Album Review :
Love & The Outcome - Love & The Outcome
- When We Love Someone
- He is With Us
- No Mistaking (It’s You)
- City of God
- The Story You’re Building in Me
- Closer to You
- Bring Us Back
- King of My Heart
- Heart Like You
- What a Promise
- I See You (Deluxe)
- Your Way (Deluxe)
- What It Looks Like (Deluxe)
‘…Imagine, if you will, selling most of your worldly possessions (including the place you call home) and hitting the road to pursue a musical vision. You’re leaving your native country. You have no idea what’s ahead. You don’t know where you’ll rest for the night. You take stock and realize that all you have—or all you have left—are your songs, your dreams, your spouse, and your trust in God…and these four things make up the rope of hopefulness you cling to, day in and day out…’ This above statement is perfectly true for many artists uprooting themselves in any part of the world and coming to America to make it big in the Christian music industry. From The City Harmonic, Hawk Nelson, Manafest, Matt Maher, and Manic Drive, to Newworldson and Thousand Foot Krutch; Canadian Christian artists have been thriving within the music industry of late. Add now to the list Love and the Outcome, a Canadian husband and wife duo with vocalist Jodi King and husband and bass player Chris Rademaker; a pop-contemporary band that currently has a great radio single on the radio ‘He is With Us’, perhaps becoming one of my favourite songs of the year so far. After selling their condo in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 2010 and travelling the country of the U.S., their love for each other and the band is what has created the 11 tracks on the album, with both Jodi and Chris meeting through touring together not that long ago. While Love and the Outcome continues to incorporate Jodi’s pop melodic sound that was present on her solo albums released over the last 3-4 years, the message behind the forthcoming album reminds us to be the conduits of God’s love and grace to everyone that we meet. From the heartfelt first single ‘He is With Us’ to the first music video of the song ‘City of God’; the duo’s vision is clear- that the songs sung on the album and at the live shows become more than just that, that the songs ‘…plant a seed in people’s hearts: to go for the things that they might be afraid to go for and join this joyful revolution…’ Enthusiastic and joyful, and perhaps one of the most passionate and enjoyable albums to listen to throughout these past few months, this debut album from a band that I suspect will follow the likes of Hawk Nelson, Newworldson and Matt Maher and gain the fans and popularity of millions of Americans and other listeners worldwide; is a certain purchase if you enjoy contemporary pop a la Natalie Grant, Amy Grant or Britt Nicole.
‘He is With Us’ is the first radio single from Love and The Outcome, and also one of my favourite songs that I’ve heard on over these last few months. Speaking about how Christ is with us in the good and bad times, this acoustic guitar driven melody with a pop contemporary edge and great harmonisation of vocals from both Jodi and Chris, Love and the Outcome present to us a song that we can certainly sing both in the high peaks and low moments. The poignant words that start off the song present to us scenarios and moments where we could feel lost, hopeless, unsure and alone, as Jodi cries out ‘…we can’t pretend to see the ending or what’s coming up ahead, don’t know the story of tomorrow but we can stay close to the One who knows…’ A moment of clarity comes as the song progresses from quivering doubt to unshakable faith as through the powerful vocals Jodi possesses becomes a great asset as she delivers one of the most powerful vocal performances on a song released to iTunes this year! Full of emotion and uplifting motivation, there’s no question that listeners will be changed after hearing the song, no matter if they enjoy pop rock or folk or acoustic. With ‘He is With Us’ inserting alongside ‘You Are’ (Colton Dixon), ‘I Am’ (Finding Favour), ‘Beautiful Love’ (Shine Bright Baby) and ‘Never Beyond Repair’ (Everfound) as one of my favourite 5 songs from New Artists this year so far; we are offered hope and wisdom in the ending words of the song ‘…he is with us always…’ A comfort to know that when God means always, it is; this song reflects to me the message Christ wanted to give His disciples before He left after His resurrection, and what He still longs for us to hear. He will be with us, and this song testifies to that statement and is sure to become a favourite song of mine when 2013 ends. Well done Jodi and Chris for placing everything on the line to deliver one of the most inspired pop-contemporary melodies of 2013 so far!
With an acoustic guitar riff starting one of my favourite songs on Love & The Outcome’s debut album, ‘No Mistaking (It’s You)’ is a 3 minute 15 second melody that gives us a reassurance of God’s closeness and always-surprising nature, how He shows up in the lives of us in ways that are unanticipated, daunting and equally exciting at the same time. Listening to the song that reminds me of the moments in anyone’s life where they could want more prove of the Lord’s working in certain situations, Jodi relates in the poignantly honest words of how ‘…there are those times when the night feels so long, yeah and I wanna cry, God I believe You’re with me but sometimes I’d like a burning bush, wish I could see You like a firework…’ As we relate to longingly wanting God to show up in grandiose ways as we declare to our friends and fellow Christians of the big things the Lord has been doing, not just in our own lives but in that of others, it is often in the small everyday instances of God’s working and continuous presence in our own lives rather than the big miraculous moments that show us God’s infinite grace and power. While signs and wonders like the burning bush and fireworks can be magnificent and totally representative of God’s glory, we often miss the little God ordained moments while we’re searching for the wow-factor Christians and non-Christians alike are in awe of. While a tad over three minutes, this hand clapping, feet stomping acoustic pop song speaks to me personally to slow down and realise the fingerprints of God over our lives as we reflect upon the good things He has done, even during the moments when we haven’t even asked or even thought of Him.
Also reflecting a similar theme is ‘Bring Us Back’, a personal melody delivered to God out of a place of transparency and openness. A song that incorporates light keyboard riffs and percussion with a snare drum, also encourages listeners of God’s faithfulness within the vulnerably emotional lyric phrase of how ‘…You have always been, You will always be here, for worse, for better, dear God, bring us back together…’, with Jodi’s vocals, reminiscent of Amy Grant or Rebecca St. James, becoming a great highlight, not just in this track but throughout all the songs on the album. A musical journey of a persona who drifted away from the Lord only to realise that life can’t be lived to the fullest extent without Him with them; ‘Bring Us Back’ reminds listeners of God’s endless pursuit of His children, and our thankfulness towards Him for His perseverance to bring us back together. ‘King of My Heart’ expounds more on the theme of struggling without Christ against the world as we are presented through Jodi’s powerful vocals scenarios we so often face, whether we are believers in Christ or not. Whether to live a life or self-indulgence or one where we place others first is something that’s duelling inside all of us, yet as Jodi reminds listeners, it can all amount to our temptation and ultimately giving into it as we are faced with ‘…a war every minute, I know for sure I’ll never win it, I am David up against Goliath…’ With gang vocals and Josh Wilson’s dear friend Jeff Pardo lending a hand on both the keyboards and programming, as well as the acoustic guitars; this track that offers a personal declaration that Christ is the king of our hearts is as worshipful as it is confronting, as we wonder who really is at the centre of our lives, despite our own verbal assertions and praises. Well done Chris and Jodi for two of my favourites from Love and the Outcome.
‘City of God’ is a great anthem that’s hopefully bound to be the second single from the August 27th release, with both Jodi and Chris offering powerful vocals as the song moves into the thematic territory of Christian collective unity and the coming togetherness of individuals in love with Christ, shining their light to unveil a city of God to the nations. A feeling of anticipation, expectation, hope and eagerness as I listen to this song, Love and the Outcome’s inspiration for this track has been from their travels around the world- ‘…when you’re together and you’re worshipping, everyone is the same [regardless of the country]. It doesn’t matter what you look like or what you smell like: everyone wants to welcome you into the family…’ ‘Heart Like You’ is a melody with shakers, reverbing keyboards, powerful guitars and great harmonisation between Jodi and Chris, birthed out of a sense of love and longing to be like Christ as Jodi offers up a vulnerable lyrical section in the words of how she longs for God to ‘…give me eyes to see Your Kingdom the way You want it to be…’. ‘Heart Like You’ results in an unveiling of a personal invitation to invite the Lord to come and transform our hearts to His likeness; while ‘Closer to You’ is an upbeat acoustically driven song co-written with Matt Hammitt of Sanctus Real that provides the message of God’s constant nature in the midst of the ever-changing world we live in. Providing us with a source of anchoring our faith and life in instead of the transientness of this life, we witness a great statement in the words of how ‘…every season I go through is bringing me closer to You…’, alongside lyric lines in the bridge that directly paying homage and respect to the beloved hymn, ‘How Great Thou Art’, complete with gang vocals with great passion and a rousing electric guitar that’s bound to bring any person from their seat and dance along with praise and adoration.
‘When We Love Someone’ thematically reminds myself of Citizen Way’s ‘Evidence’, showcasing strikingly distinct and powerful drum kicks alongside harmonising vocals and backing vocals as both Jodi and Chris create a first track that relays the importance of love and the practice of it, and that the very act of loving someone shows the other individual God’s love and compassion; while ‘The Story Your Building in Me’ is a piano based autobiographical melody that invites listeners into the story of Love and the Outcome, and the moments that have created the band that have transpired throughout these last few years. From Jodi hinting about a family member’s cancer diagnosis to a sold house and travelling around the U.S.; we are invited to reflect upon the lyric line that ‘…I don’t wanna miss a thing, this is the story You’re building in me…’ and understand that the moments within us, good and bad, are used by Christ to further our progression as children of God as we journey life along with Him. Ending the album with a drum heavy light guitar track ‘What a Promise’; it is the eleventh track that leaves myself in one of the most energised moments after listening to an album from start to finish this year, as Jodi places on a slight Rebecca St. James voice twang to assert the declaration that God’s promises will prevail, and that ‘…You will never leave, You will never leave…You will never let, You will never let, go, if Your Word our hope is, then we’ll never lose it, what a promise…’ The rising emotions that come to the fore when listening to the bridge is something that will remain challenging to me, as Love & The Outcome tackle the theme of worry, and that as the promises of God are true, there’s no need for fear or uncertainness as we are promised that ‘…if the God who spoke my heart into existence told me not to worry what tomorrow brings, we’ll believe it…’ A song that’s just as powerfully piercing as ‘No Mistaking (It’s You)’; ‘What a Promise’ ends an album that’s certain to be in my top 10 albums of 2013!
Adding 3 more tracks onto the deluxe version of Love and the Outcome, both Jodi and Chris deliver to us songs of hope, inspiration and moments of praise and adoration in these three added gems that continue to assert and promote both the artist and album as a choice for listeners to check out next week when the album releases. ‘I See You’ is a heartfelt melody about how we often see God in the moments of our struggles, triumphs and every moment in between often after the event rather than when we’re right in the middle of it, and complete with light electric guitars and Jodi’s powerful vocals, we are reminded that ‘…all things work together for those of us who choose to call You ‘God’, You may use calm, You may use chaos, You’ll use whatever leads us to the cross…’; and that even though we may go through tough times, and sometimes times where we may scratch our heads and wonder how on earth can anyone survive this; God still is faithful, with ‘I See You’ a testament to God’s firm hand throughout every circumstance. Also providing the acoustically driven ‘Your Way’, a song written with songwriter Sam Mizell and written on behalf of both Sam and Chris’s mums who both had terminal illnesses and wanted to die with dignity; as well as the feet stomping hand clapping ‘What It Looks Like’, a song that encourages us to love on ourselves, other people and God with the inspiring chorus that hopefully lets listeners know that ‘…it doesn’t matter what you know, doesn’t matter where you go, high or low, near or far or wide, doesn’t matter what you get, when you make it to the end, love is all you ever leave behind, c’mon live what it looks like…’; these three bonus tracks on Love and the Outcome are enough to assert my judgement that alongside Everfound and 1 Girl Nation, Love and the Outcome are my favourite new band of 2013. Well done to both Jodi and Chris for such open and transparent tracks and some of my certain highlights on this debut album!
Overall: Releasing on the same date as the greatly anticipated Overcomer, the 4th album from Mandisa, as well as the release All In from the newly improved and ever-reliable pop-punk band Stellar Kart; Love & The Outcome’s release is certain to create momentum and appeal as the Canadian husband-wife duo has created one of my favourite contemporary pop albums of the year so far, only overshadowed by releases from Josh Wilson (Carry Me) and The Afters (Life is Beautiful). Reminding us of God’s promise, presence and provision everywhere we go and are, Love and the Outcome’s debut record is a bright highlight that’ll hopefully continue far into the future, with this Canadian outfit getting my vote for best album from a new artist in 2013. With standout tracks like ‘City of God’, ‘What a Promise’, ‘No Mistaking (It’s You)’ and the first radio single ‘He is With Us’; both Jodi and Chris have unveiled their vulnerability to unmask 11 tracks of honesty and transparent songwriting. Well done guys for such an inspiring and motivational album.
RIYL: Rebecca St. James, Britt Nicole, Natalie Grant, Amy Grant