Album Review :
Josh Wilson - Trying to Fit the Ocean in a Cup

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Artist: Josh Wilson
Album: Trying to Fit the Ocean in a Cup
Label: Sparrow Records/ EMI Music Group
Release Date: April 29, 2008
Review by: Eric Pettersson

1. The Saints
2. Savior, Please
3. 3 Minute Song
4. Turn Around
5. Let Me Love You
6. Something’s Got to Change
7. Tell Me
8. Pull Me Through
9. Oak Avenue
10. Dear Money
11. Beautiful Like This

Great, another singer/songwriter on a CCM major label. These albums usually get barely a full listen before I decide they don’t fit our site or they’re just plain terrible and I don’t feel like reviewing them. It’s just not worth my time or yours to fill these pages with negative reviews of commercial, crappy “Christian music” when most of us really just want to hear about a good indie, punk, or metal record. But IVM editor Josh Murphy told me to give this Josh Wilson guy a listen, and with a slight attempt at an open mind, I popped Trying to Fit the Ocean in a Cup into my car stereo as I took the hour and a half drive home from school for fall break.

What I found was thankfully not a man with a bunch of repetitive songs about how God is like the weather or begging for Jesus to give us easier lives, but someone who understands that our Creator is deserving of much more than that. “3 Minute Song” talks about the impossibility of writing a simple and easy song about God when there’s just so much to say about God. He even takes it a step further to talk about the need for more musical creativity in the Christian music industry, saying “I would like to dumb this down to three chords or maybe four, but I tried and I can’t and I won’t, cause You’ll always be more.” Lovely. (And yes, the chorus is catchy as hell and the song clocks in at exactly three minutes.)

Other songs wrestle with other struggles of life like having to deal with not having repaired a broken relationship before a friend unexpectedly died (“Oak Avenue”) or trying to put into action Jesus’ words that no one can serve both God and money (“Dear Money”). “Something’s Got to Change” addresses the need for genuine community in our individualistic and isolationist culture, as well as how we try to fill a void in our lives with all sorts of garbage when only God can truly make us whole. One of my favorite lines comes on the second track when Josh sings “Savior, please, keep saving me,” as a reminder that salvation is not once and done but we need to continue to grow closer to God and to let go of our sin.

Musically, there’s nothing groundbreaking, but the quality of composition and performance is refreshing in a world of three minute songs with three chords or maybe four. Josh Wilson plays his genre with passion and creativity that would allow the type of people who frequent IVM to be able to enjoy his music if they give it a fair chance, with special attention paid to the lyrics, as they are an honest look at real-life issues without claiming to have all the answers, which is for me a welcome change from a lot of what is released in this market.



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