The tireless worship duo, Shane & Shane, continue to release content at lightning speed, with at least two albums to their name annually in one form or another. It's amazing to me that, while their style of worship music is fairly standard, they've managed to keep hammering out solid additions to the worship music community, with an even greater contribution to worship teams around the world via their Worship Initiative. Their latest endeavor, Worship In The Word, sees the duo delving into children's music under the alias "Kingdom Kids," though for the most part it's tough to differentiate between the two. Actually, in my opinion, there's nothing here that screams "kids music" or is even substantially different from usual S&S material.
That's not to say this album's bad, far from it actually, but it may help to go in with the right expectations. If you're at all familiar with S&S, you'll know that the band's calling card is mid-tempo, acoustic guitar driven, biblically-rich numbers, with wonderful harmonies and a humble, heartfelt sentiment. That's exactly what you find in Worship In The Word. To be honest, I'm not sure S&S's style translates well into children's music without a very intentional transformation -- the kind of transformation done in, say, Rend Collective's Sparkle. Pop. Rampage, or The Corner Room's Remember And Proclaim. As it stands, besides the children's voices in the background (it was recorded in a live setting), and a few songs using simpler themes than usual (I'm thinking specifically of opener "First Things First"), this should be taken as a normal Shane & Shane worship album.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let's get into the songs themselves. Worship With The Word is a wonderful collection of meaty worship songs based on specific passages of Scripture (something certainly "on brand" for the duo). The album opens with the upbeat "First Things First," based on Jesus' words in Matthew 6. This practical, down to earth type of praise song is one of the reasons why S&S have continued gaining popularity in the worship music movement, especially amid the plethora of vague, emotionally-charged worship music written in the last few years, "I will not borrow from tomorrow/I will trust you for today/You will be there in the morning…first things first/I will seek and thirst/for Your kingdom oh God/Your righteousness."
Next up are the melodically tame "Your Ways" and "Tell The Story," though there's nothing tame about the lyrics, as the duo unceasingly packs profound truth into every line, "Who am I unworthy one/that You would give Your only Son/who are You to care for me/amazing love how can it be." The hearty "Yes and Amen," based on Ephesians 1, is certainly one of the highlights. I say hearty, because the deep theology found within this passage is not watered down in the least, while still being accessible and eminently singable, "forgiveness/rich inheritance/predestined for your purpose/Holy Spirit guaranteed/I've been given everything." Also of note is the fun following track, "You Know Everything," based on Psalm 139, and following track "Holy" with its inclusion of the famous hymn bearing the same name. I also loved the short and sweet funk guitar in the bridge of "Take Heart," and the extended section of "Come and See" that connects the words "sing the harmony" with a children's choir singing in 3-part harmony. I would have liked to have seen more of these extra nuggets as they are too few and far between.
As long as you go into it with the right expectations, Worship In The Word will be an excellent addition to any worship playlist, devotional time, or corporate worship setting. If Shane & Shane want to continue growing Kingdom Kids, it may benefit them to take more chances musically, especially using wider intervals melodically that will stick with little ears (such as the verse of "Come And See" or "You Know Everything"). One thing I'm assured of is that the robust biblical lyrics will be following Shane & Shane wherever they may branch off into, and for that I'm thankful.- Review date: 1/30/22, written by Joel Zaloum of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: The Worship Initiative
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