Artist: Kim Walker-Smith
Title: Still Believe
Label: Integrity Music
Release Date: 1/15/13
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre
- Waste it All
- The King is Here
- Yield My Heart
- Spirit Break Out
- Spirit Break Out (Spontaneous)
- Still Believe
- Miracle Maker
- Healing Oil
One of the lead singers of internationally renowned worship movement Jesus Culture, Kim Walker-Smith has been one of my favourite female worship leaders of late, alongside Christy Nockels, Kari Jobe and Meredith Andrews. With her heartfelt melodies and passionate enthusiasm seen through her years leading worship conferences for Jesus Culture, Kim’s heart for worship is certainly evident in every song she sings. With Jesus Culture becoming one of the world’s most premier worship artists/bands (maybe even surpassing Passion as the most popular annual worship event in a few years time), Kim’s presence has certainly given much to this globally recognised worship band responsible for many worship songs like ‘Your Love Never Fails’, ‘One Thing Remains’, ‘Burning Ones’, ‘You Won’t Relent’ and ‘I Want to Know You’, and more recently, ‘Walk With Me’ and ‘Alleluia’ from their most recent album collaboration, Live From New York featuring ex-Delirious? lead singer Martin Smith in one of the most lyrically profound live worship albums of 2012. With Still Believe being Kim’s second solo album (her first album, Here is My Song, released in 2008), this 9 song collection featuring a great mixture of familiar and newer material, with Kim singing a few covers (Delirious?’s ‘Miracle Maker’ and ‘Spirit Break Out’ by Worship Central), placed in the middle of an album full of joy and hope as her husband Skylar Smith joins Kim on the percussion and drums. Recorded in the Cascade Theatre in Redding, California; this collection of 9 musical anthems and spontaneous melodies are enough to move listeners from the busy to the resting, the worry to the healing, and the anxious to the worshipping. From ballads like ‘Miracle Maker’ to musical anthems ‘Waste it All’ and ‘Spirit Break Out’; this album is certainly going to be one of the most popular albums of the early part of 2013, along with Chris Tomlin’s Burning Lights, Casting Crowns’ The Acoustic Sessions Vol. 1 and Colton Dixon’s A Messenger.
Starting off the album with a song simply titled ‘Alive’, Kim reminds us of the living power of Christ within us through this 6 minute anthem of praise and exaltation. With a great live presence throughout the whole album as each track brings with it a sense of excitement, anticipation, hope and wonder through the crowd cheering and the guitars and percussion that build towards crescendos in each anthem; ‘Alive’ starts with a piano introduction that invites us into the intimacy the song reminds us of as Kim lets listeners know that ‘…You breathe Your life into my lungs, You bring life to these dry bones, I know that You’re alive…’ Understanding that God’s presence and the proof of that He is alive can be shown through the wonders and intricate details in the creation of mankind; Kim reminds us of the activeness of God within our lives and those near to us. Giving great reassurance, comfort and joy as we realise that the resurrection of Christ means new life for us and the declaration and worship that comes with serving a God that is alive; ‘Alive’ is an anthem fit for the church as the theme shifts from a celebratory worshipful sound to an identity themed melody in ‘Waste It All’. As I sit to listen Kim cry out that ‘…I owed a debt I could not pay, searching in vain to fill my heart’s ache, I threw my work away…’; we are given a sense of vulnerability, understanding that every person on the planet has felt or does feel like this- searching and longing for something or someone to fill the heart’s ache or void that came as soon as we entered planet Earth. With the song conveying a deep longing for God to the point where we cry out ‘…I don’t care if I’m called a fool, I’m wasting it all on You…’; Kim worships in total abandon amidst the electric guitars and passionate drum kicks and light percussion. With Christ inside of us, we are not ashamed of how we will look like as we continue to be transformed by Him, and even if many of our friends or even family ridicule or don’t understand our journey with God; we ought not to be affected by such scepticism as we chase after the one thing that we know will satisfy our souls. Well done Kim for these two opening songs to bring us into the presence of God and therefore align ourselves with a heart of surrender and worship.
‘Miracle Maker’ is one of my favourite Delirious? songs on Mission Bell, so I was intrigued to hear Kim’s version of the song. Staying true to the original and just as inspiring and wonderful as the Martin Smith-led version, ‘Miracle Maker’ shows us the qualities of God, that He is ‘…Holy You are holy, who was and is, and is to come, holy, holy, You are holy, Saviour, Healer, I’m standing at the feet of the miracle maker…’ Standing before God with all our misgivings, misunderstandings and uncertainties laid at His feet, we can suddenly be in awe of who He is and His majesty as we continuously soak in His presence. The instrumental bridge may not have been as great as Stu G’s guitar work on Mission Bell, but for a cover, Kim’s rendition is just as good as the original. Though not a radio single when Mission Bell came out; ‘Miracle Maker’ has become the single-that-never-was as I fall in love with the melody and heartfelt poignancy, with Kim crying out her convictions with such passion and zeal. ‘Spirit Break Out’ is another covered song (originally from Worship Central: Spirit Break Out) on the album, and though at first glance it may seem like the song may have dragged on for too long (with both the song and the spontaneous); Kim offers up her heart and a different interpretation to the song, with a more anthemic and synth-prominent atmosphere compared to the lightly acoustic and eerie sense given as Tim Hughes sang the song on the original recording. Omitting the rapping part that was originally woven into the original recording; the change was hardly noticeable with strong guitars and Kim declaring for God’s spirit to ‘…break out, heaven come down…’ The five minute spontaneous that segues from ‘Spirit Break Out’ is a natural progression into free worship, and as Kim lets everything go to praise God with abandon, I can’t help but worship along with her, with ‘Spirit Break Out’ (and the spontaneous section) becoming one of my favourite songs on the album. ‘Healing Oil’ is the closing song on the album, and though sounding very spontaneous, the melody was originally written by artist Crystal Lewis. As Kim asks the Lord to give us the healing oil of His spirit, we cannot help it but proclaim that ‘…I could feel Your healing oil, running down my brow, I wouldn’t trade another lifetime for how I feel right now…’, having a sense of satisfaction that we won’t trade anything that we have with the moments spent in God’s presence. Well done Kim for a good album closer and one of the best musically choreographed ‘spontaneous-like’ songs in a long time.
Each song on Still Believe gives us a great reminder of our faith and devotion to Christ as we continuously delve into His promises and assurances given to us on a daily basis. Full of excitement, passionate enthusiasm and a heart full of life and praise; Kim has shown us what a joy it is to worship Jesus. ‘Yield My Heart’ is a string prominent song about us longing for God to come dwell in our lives as we ask the Holy Spirit to ‘…rest in this place, teach us how to be one with You…’ With an acoustic start that builds into a mighty crescendo as the build-up of musical instruments paves a way for spontaneous worship to occur; ‘Yield My Heart’ is one of my favourite tracks about surrender on Still Believe. The two ten minute tracks in both ‘The King is Here’ and ‘Still Believe’ are also emotionally powerful as Kim asserts that Christ is with us as we worship (‘The King is Here’) as well as giving us a clear understanding that God’s power in our lives is far greater than anything else that may have a stronghold over it as listeners passionately declare that ‘…I still believe You’re the same yesterday, today and forever, and I still believe Your blood is sufficient for me…’ With so much enjoyableness given through each of these 9 tracks, Kim has vocally delivered on each track flawlessly, giving myself personally some great cover renditions of great classics as well as some new worship song favourites. Well done Kim for both the title track and ‘The King is Here’, some of the most humble and vulnerable songs on the 9-track album!
Overall: Kim Walker Smith’s presence in Jesus Culture (as well as her emotive melodies- alongside songs sung from Chris Quilala- that have captured listeners worldwide) has become a driving force in the worship movement’s success. With most songs that have exploded out of the last few years coming from either Passion (primarily Chris Tomlin’s work) or Jesus Culture; worship music has never been in such a better place, with a great number of worship leaders giving us great songs to listen to and worship along with, from artists like Chris Tomlin, Christy Nockels, Kim Walker-Smith, Meredith Andrews and Kari Jobe. Heartfelt melodies and a poignant musical atmosphere anchor this album, and though it’s only 9 tracks long (most albums are the standard 10-12 songs); Still Believe is still one of my favourite worship albums in January 2013 as of this moment (as well as Burning Lights and For All of Us). With such a great ability to bring listeners into communion with God, Kim’s album will be a blessing for all those who listen. Well done Kim for such an exciting and emotional album. Can’t wait for the new Jesus Culture album in 2013!
RIYL: Bethel Live, Jesus Culture, Kari Jobe, Chris Tomlin
Buy the Album: iTunes/Amazon mp3