Artist: Heather Clark
Label: Jesus Culture Music
Release Date: 6/19/12
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre
- Come In
- Undivided Focus
- Kisses of His Mouth
- Shadow of Your Wings
- I’m Still Thirsty
- I Know I’m Loved
- Show Us Your Glory
- Lamb of God
- How Great Thou Art
Jesus Culture, a ministry that centred amongst Bethel Church’s youth group, growing from their initial meetings in 1999 to become one of the most central, profound and revolutionary worship movements in the history of church revival among young people around the world (as well as the Passion Conferences led by worship pastor Louie Giglio); has been responsible in launching the careers of their many worship leaders, including Kim Walker-Smith and Kristene DiMarco, both with studio albums released. Heather Clark, the latest to be placed in the spot-light as one of Jesus Culture’s worship leaders along with Kim Walker-Smith, Kristene DiMarco, Chris Quilala and Jake Hamilton; has released her first live album, Overcome, on June 19th 2012, giving listeners a taste into a worship night in California. As I listen to this album as a whole, I am certain that many of these songs will appear in churches soon, with Heather being able to give listeners new songs full of hope and reverence as she sings out new melodies, and also places in a gem of a hymn, ‘How Great Thou Art’, as a fitting last song to the album.
Initially thinking that the album was going to be a studio effort, I found myself enjoying the album quite considerably, even though more than half the tracks on the album are above 5 minutes. Starting the album off with ‘Come In’, Heather sings out this anthemic tune mixed with strong guitars, keys and a passionate vocal. Similarly with Kim Walker-Smith, Heather seems to have an ability to draw even the uninterested of listeners, and as she cries out ‘…come in, King of Glory…come in, we welcome You this day…’, we are invited into a sacred moment with just us and the Lord, a meeting as we are continually transformed by the dwelling of ourselves in His presence. Starting off the album with such a stirring 4:02 tune sets the mood for the entire album, creating a mood of praise and devotion as the listener is met with song after song of complete awe and reverence. Both ‘Overcome’ and ‘Undivided Focus’ carry on the theme of ‘Come In’, showcasing some of Heather’s strong vocals as each song as a track length of over 8 minutes, hardly noticing as the listener is swept away in total praise. Declaring that ‘…I wanna be overcome, let the fire burn in me for the pure in heart will see You Lord…’, as well as understanding that ‘…I am in love, with undivided focus…’ Heather is able to take simple melodies and lift them up, creating an atmosphere listeners may not be willing to leave any time soon! Heather also does a terrific job at covering the last song, ‘How Great Thou Art’. A slower song in tempo, Heather emphasises Christ’s death, singing the second verse before the first, reminding us that Christ took everything upon Himself which we deserved, thus making us free to love and adore Him wholeheartedly. A stirring instrumental during the 8 minute track shifts the mood from the singing to the being, soaking in the Lord’s presence as the album draws to a close. ‘How Great Thou Art’ is one of favourite traditional hymns, and Heather’s rendition makes me love the song even more!
Both ‘I Know I’m Loved’ and ‘Shadow of Your Wings’ are shown as surrender songs, as we give ourselves over to Christ wholeheartedly because we know that we are loved beyond condition or any doubt, that ‘…I know I’m loved, I know I’m wanted…’ and thus, our trust lies fully in Him, within the ‘…shadow of Your wings…I will rejoice [in them]…’ Utilising electric guitars in ‘Shadow of Your Wings’ is a certain mood-booster, creating a booming atmosphere as worshippers from around the world come together collectively in worshipping the one true God! A strong worshipful mood is placed in every song on the album, yet particular in both these songs, creating a sense of awe and wonder as we realise that as we rest in God and His promises, all our worries and promises unfulfilled will dissipate in priority as we focus on who He is rather than our problems and pertinent questions at hand. ‘Dwell’, as well as ‘Lamb of God’, both carry on with the theme of worshipping in the presence of God, both highlighting how we ought to sit and reflect upon God’s goodness, marvelling at His greatness. ‘Dwell’ lets us sit and marvel at how God is ‘…preparing the way of the glory of God…’, championing His creation as He prepares His house for us where one day we’ll be with Him. With ‘Lamb of God’ the only acoustically driven melody, Heather accentuates her strong vocals as she leads us into contemplation that ‘…the Lamb of God makes me clean…’
Releasing on the same day as Bellarive’s The Heartbeat, Overcome is not without some faults, understanding that the pressure to create a worship album that may emulate or even compete with others released from around the world (Hillsong, Worship Central, Parachute Band) may lead to some unintended hindrances. ‘Show Us Your Glory’ has the right intentions as Heather sings out for God to shower His glory down upon us, but it seems a little out of place on the album. Though the heart is in the right spot, I can’t help but wonder if the focus is more upon us in that particular song, rather than on God as it should be. The repetitious lyric ‘…show us Your glory, we are desperate…’ is sincere and genuine, despite the issue of moving the focus off of us and onto the God of creation as we fall down in reverence before Him. Irregardless of this small unintended ‘discomfort’, Heather’s devout praise for her Saviour is evident, showcasing her undoubted devotion for the King of her life!
Overall: Despite its shortcomings, Overcome has some lasting effects, with the title track, ‘Undivided Focus’, ‘I Know I’m Loved’ and ‘Shadow of Your Wings’ the highlights. A great addition to any avid Jesus Culture fan, Heather Clark has created 11 musical moments that is certain to rival many worship leaders in today’s modern church. Though many are over 5 minutes, and some over 8, passionate vocals, hopeful lyrical moments, and listeners around the world submersing themselves in God’s glory makes up for the long-windedness. Well done Heather for such an inspired album!
RIYL: Kim Walker-Smith, Kristene DiMarco, Jesus Culture, Kari Jobe
Buy the Album: iTunes/Amazon mp3