In 2005, former worship leader of an Atlanta, Georgia church Aaron Shust made a humble recording debut with Anything Worth Saying on Brash Music. Since then, Shust's standout single "My Savior My God" has become one of the most popular worship songs and simultaneously a hit at radio - even picking up the "Song Of The Year" honor at this year's GMA Music Awards. And just over a month prior to the release of his sophomore record, Whispered And Shouted, Shust took home a Doves for Male Vocalist and New Artist Of The Year. With all of the attention and accolades, it naturally raises interest in what Shust will do next.
While creativity and diversity is something missing from the majority of today's worship music, Aaron Shust's Whispered And Shouted dares to break molds while worshipping with arms open wide. The record opens with an upbeat if not customary "Long Live The King," before moving into the anthemic, Steve Taylor-esque highlight "Like I Never Felt Before," and on to the memorable and earnest "Create Again." The record mixes conventional worship ("Watch Over Me," the hymn-like "The Name Of Jesus") with some more outstanding cuts, particularly the closer "Worthy / Let All I Do," the rocker "Runaway," and the melodic "Can't Hide From Your Love," which showcases Shust's vocal versatility. In fact, it's on the more epic songs like "Can't Hide From Your Love" and "Worthy" where we especially hear Shust stretch his capabilities, interspersing a falsetto at key moments for a wonderful effect. And it's these cuts, along with the folksy "Come To Me" and the nicely developed full-length version of "Give Me Words To Speak" (previously just a 17-second intro on Anything Worth Saying), that really stand out as something that pushes the boundaries of worship music just a bit further. The genre suffers from such a saturation of sameness that some of the "new" music just seems tiresome and lifeless. Not so with Whispered And Shouted. There's such a depth and emotion brought out in a song like "Worthy / Let All I Do" that brings an atmosphere of worship to wherever you may be. A lot of the music on the album seems more thought out than most feel-good praise & worship, giving the entire album an althogether refreshing feeling - even if a song like "I Will Wait" may seem out of place, if not even a bit silly in its execution.
Whispered And Shouted may not be flawless, but it's an example of the kind of direction worship music needs to venture in. Shust has delivered a sophomore hit that should appease fans of his debut while attracting those looking for something deeper and fresher than most of what the genre offers. Aaron Shust's Whispered And Shouted may be the first worship record of 2007 truly worth shouting about.- Review date: 6/3/07; PReview date: 4/10/07, written by John DiBiase
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