At the push of a button, the pleasant sound of the first track "More Like Falling In Love" appears, Jason's clear voice illustrating what being a Christian should be like. "It's gotta be more like falling in love/ than something to believe in/more like losing my heart/ than giving my allegiance" - words that we can all nod along with. "Everything Sad is Coming Untrue (Part 1)" brings to light the fact that God makes good come from evil, even using "Rwanda's killing fields" as an example. These first songs set the bar for the album musically, as the bulk of the collection contains happy acoustic-driven pop and folk sounds that add a cheery element to the otherwise heavyweight messages.
Gray makes some hefty proclamations throughout the record, which is one of the reasons this album is such a joy to listen to. He willingly tells of losing passion and having to start over daily in "For the First Time Again." "Fade With Our Voices" asks the church if the worship we offer only happens on Sunday mornings or if it continues beyond the songs and into our everyday lives. While some songs have rather uppity instrumental qualities (there's even a whistle or two), tracks such as these are more intense, and unfortunately sound a little too straightforward and uninteresting musically. From addressing his hesitation to open up to others in "Holding the Key" and sharing his most commonly prayed prayers in "Help Me, Thank You," Jason makes a sincere attempt at causing us to look at ourselves in a different light.
The album continues with the dry acoustic "How I Ended Up Here," (a personal favorite) "Better Way To Live" (which almost seems like a more detailed continuation of Switchfoot's "Meant To Live"), "Hold Me Back," and the soft, beautifully crafted "The Golden Boy and The Prodigal," a tale of the two sides to every person.
Jason brings the listener to a point of surrender in "Jesus Use Me, I'm Yours," and in "I Am New," expresses the desire to be recognized by the person he is being remade into, rather than the person he used to be. The album's closer "Everything Sad is Coming Untrue (Part 2)" takes on a bit of a sad tone, a contrast to its other half, focusing on the bad that spurs the good, questioning, "how could it be, that everything sad is coming untrue?" Inserting a message of hope, it manages to close the album nicely on both a lyrical and musical scale. A quiet number, it leaves the listener deep in thought and strangely calmed.
Everything Sadů is a gem. Jason Gray has written songs that are in-your-face yet tactful, outspoken yet soothing, serious yet lighthearted. More than often it is the lightness of the music itself that balances the heaviness of the messages. Quite a few tracks could excite a congregation, bringing on a welcome change from typical Chris Tomlin and Michael W. Smith-esque services. It's a uniquely worshipful collection of thought-provoking songs, and is worth an honest shot.- PReview date: 8/1/09, Reviewed 8/28/09 by Laura Cree of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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