Artist: Desperation Band
Title: Center of it All
Label: Integrity Music
Release Date: 4/10/12
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre
- All To Him
- Strong God
- God You are My God
- My God
- Our God is Coming
- Centre of it All
- This I Know
- You are the Glory
- We Will Not Forget
- Take Me to the River
- River Flow
Hailing out of Colorado, the Desperation Band have penned some of the most remembered songs in the modern church today; ‘I Am Free’, recorded and made popular by the Newsboys; ‘Overcome’, recently recorded on Jeremy Camp’s latest worship project, and band favourites ‘Here in Your Presence’ and ‘Light Up the World’; are sung through many churches around the world. As the band came together to record ‘Centre of it All’, what resulted was 13 magical moments of surrender and hope, passion, integrity and adoration. As founder Jon Egan enthusiastically proclaims each song with conviction; I was able to worship along with him. With the album produced by One Sonic Society drummer Paul Mabury and songs co-written by Egan himself together with Meredith Andrews, Paul Mabury, Jason Ingram and Mia Fieldes; this album stands together with Into the Glorious and Where I Find You as my favourite worship albums of the year.
‘Wonderful’, the first single from the album, stands with the rest of the band’s crowning song achievements. With Jon singing the truths that ‘…Your freedom reigns, Your justice roars, Your people sing, You’re the risen Lord…’ together with the overlaying percussion loops and keyboard synth rhythms, we realise that this is who God is. He gives us freedom from our lives that we had when we were without Him. He is risen; and alive in our hearts today. As Jesus humbled Himself to be a man, to walk among the midst of humankind, teaching and proclaiming His eternal message of humility, honour, and salvation; He even went to the cross and was crucified. But Jesus conquered sin and death by rising from the grave three days later, and this fact shows that He is indeed wonderful, worthy of all our praise and adoration. As I sing the anthemic lyrics ‘…Our hearts alive, our hope endures, in all the earth there is no one so wonderful…’ I am confident that He is the Author and Perfector, Redeemer and Healer. What a magnificent song from Jon!
‘Magnified’ is another song on the album that caught my attention. With a simple percussion and keyboard loop, this song is full of hope and redemption for all who listen. As Jon declares from the start ‘…We stand in awe of Your unfailing love that has covered us; we stand amazed of Your unending grace we cannot repay…’ we are met with the full gospel right in between these lines that were sung. It is because of who God is, and what He has done that we can be called His children. His blood covered our sin; there is nothing that we did for God to love us more or less. Once we understand that we are the sons and daughters of the One who made the stars, but also fashioned our innermost being, all we can do is just exalt His name, show the world that He is magnified above all other names. Magnify by definition is to increase, to make bigger. This is exactly what God deserves. He is the One who saves us again and again, and it is out of our affection, devotion and love for Jesus that we sing this song of praise and exultation.
There are many other highlights in this album full of power ballads and intimate worship moments. ‘All to Him’ sounds like a simple Hillsong song, starting in a similar vein to ‘Your Name High’. With simple lyrics like ‘…our Saviour is Jesus, our future is Jesus…all to Him we owe everything…’, everything is placed into perspective when we proclaim that Jesus is everything to us. ‘Strong God’ is a hauntingly great song, with lyrics echoing through my mind ‘…awesome is our strong God…’ God indeed is strong, and it is when we are weak, we find that He is our rescuer. We couldn’t save ourselves even if we wanted to and this song acknowledges that. As the bridge proclaims through a mighty choir ‘…There is none stronger than our God…’; I am ever reminded of the strength of my Saviour and friend. ‘Our God is Coming’ starts with a looping percussion hook, drawing the listener into a song that is just as rich as any other song on the album. This is pure worship at its best, with Jon making his intentions known with the chorus ‘…we worship our God only…Jesus we give you our lives…’ ‘God You are My God’, previously recorded by One Sonic Society, is a declaration that God is God and no one else can take His place. With such raw honesty and emotion, Jon sings with great conviction as the song crescendos half way through as soaring guitars and drum beats are coupled with Jon’s intensity for worship and declaration. As I am caught up in the bridge, ‘…From the dawn of time You reign to the end of days You’re the God who saves…’ I am humbled to be loved by God, that He is my salvation. It is in these worshipful moments when you realise that nothing else matters than being in God’s presence and wanting to know Him more.
Other than pure worship and reverence, there are many other themes presented throughout this record; ranging from not forgetting that the Lord is with us in the valleys and dark times that we are experience (‘We Will Not Forget’) and longing to be saturated in the river of life, the grace and mercy of God Himself (‘Take Me to the River’); to knowing that God is great, counting all the blessings that He has done in our lives (‘This I Know’), and the proclamation that ‘…if I have You and nothing else, I have everything…’, that God is the centre of our lives and we are nothing without Him (‘Center of it All’). As I reflect on each worship song, I realise that this is not another traditional ‘worship’ album to be overlooked. As recently said in an interview with ChristianMusicZine.com; Jon fleshes out the heart of the album, and what he wants the listeners to learn from listening to this collection of worship anthems- ‘…I hope it washes over people and messes with them…that as proclamations of truth are being sung…people will rise…and stand strong. I hope that the reality of God’s word will cut through the things of life and people will move…toward carrying His hope…[and] love…’ This album has certainly washed over me, taking me by surprise with songs that are even now becoming some of my favourite worship songs ever.
Overall: Center Of It All is an album for a generation that wants to be awakened to the power and awesomeness of God; who want to follow in His will for their lives. Through these 13 musical moments, listeners can just fall down in celebration, to a God who calls us children. We are not alone, and He is risen and magnified above all else. What a powerful message that is shown through these songs. As this album releases during Easter time, may we reflect on what Jesus did for us, and let it soak through our very being until we shout out and proclaim ‘…Holy is my God who’s making all things new…’ (‘My God’). An album to cherish for a long time yet; well done Desperation Band!
RIYL: Paul Baloche, Parachute Band, Kari Jobe, Meredith Andrews
Buy the Album: iTunes/Amazon mp3