Reviews
Tides by Bethel Music: a review
Sep 26, 2013
4
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BETHEL MUSIC   Just like London and Australia's Hillsong Church, Bethel Church in Redding, Calif. has a formidable music ministry. It is led by worship Pastors Brian and Jenn Johnson. Over the years, they have released records that have become a significant instrument of worship and a force in the CCM scene. Though they have numerous live albums, they are just releasing their first studio album, Tides. Tides is a first and a wonderful one at that. Tides is an album that advertises what hope and faith in God should be like--an album that doesn't hide human imperfections and weaknesses, but one that admits we are broken and our only strength lies in the hands of the Creator. Ultimately Tides mirrors the art and heart of a worshiper. Tides features expressions of passionate emotions, anthemic declarations and sometimes surprising experimentation. It also features Jeremy Riddle (who co-wrote the Dove Award nominated single "One Thing Remains"), Matt Stinton, Steffany Frizzell Gretzinger (who both have an astonishing voices), William Matthews and Hunter Thompson. [pullquote_right]Tides is an album that advertises what hope and faith in God should be like, an album that doesn't hide human imperfections and weaknesses but one that admits we are broken and our only strength lies in the hands of the Creator who indeed can calm the sea storms.[/pullquote_right] The lead single "Chasing You" which has already gained audience approval and doing well in the Christian charts is a beautiful retro female pop/rock theme tune which in some strange way reminds me of another incredible tune released earlier this year by Hillsong's United titled "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)." The catchy song centers on seeking God and looking a relationship with Him. "I'm chasing you. I’m so in love. Captivated. I just can’t get enough. I’ll spend my days running after your heart." The song is passionately performed by Jenn Johnson. [pullquote_right]Ultimately Tides mirrors the art and heart of a worshipper[/pullquote_right] Jeremy Riddle performs "Breaking Through," a song he also penned, in an energetic and lively manner. Jeremy sings about the power of God's love. He also performs "Heaven's Song" which unlike Breaking Through is a bit mellower; it also had a better arrangement in my opinion. Heaven's Song is a celebratory worship song to God. "Holy holy God most holy, worthy to receive all glory, heaven shouting as we glorify" he sings. Jeremy Riddle keeps getting better and better as not just a songwriter but also an artist. "Forever" really stood out for me, that is after several listens it is one song that I can say gets better on every listen. Forever is written by Bethel's leading vocalist and Pastor Brian Johnson himself and co-written by the talented Kari Jobe. The track features Brian’s soaring vocals fueled by sincerity and adoration, with a excellent instrumentation highlighting God's greatness. Forever will be another widely accepted song. I have always loved Steffany Frizell Gretzinger's voice. I remember falling in love with her voice when I first heard it, and I stay in awe of her voice in "Letting Go" which she also penned. The A-Z of this song is about "letting go and letting God," she sings so beautifully and soulfully. The chorus is easy to follow and learn, by the time I gave it a second listen I was singing along and really getting into it. However, staying on key was a bit challenging, so Steffany did an amazing job singing this song and staying on key the entire time. It is a song that is easy on the ears and one can easily relate to it. [pullquote_left] Tides is cohesive in nature allowing the listener to take in the sound, the vibe and the message while glorifying God. [/pullquote_left] Steffany does her thing again in "Be Still" a song so serene, powerful, spirit-filled and encouraging. The direction which Steffany took on both songs is that of reassurance and learning -learning to trust God, to let go and let God. "Come Awaken Love" performed by Hunter Tompson and "Strong In Us" performed by Brian Johnson are both lively anthemic rock songs that will rock an arena. Not particularly my favorite as the song somewhat feels like a lot of songs we have heard this year. Jenn's voice is filled with urgency, trembling, and longing as she sings "I Can Feel You," I had goose pimples on first listen to this. Jenn does such a good job vocally and emotionally with this song as her emotions can be felt which in turn translate well to what this song means - which is feeling Jesus all around us. We get to hear Jenn sing through several vibes in one song from soul to retro pop and to jazz. "Give Me Jesus" by Matt Stinton just may be the most daring out-of-the-box sound on Tides. Matt takes the old African spiritual "Give Me Jesus." and switches it up turning it into this impeccable modern day number. Think - Owlcity or An Epic No Less. Sonically and vocally it’s an exciting and thrilling song. William Matthews get his turn on this musical experience in "Ascend," my favorite part of this song is when he croons during the refrain/bridge. Forgive me if I'm stereotypical but I was hoping Williams's vibe will tilt more to urban gospel (which would have been refreshing to hear) rather than pop or rock. All the same it is an enjoyable song which I also feel would have been better.. "For The Cross" is the icing on this musical cake. Brian and Jenn collaborate on For the Cross to give this album a befitting close. Brian starts out mellow and then Jenn spices it up energetically. The theme of the song centers on the cross, the purpose of Christ's death and an appreciation for His sacrifice. "Though our sins are scarlet you've made it white as snow" Jenn sings as Tides come to an end. Tides in a lot of ways remind me of Hillsong United's Zion album. It is very bold, very different and very daring, being almost retro with a lot of synthesizers, neatly and carefully mastered. Tides is an album that will challenge worship leaders as well as sound geeks. Tides has an array of incredible vocalists and talented songwriters, so there is absolutely no surprise that this album is this sound; however, the surprise lies in the direction they went with the sound - a good surprise that yielded a great output. Tides is cohesive in nature allowing the listener to take in the sound, the vibe and the message while glorifying God. One last thing. I hope Tides (or the songs on Tides) will have an acoustic, unplugged, stripped version some day. My Pick Chasing You Forever Letting Go/ Be Still I Can Feel You Give Me Jesus For The Cross Heaven's Song

Get the album on Amazon

Watch the official lyric video of "Chasing You" below This review also appears on The Underground Site

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There are 4 comments

  • Andrew Mason says:

    “Tides is cohesive in nature allowing the listener to take in the sound, the vibe and the message while glorifying God.”

    Nice review, thanks! Always loved Bethel music. Listen to a lot of their stuff during morning devotions. Need to buy this one now 🙂

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