Label: Inpop Records
Release Date: 10/29/13
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre
- Mister DJ (New Recording)
- Hope (New Recording)
- Sunshine (New Recording)
- 5 Minutes at a Time (New Recording)
- This is The Time (New Recording)
- Rock What You Got (Fight Underdog Fight Mix)
- Cross the Line (Blockbuster Mix)
- Hey, Hey
- Stand in the Rain (Symphonic Mix)
- Beauty from Pain
- We Live
- Hero (Red Pill Mix)
- Get Up (Heelside Mix)
- Barlow Girls
- One Girl Revolution
Superchick has been one of Christian music’s most popular and relevant bands of the 2000s, often crossing the Christian line to have their songs being marketed in films, video games and TV shows around the world. Making their debut in 1999 at an Audio Adrenaline concert in front of around 5,000 people; it was the songs like ‘Anthem’, ‘Beauty from Pain’, ‘Stand in the Rain’, ‘Pure’ and ‘We Live’ that have captured listeners throughout their time as a band, and even now, despite the fact that the members of the band have decided to go their separate ways. With the decision to retire the band fuelled by the unfortunate passing of drummer Chase Lovelace, Superchick is sure to give us a great legacy as the years without them as a formal band continue to tick on by. While there has been much suspicion for quite some time about their hiatus, considering they had not released any new studio recordings since their 2008 album Rock What You Got, a statement made by keyboardist Max Hsu confirmed what was thought about by many fans around the world. With Tricia Brock, the lead singer of the band, already succeeding in her solo career (she has released 2 solo albums so far- The Road in 2011 and Radiate in 2013), a letter to the fans confirming the saddening decision to part ways is something that will etch into CCM history as bands that have departed without warning and in a sudden manner (add Bebo Norman, Downhere, David Crowder Band and BarlowGirl to that list as well). Nevertheless, this greatest hits album with 5 new songs attached is a must have for all Superchick fans (myself included). A bittersweet moment with the 5 new songs featured on the album having Chase Lovelace on the tracks playing the drums (before he passed away); this collection of songs is certain to touch and inspire many listeners and lives as the months and years progress. A great way to honour a band that has inspired the Christian rock scene throughout the last ten years or so, this is one of my favourite Greatest hits compilations by an artist since Chris Tomlin’s How Great is Our God: The Essential Collection.
Scanning through this 16 track album, it’s great to see songs that have given Superchick plenty of acclaim, as well as given listeners around the world some encouragement, motivation and emotion throughout all this time they have been a band. Songs like ‘Beauty from Pain’, ‘We Live’, ‘Pure’ and ‘Stand in the Rain’ need no introduction with these four being some of the biggest hits the band have released on possibly their most successful album to date, Beauty From Pain (both 1.0 and 1.1 editions). ‘Beauty from Pain’ is a great piano ballad that invites us into the heartfelt and emotional plea that Tricia sings, about her own grapple with the issue of pain in people’s lives, and how can a God with such love and affection for all of us create something beautiful from something seemingly cruel and destructive. An issue that all of us will be in front of and tackle ourselves sometime in our lives, this heartfelt, poignant melody invites us all to stand up and be full of hope, with the chorus reminding us that ‘…after all this has passed, I still will remain, after I’ve cried my last, there’ll be beauty from pain, though it won’t be today, someday I’ll hope again…’ Being confident in Christ is the heart behind the song, one of my favourites, not just on Recollection or on Beauty from Pain, but one of my favourite Superchick songs overall.
Also presenting other standout hits, Superchick give us ‘Pure’, a percussion prominent melody that reminds us to stand up, leave all the negativity behind us, and drink the pure water of God’s grace readily available to us whenever we need, and ‘We Live’, an emotional story-song about various scenarios where the persona has regretted putting off living and being able to freely choose their endeavours til it was too late. With ‘We Live’ full of light percussion and great vocals, both from Tricia and Matt, we are invited to live our lives without regrets, and be able to fully embrace the time we have on Earth before circumstances occur that may leave us with having the regrets we so badly don’t want to burden ourselves with. The last track on Beauty from Pain represented on Recollection; ‘Stand in the Rain’ is featured as a symphonic mix, instead of the grunging electric guitar original version. With a message of us standing up for our own beliefs, even in the rain when everything else around us seemingly tells us that standing up is not an option, this gutsy powerful song works very well with the violins and other string instruments. The hope that when we ‘…stand through the pain, [we]…won’t drown and one day what’s lost can be found…’ is a great comfort, and one of my favourite lines from the song. Well done Superchick for these four melodies, and while I would’ve possibly wanted ‘Anthem’ to also be on Recollection, these 4 tracks are a great snapshot of an album that’s possibly one of my favourite Christian Rock albums of the last decade!
Released in 2008, Rock What You Got featured some hard-hitting powerful songs, like ‘Hey, Hey’, an anthem of standing up for what is right full of powerful gang vocals declaring out the chorus of how ‘…this song is for us, so put your hands in the air if you’re crazy like us, hey, hey…’, ‘Rock What You Got’, an encourager to all of us to be unique and ‘…rock the way you rock…’, as well as ‘Cross the Line’, a 2 minute 49 second fast-paced frenzied melody that motivates us to cross the lines we are supposed to, and to make sure that we live our lives without anything to be ashamed of or regret, knowing that ‘…everybody dies but not everyone lives…’ All those three songs are on Recollection, with both the remix versions of ‘Rock What You Got’ and ‘Cross the Line’ added onto the 16 song collection instead of their original versions. More musically choreographed in a unique way, both ‘Rock What You Got’ and ‘Cross the Line’ remind us that time is precious, and it shouldn’t be spent in ways that don’t show the world the real selves that God has intended for us to be. With more remix cuts of Superchick songs in ‘Hero’ and ‘Get Up’, these two melodies (both from Regeneration, with ‘Hero’ originally from One Last Picked and ‘Get Up’ from Karaoke Superstars) invite us to be a hero to someone in need (‘Hero’), as well as provide us with the motivation to press on and continue with our tasks in life, even when there is every reason for us to quit and stay down (‘Get Up’). With both of these remixes giving us a different slant on the song compared to their equally musically powerful and sound originals, the band round out the compilation tracks with two songs from their debut album, ‘Barlow Girls’ (speaking about the group of Barlow sisters and how they stand for sexual abstinence, and that as Christians, we ought to do the same), and ‘One Girl Revolution’ (an upbeat track with a great message of how even one person can have what it takes to change the world). A great way to end an album full of powerful hits and standout songs that are certain to impact lives long after the band has disbanded, Superchick have continued to show us our worth in the songs that have appealed to both the Christian music scene and the mainstream circle alike.
With 5 newly written and recorded songs, Superchick’s final unveiling of these tracks is a bittersweet moment. I’m sure that if Chase was still alive, the band may have continued to record, at least one final album full of new tracks. Alas, this sadly wasn’t the case. Setbacks like the passing of Chase led the band to honour him the way that they knew- recording the tracks they worked on when he was alive, and then not doing any more. They probably had written tons of songs for their new album, and while these members of Superchick may not necessarily be reforming any time soon, there is an option available that Max showed to be open to when he wrote the official letter of disbandment- that there could be a potential reforming of Superchick, but with all new members- if they felt God’s calling on their own hearts to be part of this group. Maybe demo songs could resurface then, maybe Superchick never comes back in any form at all and these songs aren’t recorded, or maybe they only wrote 5 songs and that’s it (highly unlikely). Regardless, Tricia and co. have given us 5 brand new tracks that are probably the most emotional on the album, given the circumstances surrounding the recording of them.
‘Mister DJ’ is track one on the album, and as the band presents to us a character called ‘Mister DJ’, a similar character to Mr Lovewell presented by MercyMe on their 2010 album, we are reminded that just like how in the song, Mr DJ is the life of the party and that with the music that he provides, everyone is dancing and enjoying themselves; we too as Christians are called to be the salt and light of the earth, and infect those around us with the love of Christ that they can’t help but recognise and see when they see us. A fun track that on the surface is a party song, yet when we look deeper, carries with it great meaning, ‘Mr DJ’ carries on into ‘Hope’, a bass guitar heavy track with some swinging beat undertones. Tricia sings about the topic of hope, and reminds us that there is always hope when we know that Christ carries us through. The powerful and double meaning words of how ‘…the water carries me, living water carry me…’ (because Christ is the living water we need in our lives, and we too need the physical water within us to survive as well) is something to ponder and delve deeper into as we understand that as long as we hope, we can accomplish and be motivated. ‘5 Minutes at a Time’, released in 2012, speaks about taking one breath after another, and even on the days that are hard, we just take ‘…one breath and let it out…everything will work to be just fine, we take life 5 minutes at a time…’ Sometimes all we have to go on is faith and trust, knowing that God’s promises are true- ‘5 Minutes at a Time’ reminds us of this. With Superchick also delving into themes of making the most of opportunities and understanding that ‘…this is the time to try, step out, your life is waiting…’ (‘This is the Time’), as well as how we ought to view each day as a special day, and how as we count our blessings and thank God for being there for us, we can find the hope and sunshine in any situation (‘Sunshine’); Superchick have given to us 5 melodies that have certainly left their fans wanting more, but knowing that it isn’t possible.
Overall: A solemn moment when we come to the end of the album, yet knowing that God has given them greater things for these members to accomplish. We are left with 11 hit songs, 5 new tracks, and 4 videos (music videos of ‘Cross the Line’, ‘Barlow Girls’ and ‘We Live’, behind the scenes video for ‘Cross the Line’), and a great snapshot of their career. With the band filming a music video for ‘Sunshine’, to debut in January 2014 (though I don’t know who’s going to be on drums, maybe Chase through archived footage?); Superchick’s mission (regardless of the members and who forms it) still remains the same- that music is created to encourage, uplift and motivate all generations of people, and their walk with Christ as they show God’s love to those they meet. From ‘Beauty from Pain’ and ‘Pure’, to ‘5 Minutes at a Time’, ‘Hey, Hey’ and ‘Stand in the Rain’; Superchick have developed a poignant, emotional and one of the most honest and hopefully treasured (by their fans at least) album for Superchick fans and those don’t know about Superchick alike to listen to again and again.
RIYL: BarlowGirl, Francesca Battistelli, Fireflight, Tricia Brock
Buy the Album: iTunes/Amazon mp3