Release Date: August 21, 2012
Reviewed by Emily Kjonaas
Tenth Avenue North – The Struggle (Amazon MP3/iTunes)
This album was at the top of my list for being one of the most anticipated albums of 2012. Tenth Avenue North has been one of my favorite bands to listen to, and meet, when I’m able to see them live. Not only are they able to lead a crowd in worship, spreading the Gospel through speaking and music, but they also can be quite the comedians. I have been a fan for several years now and I was eagerly awaiting the release of The Struggle.
One of the unique things about The Struggle was that the band hosted several “sing on our record” events around the country. Fans were invited to become a choir of over 700 people to sing many simple harmonies that could potentially make their way onto some of the songs. This not only added a unique spin to this CD but also a personal one for the fans that were able to be part of the choir.
“Shadows” begins the record followed by the title track, “The Struggle”. This song, and this record for that matter, is about how we are free to struggle, yet we’re not also struggling to be free. The lead singer Mike explains it like this, “We are free to fail because there’s an ocean of grace that we fall into. But also, we have the promise of a power so strong that it raised Christ Himself, and so we know that, mystery of mysteries, we’re also not struggling to be free.” This is also the first song that elicited a squeal from my friend and I as we heard the fan-choir.
Song number three, “Worn”, has to be my favorite song on the record. Mike, Jeff, and Jason wrote this song in response to their hectic lives as husbands, fathers, and musicians. Some of my favorite lyrics come from this song, ‘Let me see redemption win, let me know the struggle ends, that you can end a heart that’s frail and torn, I wanna know a song can rise from the ashes of a broken life and all that’s dead inside can be reborn.’
Following is “Losing”, the first single from The Struggle that has been played many times on radio stations across the country. “Don’t Stop The Madness” is next followed by “Where Life Will Never Die”. Track 7 is another favorite titled “Strangers Here”. As can be guessed from the title, this song talks about how we are strangers on earth and how the trials here on earth will disappear once we reach heaven.
Okay, pretty much all of these songs can be labeled as a personal favorite from this record. “Grace” is also filed under that category. ‘Grace, only grace can roll your dead heart’s stone away’ are some more powerful lyrics that spoke to me from this CD.
“All The Same”, “Hostage Of Peace”, and “You Do All Things Well” are the final three songs before the closing song of this record, “Lamb Of God”. This ending track is yet another personal favorite. I distinctly remember singing everything that appeared on this record but the choir vocals that appear on this song were my favorite to record. ‘You are holy, You are worthy, You’re the Lamb of God’ are what we sang and appear several times throughout this song. However, the fan-choir joining in with Mike doesn’t appear until we begin fading in after three-and-a-half minutes and last for about half a minute. But the Tenth Ave guys arranged this song beautifully.
Tenth Avenue North continues to get better and better with each record they put out. Overall, The Struggle is an album that appeals to not only Tenth Avenue North fans but people out there who are looking for a great worship album. This record lets the listener know that they are free to struggle and free to be free from their struggles but it’s evident that God’s Grace is enough to set us free and is there for us so we don’t have to be bound by our struggles.
- The Struggle
- Don’t Stop The Madness
- Where Life Will Never Die
- Strangers Here
- All The Same
- Hostage Of Peace
- You Do All Things Will
- Lamb Of God