Big Daddy Weave had a successful album last time out, with Love Come To Life scoring radio hits with songs like "Redeemed" and "Overwhelmed." Beautiful Offerings will likely continue this streak, with several great-big songs right out of the gate, and some impassioned performances, particularly from vocalist and frontman Mike Weaver. However, the album dips in quality towards the back half. Though much of the production here is similar to standard CCM fare (that is to say, it's too safe and predictable), little moments, like the live orchestration that begins the title track, lift the album from the predictable to pleasant and occasionally surprising.
With the extra kick of violins and cellos, "Beautiful Offering" is a great lead off song for the album, one that soars in all the right places and will no doubt be a concert highlight for many years to come. First single "My Story" references the old hymns "This Is My Story" and "Grace Greater Than Our Sin" and does a nice job of incorporating them into a worshipful testimony song. "I Belong To God" rises above its slightly pedestrian title to reveal a groovy, yet anthemic shout-along song that should have audiences clapping and chanting along. "Come Sit Down" is an agreeable invitation for the Holy Spirit to work in a quieted heart, and "The Lion And The Lamb" shows that Big Daddy Weave can rock a mid-tempo number like nobody's business.
But after that run of tunes, the songs on Beautiful Offerings cease to rise above their somewhat generic titles. "Heaven Is Here," "It's Already Done," "I Will Go," "Praise Him" and "You're Gonna Love Him" (a groan-inducing title) barely register with any original ideas or melodies.
And therein lies the trouble. The early songs on Beautiful Offerings show that Big Daddy Weave can stretch the boundaries of their sound when they want to, but half of the songs here sound like they could have been performed by ten other bands. The sound is too safe and predictable, and the writing (while well-meaning and honest) is stale. As exhibit one, take the live cover of "Good, Good Father" that ends the "deluxe version" of the album. This song has been done by a few artists in just a short time, and Big Daddy Weave's version is the dullest yet, compared to the soaring Zealand Worship version, or the workman-like Chris Tomlin version currently making inroads on the radio.
With a history and an audience like Big Daddy Weave has, it would be great to see them take a few more chances the next time out.
- Review date: 10/7/15, written by Alex Caldwell of Jesusfreakhideout.com