Release Date: August 28th 2012
Reviewed by Joshua Andre
The Museum- My Only Rescue (Amazon mp3/iTunes)
What can I say about worship band The Museum from Atlanta, Georgia? Their sophomore album My Only Rescue drops to stores and digital outlets August 28th, with some pretty stiff competition from Tobymac, Karyn Williams and Luminate. With their lead single “Love Will Find You” releasing to iTunes in early July, as well as a music video filmed; the follow up to Let Love Win is highly publicised. Yet there seems to be something about the album as a whole that is lacking. Not that these songs are poor by any means. “Love Will Find You” is a well written motivational pop/rock CCM song. “In Jesus Name”, written by Jason Ingram, is also an album highlight, along with the title track and the 2011 single “Not For Sale”. But some of the other songs miss the mark for one reason or another. However I do respect the band’s worshipful heart for Jesus, and perhaps a few more listens will change my mind in liking the album more. At this point in time though, in a year full of high quality CCM and pop/rock music, including Kutless, Britt Nicole, Sidewalk Prophets, MercyMe and An Epic No Less; My Only Rescue is sadly near the bottom of my ‘pile’ in terms of favourite albums. Nevertheless the band does serve up some God orchestrated moments.
The lead single “Love Will Find You” comes in at number 5 on the track list, and is one of my favourites from the band. Speaking about how God always finds us, no matter what our circumstances are, and even when we doubt; this song screams out a similarity with Jonah from the Bible. The band wrote this guitar prominent ballad specifically for a friend far from God, but “Love Will Find You” can still apply to everyone in a rough spot ‘…So you’re feeling all alone, but you are never out of sight; there is healing in His arms, there is mercy in His eyes…’. With God confirming the theme of the record to the band during a trip to Compassion International in the Philippines: “On His behalf Compassion was there showing His love to people who had survived a terrible hurricane. Although we had written the lyric months earlier, we knew this would be the theme of the record; ‘You can run ‘til you can’t find home. You can sail ‘til you can’t see land. There is no place you can go; Love will find you where you are.’”; this is a message, a friendly reminder, that God can and will meet us where we are at. Well done Ben and co. for a thought provoking single!
Another favourite of mine is “My Only Rescue”, the title track, which became more real for lead singer Ben when his wife miscarried on the day the band was supposed to cut vocals. “…She called to tell me that she was losing the baby, she miscarried three days later. It was just devastating to us. The lyrics I had written just a few weeks before were now ministering to me. ‘Give me the faith to wait on You, give me peace to be still. You’re the only hope I lean on, give me faith to wait on You.’…”. Now this is true emotion- and kudos to Ben for not breaking down while singing! As the band has experienced first-hand, God is faithful, and while there are storms in our life, He is the one to guide us through, and He is our only rescue ‘…in a world full of let down, when it’s all falling down, in Your love I am found, You’re my only rescue…’. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and the title track has given me hope to believe this fact and soak in the presence of the unchanging God!
On this very musically diverse record, there are some successes, yet some misses too. Starting off with my highlights apart from the first single and the title track; “In Jesus Name” is written by Jason Ingram and other members of One Sonic Society. The Museum have deftly created a worthy cover that has me happily singing along and declaring at the top of my lungs ‘…My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus, His righteousness; when all around my soul gives way, I will trust in Jesus name…’. As the band have previously reiterated in their bio that they are in fact, all about worship- “Whether we are challenging someone to trust God through their valleys, or moving people to get involved in ending slavery in our generation, it’s all worship”; the cover from One Sonic Society impresses, and the slew of added instruments gives an edgier sound to this song, that is welcomed in my opinion.
“Not For Sale” is a 2011 call to action song written in response to what the band has seen in the Philippines, and is also a reminder that everything starts with us. We can’t keep thinking someone else will take a stand, and will eventually pick up the pieces; because if everyone had that mentality, what would happen to the sex slaves and the trafficked children? The band also filmed a music video to highlight this serious topic, and is one of the emotional and confronting songs on the album. Sometimes I want to place my head in the sand, but then I hear the lyrics ‘…I can feel we are closer now, I believe we can hear the sound, hope is coming for the broken down…’. Jesus is with us, guiding us to as to how we should deal with the problem of slavery, and that is a beautiful fact. Some of us may be called to sponsor children, whereas others may be called to just pray, or adopt. Whatever it is, this is the pinnacle of what a song should do- prompt you to move forward.
“Found In You”, “More Than Words” and “Solid Ground” round out my favourites. The radio pop song “Found In You” describes our future in Jesus- we are in Him when we are Christians- ‘…I’m found in You, wherever I go Your love surrounds me; I’m found in You, every day I feel you holding on to my heart, all my fears fade away…’ ,and with this fact we can conquer anything with Jesus’ help. Musically, this is a standard CCM/pop song, with the usual guitar riffs and the radio friendly atmosphere. Though not as ‘out-there’ as other tracks; sometimes musical simplicity is needed to concentrate fully on the God given lyrics. “More Than Words” is a slow tempo ballad, with a country feel. With vocals similar to David Zach of Remedy Drive in this track, Ben asks God to reveal more of Himself, so we can know Him fully: ‘…I want to see You as you are, I want to know Your every word, I want to draw much closer still, I want to know You more than words…’. Again, not a new concept; however this soft CCM song is a winner as far as radio is concerned- guaranteed it will be a single in the coming months. Compared with highlights in this album and other albums this year though, pop songs from Kutless, Sidewalk Prophets and Britt Nicole more lyrically and musically creative. But “More Than Words” brings God given truths, and this song still brings a happy smile to my face when I listen, and is a great song to follow “Not For Sale”. The 2nd song “Solid Ground” plays like a classical piece in the beginning, with a reverbing piano as a base line; and then Ben cries out lyrics that remind me of Psalm 139- that God knows every part of us, and what we are doing 24/7; and knows each one of us intimately. He is our strength when we are weak, so we can ‘…walk on water like it’s solid ground…’ as God will be with us every step of the way. With such an earnest longing to be near to and know God fully, Ben and The Museum have creatively crafted a track laudable of multiple listens.
However not all of the tracks grab my attention and hit me where I can feel the impact. The opener “All Over The World” is one of the most creative musically on the album, and reminds me of MercyMe’s rocky songs on their latest album The Hurt And The Healer. The band also made a mesmerising lyric video made, and layered the song with many electronic effects and drums. But the lyrics seem to be lacking in this track, with simplified lines such as ‘…All over the world let freedom reign, Our God is risen from the grave, and death He overcame…so forever we will sing – all over the world…’. “Coming Closer” is creative musically as well, however seems a little bit busy for my liking. It seems like in this track they are trying to be like Stellar Kart or Newsboys musically, with programming and electronic effects hitting me from everywhere- this is a dance track that is worthy of jumping up and down. But again, the lyrics feel out of place and uninspired, with Ben singing ‘…This love inside is running over, can you hear the joyous sound; almighty God, we’re coming closer, can you hear us crying out?…’- a tad superficial. The gang vocals of ‘woahs’ by the band also do not improve the song for me. But hopefully on a few more listens, I can appreciate it for what it is, and maybe the song will grow on me.
The final two tracks of “Better Than Life” and “Lost In a Moment”, while having some standout elements in the songs, including passionate vocals, also seem to feel forced a bit and rushed. In a recent interview with christianmusiczine, Ben explained that “Better Than Life” was written as a last minute change on the album, however I was sadly not feeling the inspiration as much as I would have liked in this track. The lyrics and the music alone are spot on, with Ben singing out how Jesus’ love is better than anything we can experience in life, and that ‘…You are my joy in the fight, when I fall down, You pick me up; You won’t stop holding on…’. But the subject matter seems to be the same as songs previously recorded in years gone past (Newsboys- Your Love is Better Than Life), as well as songs this year also (Remedy Drive- Better Than Life). “Lost In a Moment” starts with a snare drum beat and Ben sings one of the most inspirational songs on the record, with the band encouraging people to live each day as if they are our last, and that we never know how much time we all have to live on this earth ‘…nobody knows how many hours they have, so live every day, don’t throw them away; every second is a beautiful chance for life to be discovered…’. Musically the presence of the drums in the forefront during the bridge and the electric guitar in the chorus is a great technique to give distinction between the vastly different structures of prose. Yet there seems to be not much overt talk about God in this track- the only remedy given in this album closer for not knowing when you’re going to die is to ‘…get lost in the moment…’. This certainly is a weird last song, and given my favourites on My Only Rescue, these few ‘lemons’ can be overlooked for me. Hopefully in the future the songs that don’t hit me straight away will later!
The Museum’s sophomore album is a bit of a mixed bag, with top notch worship songs, alongside standard CCM pop radio friendly tracks, and tracks which try to fit in way too many genres and at first glance seems confusing and directionless. Yet, if you ask me to review this album in 3 months or so, I’ll probably rate it higher. I don’t know. All I know is that The Museum have tried very hard for their sophomore album, and with some success (“In Jesus Name”, “Not For Sale”, “Love will find You”, “My Only Rescue”), with some room for improvement needed in a few songs (“All Over The World”, “Lost In a Moment”). Don’t chuck out the baby with the bath water though- keep The Museum in your sights- they do have potential, and here’s to hoping album #3 is a little bit more cohesive.
- All Over the World
- Solid Ground
- Found In You
- My Only Rescue
- Love Will Find You
- In Jesus Name
- Coming Closer
- Not For Sale
- More Than Words
- Better Than Life
- Lost in a Moment
Favourite Tracks: Found In You, My Only Rescue, Love Will Find You, In Jesus Name, Not For Sale, More Than Words