Label: Flicker Records
Release Date: 3/6/12
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre
- Stay Close
- He Weeps
- Keeping Me Alive
- Stronger than You Think
- Prove Me Wrong
- Dying for Your Love
- Rise Above
Fireflight have always been a band that I have heard about, listening to songs here and there, but never really sat down and gave an album my full attention. It was only when they released their 3rd album, For Those Who Wait that I started to notice a band which are one of the most underrated female-fronted Christian rock bands today. With hits like ‘Desperate’, ‘What I’ve Overcome’ and ‘For Those Who Wait’; Fireflight are back with their fourth album, simply titled Now. With a new found appreciation for this rock band, I was intensely excited for their release. As band member Glenn discusses about their preparation for Now, we learn the heart and soul behind an album that is close to many of their fans and critics alike; ‘…[this] is a call to move beyond your circumstances…to not accept the way things are because life is difficult…it points to God as your refuge…[challenging] you to get outside your comfort zone…’ This statement alone led me to immerse myself in the album, and was inspired by some of the most mature songs this band has written to date. Now is one that will please fans of both rock and CCM, and should be written in the history books as one of the standout albums in 2012.
‘Stay Close’ is the first radio single, and together with the music video, depicting the persona (Dawn) running around in circles, trying to break a cycle but can’t; the song is one of my favourites for 2012. Dawn’s vocals soar throughout, as she sings across the heavy guitars and synth effects. This is a plea to God, to come to us in the midst of our problems and pain. As Dawn screams out ‘…come close and call my name, how can you turn your back on me when you know my pain?…’ we understand how she feels, as well as us. Everyone has those moments when things aren’t going the way we desire them to, sometimes it may even feel like God abandoned us. But this is a hopeful song, and explicitly shown in the video, Dawn sees a sign with the word ‘Now’ on it. Learning to embrace the present moment and its consequences; rather than running from it, she is able to find her freedom (in the video). This is what we need to embrace, that now is the time to seek God, and ask for His help in the areas in our lives that we need to address as we move forward in our relationships, both with God and our family. What a compelling song for first single!
‘Stronger than You Think’, ‘Ignite’, ‘Dying For Your Love’ and ‘Now’ all serve the rocker in all of us. All use the musical techniques of electric guitars and synth effects, but it is Dawn’s vocals that shine in each of them. ‘Ignite’ is about how we all have the hope in our hearts that needs to explode out of us. Sounding musically like ‘Unbreakable’, Dawn sings out ‘…don’t hesitate to explode, burn the pain inside your soul, don’t hesitate, let it go, start a fire, embrace the light…’, and we are met with a message of hope; that we are the salt and the light to the people around us that need it, even if they don’t know it. ‘Stronger than You Think’ shows us the spiritual battle we are in. When we are in Christ, we are a new creation, and when the devil tries to tempt us, we can answer by declaring that ‘…I don’t buy the lies you sell, my heart belongs to someone else; I am stronger, stronger than you think…’ A pure rock song at heart, this is a reminder that in Christ, we can do everything that Jesus did, even more. ‘Now’ is a dance rock track standing at less than 3 minutes. Almost a race to sing out the words, we understand through this technique that life is indeed too short, that whatever God wants us to accomplish, we need to do it now! As Dawn sings out ‘…don’t lay down, don’t let it destroy you, pain is real but it’s not gonna own you, not this time around…’ we are encouraged that with God, we are more than conquerors. ‘Dying for Your Love’ is a song about God’s unfathomable love for us, even when we repeatedly sin. Dawn’s soaring vocals above the rising guitar melodies show how much God loves us ‘…if I run to the ends of the earth you will find me…there is no escape from your love…’ These four tracks, plus ‘Stay Close’, showcase Fireflight’s rocking roots at its best.
‘He Weeps’ is the second single from the album, and one of the most vulnerable songs they’ve ever written. Initially questioning whether God was even present during moments of despair in everyone’s life, Dawn sings out across the piano, poignantly pondering ‘…where is God when the rain falls and takes the car off the road, is He standing in the storm?…’ The song builds up from hopeless to hopeful, and as guitars are added, Dawn provides an answer to the question, that Jesus weeps alongside us, yearning for us to come to Him with all our difficulties and complications. We may not understand why these things occur, however, we do understand that in spite of our circumstances, God is our hope, our refuge and our strength when we need Him.
The rest of the album seems to jam pack a lot of themes and musical experimentation as Fireflight tries to cater to both rock and CCM fans. From trying to escape the lusts and traps of this world and run into the arms of Jesus (‘Escape’), God exceeding our expectations of Him and what He can do in our lives (‘Prove Me Wrong’), and relying on God during our times of trouble, His love breaking through the walls we build for protection against the harms of this world (‘Keeping Me Alive’); Fireflight really shines through another ballad and possible radio single ‘Rise Above’. As depicted on their website, this song ‘…urges us to stop the cycle of victimization, overcome those things that have entangled us, and work toward a new tomorrow…’ A hopeful song about overcoming our struggles with Jesus beside us, the soft guitars and acoustic feel of the song accentuates the lyrics and through Dawn’s convicting chorus ‘…maybe today we all will rise above the mistakes that we’ve made, sometimes we’ve got to face the fall before we rise above it all…’, we realise that sometimes the greatest spiritual growth comes out of hardship and adversity. While we may not understand why, we know for certain that the Lord uses everything for His glory, shaping us to be the godly men and women that He has destined for us to be.
Overall: Fireflight released their highly anticipated album, Now, exceeding all the hype placed on it. Catering to a larger fan base than before, Fireflight’s passion is evident. As Dawn shares from the website, ‘…The best way to spread Christianity is through relationships…we see how God works in those relationships, how He uses our music to empower them in their daily lives, and we want to provide the soundtrack to their victory…’ It is out of this relationship that we are able to show Christ’s love. Fireflight’s new album has reached new heights compared to For Those Who Wait. Kudos to them for such an enjoyable experience!
RIYL: Addison Road, Superchick, BarlowGirl, RED
Buy the Album: iTunes/Amazon mp3