhere else . . . it’s filling up with glory and I’m ringing like a bell . . . oh, my little heart, my little heart is racing . . . it’s racing just to keep up with Your love and live to tell, live to tell.“ (check out Psalm 116:12) This is a great remake of an age-old hymn, and these kinds of songs on the album keep the focus on Jesus.
“Lament” strikes me with the first line alone, “I’m Mary and I’m Martha all at the same time . . . I’m sitting at His feet and yet I’m dying to be recognized.” Story of my life, right there! (Check out Luke 10:38-42 for this full story.) “Lament” is a good portrayal of the longing in Audrey’s heart for her true home. “How long until I’m home?” another line in the song reads. “How long until You come for me? ‘Cause I’m so tired, so tired of running.” It’s a sad song, and a reminder that I need to be patient like James 5:7-8 says, but oh, it is my heart’s cry. Come, Lord Jesus, come (Revelation 22:20).
“Wherever You Go” takes the perspective of God and how He comes after us, wherever we go. I love singing along to this song, hearing this song, and the message of this song. “Across the sea, the space between, everything you think you know . . . the things you keep and bury deep underneath the melting snow . . . I’ll follow. Fathers and mothers don’t always come through, but I’m never gonna stop following you.” To be sure, it can sound overwhelming, but God always gives us free choice to accept this gift as explained in Ephesians 2:4-9. He finds us when we’re at our lowest, as the song continues: “so when your wine’s all gone and your well runs dry, just open your hands and look into My eyes . . .” What a good song.
“New Song” is the last song on the album. It’s the longing in the heart of believers for a new song when “far-off hymns and funeral marches sound the same again.” Much like “Lament”, the artist is “waiting in the night for [Jesus].” There are so many songs I can sing about Jesus, but there is always room for a new song. Just read the awesome scene in Revelation 5:6-14! Audrey Assad recognizes that she is only one voice singing for a Savior much bigger than any talent she possesses: “my words are failing, my melodies falter, my voice is breaking, my heart is burning because blessing and honor, glory and power, praise and worship – they belong to You.”
Is there a better way to end an album than with the longing and acknowledgement towards the One who breathed life into us that we may sing anew to Him? This is what it’s all about. Thank you, Audrey Assad, for pointing me to so much more than a romantic relationship this Valentine’s Day weekend.
Note: please check out this album on Audrey’s website – it’s selling for $6.99 as of this writing, which is a steal. 🙂