Album Review :
Josh Wilson - See You

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Artist: Josh Wilson

Album: See You

Label: Sparrow Records

Release Date: February 8, 2011

Reviewer: Eric Pettersson

Tracklisting

  1. Sing It
  2. Behind the Beauty
  3. I Refuse
  4. Fall Apart
  5. Know By Now
  6. See You
  7. It Is Well (Instrumental)
  8. Shine on Us
  9. Always Only for You
  10. Forest Fire
  11. They Just Believe
  12. Sing It (Reprise)

Josh Wilson is an artist I’ve been pushing on here since his 2008 debut, Trying to Fit the Ocean in a Cup. He is a part of the new CCM, the next generation of musicians that are getting back to the creativity and genuine spirituality that we all look for in Christian music. With his latest effort, See You, he continues to remind us that God is bigger than we could imagine and that nothing else in this life will satisfy us besides living in relationship with that God and following God’s guidance for our lives, which includes appreciating the world God has made and loving the people around us.

The same themes appear on this record as his last two, as Josh continues to sing a message that is positive and uplifting without being superficial or wishy-washy. He prods the deeper questions, bringing a release that is full of substance. The album begins with “Sing It,” a song about never having the words or melodies good enough to match God’s glory but feeling the need to sing it anyway. It is this heart that characterizes Josh Wilson’s music. A few tracks later on “Fall Apart,” he sings “Our heartbreak brings us back to you,” which is another theme that continues to show up in Josh’s songs as he joyfully sings of finding God through our brokenness. These two ideas work in a creative tension, that God is beyond our intellectual grasp yet full present to us in the pain of life.

Unfortunately, Josh does not really cover any new ground musically, and I find myself getting a little restless with parts of this record compared to his previous work. That’s not to say it’s bad, but for someone who wrote a song about the need for more creativity in Christian music, I’m not sure he really met his own challenge on See You. For example, he does an acoustic instrumental version of another hymn. On Life Is Not a Snapshot it was “Amazing Grace,” and I loved the arrangement. It was creative then, but doing it again with “It Is Well” comes across as a last minute attempt to recreate that past success instead of moving forward to something new.

That said, there are some songs that stand out from a musical point of view. “Know By Now” is kind of jazzy and lots of fun, while “Shine on Us” is full of heart with a compelling chorus and subtle energy. Josh is also at his best for the fun and upbeat love song, “Always Only You,” which has a very catchy chorus and a great message promising to love his wife through the good and bad. In fact, “Forest Fire” and “They Just Believe” could also be considered highlights, which means that the second half of the record is better than the first, an unusual structure compared to most traditional records.

Overall: Despite several filler tracks and few creative risks, See You proves its worth with a number of top-notch songs, catchy choruses, and thoughtful insight. As I’ve said before, if you want pop-rock with solid lyrical substance, Josh Wilson is for you.

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