Artist: Laura Cooksey
Title: Unshakeable EP
Release Date: 1/31/12
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre
- By Faith
- The Love of Christ
- Here We Go
Touring in 2011 with Laura Story and Britt Nicole and being a backup singer for Christian singer Mandisa for many years, Laura released her 6-song EP By Faith independently on the last day of January 2012. A little apprehensive in purchasing the album on iTunes (just another female ccm artist comparable to Natalie Grant and Mandisa, why bother, right?); I was definitely proved wrong as I listened to this EP over and over, and was continually blessed by it’s lyrically rich and musically refreshing sound. One of my favourite EP’s of the year, it is definitely certain that Laura will receive a record label deal this year (along with independent artist Tiffany Thurston- Natalie Grant’s background singer). With heartfelt ballads and prayers to God, and reassurances from the point of God, this EP has shown to have hidden gems of gold, well worth a listen if you want to just sit back and allow God to minister to you by displaying His grace and abundant mercy.
‘Unshakeable’ is the title track of the EP and is almost destined to be one of my favourite songs from the first half of 2012. With a guitar hook that brings even the uninterested in to listen, I was able to soak in the words, appreciating that the God that I and many other Christians serve, is indeed unshakeable. Through the booming drum beats and guitar that promotes the radio-friendly atmosphere of the song, Laura sings out ‘…when faith is silenced by my disbelief, when I tremble in uncertainty, when I am shaken at the core of me you remain…’ Reminiscent of MercyMe’s ‘Only You Remain’, this is an anthem that is certain to be sung in churches very soon. Reminding of how ‘…yesterday, today, and forever you will be the same…’, I am able to sing along to this pop anthem as I worship the God who is ever reliant, ever trustworthy, knowing all of me and loving every blemish that I have, yet also encouraging me to continue to have the faith to proclaim that ‘…You’re high on your throne, Lord of Heaven you are in control…’ Listening to ‘Unshakeable’ has further led me to advocate Laura as one of the best new female artists of the year. Written by fellow new artist Tiffany Thurston, ‘Unshakeable’ reminds us all of God’s steadfast love, the solid rock that we stand upon. Well done Laura for such a compelling first single!
Both ‘By Faith’ and ‘Here We Go’ are for the dancers who just want to jump up and groove their feet to the lyrical melodies and music as they just worship God. ‘By Faith’ is an autobiographical song, about how Laura overcame her nagging doubts and fears by letting the Lord minister to her heart. As I reflect on the first few lines, ‘…too many times I let the voice of fear control the way I live and silence every dream, too many days, been paralysed by doubt, the questions scream and shout and I waste another day…’, I am amazed to see how true this statement is of many people in society, how they walk around living in fear of what has been spoken over them before. As we release that God sees us in a different light, we need to breakout and live ‘…by faith…’, and as the song employs many musical techniques by using hand claps, light percussion and keys and soaring vocals, I am certain this song will be able to minister to many people who are able to listen. ‘Here We Go’ is a nice fun last song, with hand claps and a gorgeous piano hook. Speaking about the simplicities of life, slowing down and enjoying the moment like little children, I am reminded of Matthew 18:3, how Jesus spoke to His disciples, showing them that ‘…truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven…’ As I reflect upon the lyrics in the pre-chorus: ‘…let’s get back to the days of our childhood simplicity, when our lives were the song and our dreams the melody…’ I am able to understand that society needs to recapture the innocence and hope that was once felt in childhood that may have dwindled of late. With God’s help (and dancing to this last track!), I’m sure we can recapture some of the sparks that the Lord always intended for us to have. Well done Laura for such a confronting and reinvigorating experience!
The remainder of the album isn’t as pop-dance as the first three discussed, nevertheless, these next few are much more poignant and worshipful. Laura covers the Hillsong fan favourite ‘Hosanna’ nicely, as she sings her heart out ‘…I see a near revival stirring as we pray and seek, we’re on our knees…’ This is certainly one of my favourite worship songs of the decade, along with ‘Above All’, ‘Mighty to Save’, ‘Blessed Be Your Name’ and ‘Here I Am To Worship’. Creating a worshipful mood by utilising reverbing keyboards and a strong piano hook, I was able to sit back and worship, crying out to God, ‘…Hosanna in the highest…’ ‘Rest’s is a piano-based melody sung from Jesus’ point of view, based upon Matthew 11:28-30, how Jesus speaks to the crowd, declaring that those who rest in Him will be rejuvenated, refreshed and reinvigorated. As Laura’s hauntingly refreshing vocals sing out ‘…when there is chaos that circles around you…there is a refuge and His name is Jesus…’, sounding a little like Stacie Orrico or Rachael Lampa, we are reminded that God revitalises us when we’re feeling weak, spiritually and physically.
Overall: There is a line in Laura’s song, ‘The Love of Christ’ that is crucial to the message of the album in general, ‘…how high, how long, how wide, how deep, is the love of Christ…’ Listening to this EP, I was able to abide in the comfort that God’s love is never-ending. With Tiffany Thurston and For King and Country moving from background singers to solo careers, Laura is the next artist where I’m confident her transition will result in many of her songs receiving critical and listener acclaim. Well done Laura for a refreshing and solid debut EP!
RIYL: Rachael Lampa, Natalie Grant, Christy Nockels, Jaci Velasquez
Buy the Album: iTunes/Amazon mp3