Aaron Shust has quite a unique story of success. Releasing his debut album Anything Worth Saying in Fall 2005, he didn't start to gain a large following for several months. Then, with the release of the single "My Savior, My God," the song skyrocketed on the charts and Shust's album rose to the top as well, leaving Brash Music feeling pretty good about signing their first Christian artist.
"My Savior, My God," clearly the strongest track on the album, is taken from the hymn "I Am Not Skilled To Understand." Shust made the song his own with a new melody and new chorus. The song has the feel of a hymn with the sound of modern worship - akin to what MercyMe did with "The Love of God" on their album Spoken For. But how do the rest of the songs fare?
The album starts with the 17-second opening "Give Me Words;" coming from a time when Shust was struggling with his songwriting, pleading that God would "Give me words… cause I can't think of anything worth saying." "Glory to You," which follows, sets the tone for the record with a contemporary sound that appeals to older audiences, but also a rock flavor fueled by electric guitar and Aaron's passionate singing.
Therefore, one of the keys to this album's success is most definitely its broad appeal. An album to which all ages can take a liking, the type of sound itself isn't profound, but its quality and variety make it stand out. Songs like "Matchless" and "Give It All Away" have a heavier sound than pop-style songs such as "Let the People Praise" and "One Day," but these songs and others like them blend together to create a well-rounded record. Other songs like "Stillness (Speak to Me)" and "Change the Way" are serene songs of prayer that also fit beautifully on Anything Worth Saying.
The best feature of the album, and one that should be done more often, is Shust's explanation of each song's meaning inside the lyric folder. He tells what each song means to him and shares the story behind each, then includes verses of scripture that correspond with the song's theme. Thus, the listener experiences the song as Aaron experienced it when he wrote it.
Anything Worth Saying is an album that deserves recognition, but also one that might often be overlooked amidst the many praise and worship artists today. Aaron Shust creates a diverse record that takes what many other artists have done before and does it even better. Anything Worth Saying is definitely something worth buying.- Review date: 8/18/06, written by Spencer Priest
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