Artist: Eddie Kirkland
Title: Kings & Queens
Label: North Point Music
Release Date: 8/14/12
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre
- Here and Now
- The Solution
- Brighter Days
- Kings and Queens
- Keep Holding On
- Glory to the King
- Lights of Manhattan (Let it Rise)
- What a Saviour
- Have Your Way
Ever since I listened to John Waller’s cover song of ‘Hands of the Healer’ (originally thinking that John wrote it!); I have come to admire Eddie and his songwriting skills. Asserting himself as an emerging worship leader through North Point Music’s compilation album, Awake; Eddie releases his brand new album, Kings and Queens, on August 14th. With such a stellar musical ingeniousness, full of strong guitars, orchestral sounds and energetic passion; this album tells of our inheritance in Christ, and how our lives with God start ‘…in the here and now…’ (‘Here and Now’); not waiting til later to walk in the promises of God. With his vocals similar to independent artist Jadon Lavik, Canadian rockers Starfield, and contemporary singer Matthew West; these 11 songs are for the church, and are some of the most vulnerable of the year, third to Paul Baloche’s The Same Love and Christy Nockels’ Into the Glorious. Soaking in God’s love through listening to these 11 melodies, I am able to assert Eddie’s continual rise in worship ministry, confident that Kings and Queens will propel him to become a great worship leader, similar to how Meredith Andrews’ debut The Invitation catapulted her into one of the most respected and revered worship leaders in today’s generation!
One of my favourite songs is a uniquely titled ‘Lights of Manhattan (Let It Rise)’. Featuring a strong piano baseline filled with guitars and a strong drum beat, Eddie, who sounds like Starfield lead singer Tim Neufield, proclaims that ‘…if I could take the lights of Manhattan, and hold them all together in my hands, I would make them shine for You…’, and immediately I was intrigued at what these lights looked like. So I googled it, went to images, and behold, there were the lights, from every angle, from the bridge, the Empire State Building, everywhere you saw lights (in a city that doesn’t sleep!). So as the song centres around Eddie singing about taking the lights of Manhattan, and letting each light off as praise to God; I am able to see a picture of all the lights singing to our heavenly Father, and the praise we give is nothing compared to what He has done for all humankind. One of the most catchiest songs on the record, ‘Lights of Manhattan’ has given me motivation to see those lights in person, and experience the wonder of knowing that Christ made every light in every building (and if we don’t praise Him, the inanimate objects, like lights will!).
With each song oozing musical maturity, instrumental ingeniousness and lyrical poignancy, it’s hard to pick a favourite if all 11 are inspiring and motivational. That is what differentiates albums- no matter how many singles, radio airplay and promotional material, if the songs don’t gel as a group, then the album falls flat. Thankfully, Kings and Queens is the exact opposite. ‘Here and Now’ starts with hand claps and percussion, as Eddie encourages the listeners to be the hands and feet to those around them. As the lyrics remind me to ‘…let justice roll like a river wide, and let mercy grow like a burning fire, let it come in the here and now…’ I am inspired and encouraged to show Christ’s love, wherever I am, and let God touch those He wants to minister to. Placing on his ‘Jadon Lavik’ hat in ‘The Solution’, this poignant first radio single complete with gang vocals and electronics reminds us that we are right where we are supposed to be, and out of our circumstances springs up opportunity to share Christ’s love to whoever we meet; that ‘…in the middle of the mess, in the centre of the storm, I am right where I belong here…’ Such a unsettling thought if we’re in a place of pain and confusion, we ought to realise that everything works for Christ’s glory and our good, and as we utilise where we are as a platform to ‘…be part of the solution…’, we become as free as Christ longs for us to be. Well done Eddie for such a compelling melody filled with unique electronics that speak about how we carry Christ, wherever we go and to whomever we meet!
Originally thinking that Eddie had covered Brooke Fraser’s ‘Hosanna’, this guitar driven melody is nice to dance along to, but also has a hard-hitting message, reminding us to wake up to the glory of God, full of wonder and surrounding us wherever we are. From listening to the poignant lyrical moment, ‘…for we know the curse is broken, hope is rising up, oh, the streets are singing hosanna, the King has come…’, we are given reminder that our past has been forgiven, and we ought to rise up with the confidence we have in the God who rescued our souls. With such a call for us to ‘…arise, let your story be told…sing out, let your anthem roll…’, so that we can be free of the things that have chained us down, ‘Hosanna’ is one of the most freeing songs to listen on Kings and Queens. The musicality of ‘Brighter Days’ would fit well on Steven Curtis Chapman’s re:Creation, and as Eddie brings forward an acoustical melody about his longing and searching for a brighter day, we are given a sense of reassurance as Eddie cries out to the Lord, ‘…oh, come rush in like a hurricane, come lead me through the flood and flame, don’t let me walk away…’. As we immerse ourselves into this hopeful melody, we are given a prayer of surrender, of God leading and us following in His footsteps. ‘Kings and Queens’ initially feels softly string-driven, filled with violins, but when it reaches the 35 second mark, the melody transforms into a comfortable confrontation of sorts, with Eddie showcasing scenarios of the weak and hurting crying to God. As we hear Eddie’s, and ultimately God’s heart, ‘…the riches found in heaven, are crowned upon the meek, all the children, thieves and beggars stand above the kings and queens…’; we are given motivation and resolve to place honour and respect on the ‘last and least’, not to take for granted our privileged position in society.
‘Glory to the King’ and ‘What a Saviour’ both shine through as anthemic worship melodies on an album full of hope and comfort. Easily the second radio single, ‘Glory to the King’ is an offering for the church, and while it doesn’t necessarily cover any new theological ground, the guitars and synths promote this song as one of the most upbeat on the album with Eddie proclaiming that ‘…hear the song of freedom rising from hearts redeemed, let the church cry holy, come now and let us sing ‘glory to the King’…’ ‘What a Saviour’ gives us hope that Christ is higher, stronger and more than we can imagine, as Eddie proclaims that ‘…there is no one greater, Son of God be lifted up…’ With a strong beat, this powerful anthem complete with backing vocals of la la’s, this anthem is destined to be sung in churches. Eddie also performs a duet with Dove Award winning artist Laura Story in ‘Keep Holding On’, an acoustical musical offering about Christ’s love and how ‘…the love that lays itself down on our behalf is the very love that whispers in our hearts, ‘keep holding on’…’ Laura’s harmonies on this song bring this melody to one of my favourites on the album, reminding us of Christ and our motivation to press on during difficult times on our lives.
Overall: The hymn-like ‘Have Your Way’ encourages Christ to invade our frail hearts and mould our lives into the godly one He has prepared for us- a fitting end to an album with no dull points! With musical reminders of Starfield and Jadon Lavik, with the worshipful style of Chris Tomlin; this is an album full of musical inventiveness for anyone who loves a mixture of soft reflective melodies coupled with rousing anthems of declaration. Definitely a purchase next week along with An Epic No Less’ ‘Echo of Love’, this album is one of my favourite releases in August! Well done Eddie for such a hopeful and comforting album!
RIYL: Jadon Lavik, Starfield, Chris Tomlin, Matthew West
Buy the Album: iTunes/Amazon mp3