This album is full of brutally honest songs straight from frontman Ben Crist’s heart. I listened to the album straight through just to check it out and was surprisingly ushered into a time of genuine worship.
As a Worship Leader, I want to evaluate the album using three different areas: Biblical Integrity, Musical Composition, and Singability. These are things that you can use to evaluate all music used for corporate worship settings.
The album is full of biblically rich and honest truth. What I have always loved about The Glorious Unseen is the sense of desperation in their lyrics. Many worship songs today consist of biblically true statements about the love, grace, and mercy of God, but fail to acknowledge the depth of man’s sin and the Christian’s continual need of God’s unending grace.
“When my world is caving in. When my hopes are wearing thin. When I’m choking on my sin. Lord, You meet me here. When all around is crashing down I find myself alive in You. Holy One, renew…” -All Around. Track 01
The lyrics also resemble the Psalms in many places. Sadly, much of today’s worship music lacks the honesty of the Psalmists. How many popular worship songs can you think of like Psalm 13:
“How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?”
Sustain (Track 08) is an example of such reverent questioning:
“Why do you let evil have it’s way? How can You let orphans die in vain? When will You give answers for the pain? Is there a place can still sustain?”
We’ve all felt this way before. We’ve asked the questions. Why don’t we sing this way?
The song ends with this lyric: “God I’m holding on to You, so You can make me new.”
The Psalmist ends in a similar way, acknowledging the goodness of God despite the deep inward struggle: “I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”
The Glorious Unseen has successfully blended an Indie-Rock sound with Contemporary Worship. Ben’s voice is not your typical polished radio voice. It’s raw and lacks the high production sound of many studio recordings. In my opinion, this is a good thing.
The Hope That Lies In You showcases the band’s ability to write simple yet distinct songs. As a worship leader, I love this. The songs are easy to learn but stand out among those of other worship Artists.
I am constantly evaluating how easy songs can be sung as a congregation. There are many great songs that aren’t necessarily good for corporate worship. Other songs may have to be taught for a while before the congregation catches on.
These songs are just plain easy to sing. If someone were to walk into a church on a Sunday morning with this album as the worship set, they would be able to sing their hearts out to God with ease.
My only criticism of The Hope That Lies In You is the lack of references to the Cross. The only reference to the death of Christ is a lyric in Falling Into You: ‘You call me friend as I drive the nails again.’
Ben tackles big issues in his lyrics like sin, evil in the world, feeling as if God is absent, the restoration God provides, the Kingdom of God, etc. The answer to all of these issues is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Gospel has been assumed too much in our churches today. Not every song needs to be solely about the cross. But the cross is the center of our faith and should be a central theme in our singing.
Aside from my one criticism, this is a great album. It’s a very fitting reminder during a time when hope seems all but lost: God is our only hope. He is our rock. He is our fortress. He is our deliverer.
NOTE: Buy The Hope That Lies In You on itunes and get a bonus track- a beautiful rendition of Be Thou My Vision.