Worship music is nothing out of the ordinary for Grammy Award-winning 24-year-old Rebecca St. James. Since the inception of her music career over a decade ago, Rebecca has been recording hopeful, praise-soaked pop/rock music for peers looking for hope and answers. With her decision to record a worship project following her 2000 release Transform, it comes as no surprise. Rebecca's all about worship. And her 2002 Worship GOD album redefines it.
With the worship music movement still in full throttle, finding music to praise our Creator with that we truly like and can relate to is becoming easier and easier. With an abundance of the same kinds of worship music being on the shelves, it's completely refreshing to hear such projects as Audio Adrenaline's more vertically-written album Lift, Justin McRoberts' Untitled EP, and select recent songs from Skillet, Newsboys, and the Supertones, to name a few. Rebecca's Worship GOD fits in the mix nicely, presenting some old favorites and new will-be hits via fresh, upbeat edgy pop/rock.
The album opens with acoustic guitars, drum loops and strings setting a traditional feel, before buzzing electric guitars break in to liven up the Matt Redman-penned "Let My Words Be Few." St. James' voice is unmistakably showing more and more signs of maturity with each recording. Her voice is more firm and confident than before here, making it no wonder she's one of the most popular female vocalists in Christian music today. "Song of Love" is the first of four original offerings (not including a remix at the close of the record), a tune just begging to be used in your church's worship services. The only problem I found with the song was, prior to hearing its final product, I had gotten to used to how it sounded on the prerelease. For the final release, strings were added, the live drums were replaced by electronic ones, and the prominent electric guitars are toned down to the point of being almost unnoticeable. Still an awesome song, the changes will certainly make it more appealing to a wider range of listeners, but I'm sad to see the original go. (for a clip of the prerelease version, click here)
RSJ offers tasty new spins on the hits "Breathe," and "Above All" as well as other known songs, "Better Is One Day" and "More Than the Watchmen." She also takes the City On a Hill original "God of Wonders" and uses a fresher more contemporary pop approach. "Lamb of God" is another new song by Rebecca which seems to be the only song to have any slight relation to the sounds of her last album Transform. Worship GOD has more of the raw pop/rock sound that her 1998 album Pray had, but with a lot more polish, and the perfect added ingredients of strings and occasional electronic flavoring. "Quiet You With My Love" is one of the edgiest songs, a rock track that does nicely on the record as a song sung through the eyes of God to us, eager to quiet and calm us when we come to Him. "Come to Me/ All who are weary/ And I will give you rest/... I'll quiet you with My love/ Rejoice over you/ With My song/..."
"It is Well" is a surprise cover on the project. While all the renditions of this song that I've heard have been soft and somber (including my personal favorite rendition of the classic hymn by Audio Adrenaline), Rebecca puts a more edgy twist on the song. For the chorus, her layered vocals are accompanied by a faster-paced beat than the norm as well as electrics and synths. Interestingly enough, Rebecca layed down the vocal track to this song in the studio on September 11th of last year. "We were meant to record vocals that day," Rebecca explains in a press release, "but just even thinking about doing vocals was such a challenge because of the current events... I ended up deciding the song "It Is Well," which was birthed through tragedy, seemed incredibly appropriate to record that day."
Worship GOD draws itself to a close with a cry from her heart in "You." "To be like You/ Is what I want Lord/ To be like You/ Is what I ask for/... Cause at the end of the day/ This is what will remain." Hidden, tucked away in track 12 is a hard rocking remix of "Omega" from her Pray album. Fuzzy guitars pound out what is probably Rebecca's most aggressive recording yet. A nice treat to seal the deal.
Rebecca St. James has outdone herself on Worship God. She has set a new standard for modern worship here. Miss out on this project and you may miss out on an incredible worship experience.- Review date: 2/23/02, written by John DiBiase
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