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JFH Staff Review

Aaron Gillespie, Anthem Song

Aaron Gillespie
Anthem Song

Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 11 tracks: 43 minutes, 44 seconds
Street Date: March 8, 2011

Most of the Christian music world first met Aaron Gillespie when Solid State Records signed a band called Underoath, for which he was the drummer and vocalist. Underoath got bigger and bigger, and Gillespie then formed his own solo venture, a pop punk band by the name of The Almost. Some time after Underoath's 2008 album, Lost in the Sound of Separation, Gillespie announced his departure from the band to focus on The Almost and a new project. After dabbling in death metal and hardcore and then the pop punk field, Gillespie has now ventured into another area: worship music. 2011 sees his debut worship album on BEC Recordings, Anthem Song.

There's not much to say about Anthem Song that hasn't already been said about countless other contemporary and worship albums. It's pretty standard material, which is extremely disappointing considering the immense talent that we have seen displayed from Gillespie in other projects. While it's clear that he's passionate about what he does, the music and lyrics remain rather unimaginative. He brings nothing to the table that you wouldn't get from a legion of Christian hit radio pop worship bands (or U2, which Gillespie has listed as an influence on his style). In fact, the album opener, "All Things," is led by some guitar that seems borrowed from U2's "Pride (In the Name of Love)." Gillespie has also made it known that he's been inspired by Hillsong United, which presents itself pretty clearly throughout Anthem Song as well. The United influence is mainly heard in the music aspect, such as overused guitar lines and driving bass drums (rare, but present). Then there are tracks like "Anthem Song," where pretty much every bit of it (other than Gillespie's signature vocals) sound like they could fit on a United album.

Gillespie does have a couple shining moments on Anthem Song, though. The track "Washed Away" is a highlight amongst the rest. It's still not a great track, but it finds a way to stand out from the rest a little. The hook is pretty catchy, which may be the reason it sticks out. I do, however, enjoy the following track, "Earnestly I Seek Thee." It's a good rendition of an old hymn that may be the best track on the album. "You Are Jesus" has some catchy and well-played piano, sounding like something you might hear in a Poema song, but also has some keys and a southern-style guitar. The lyrics are also more on par with what we've come to expect from Gillespie, as are the lyrics to the next track, "You Are My Everything." Actually, this one may bring a smile to the faces of fans of The Almost. It's a little poppier than The Almost, but it's a nod in that direction.

Gillespie has already seen much popularity for Anthem Song's first single, "We Were Made For You," on Christian radio. He's bound to see a significant number of sales for Anthem Song from fans of his previous work (more so fans of The Almost than fans of Underoath, though I can picture Underoath's Christian fanbase possibly picking up Anthem Song as well), and he will gain new fans who listen to anything the radio feeds them, maybe even those who had never even heard the name Aaron Gillespie before. For fans seeking creativity in worship music (which is not a bad thing to desire), expectations may not be entirely met with this record. Much respect to Gillespie for making an album he's always wanted to make, but sadly, Anthem Song will be easy to pass on.

- PReview and Review date: 2/16/11, written by Scott Fryberger of

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JFH Staff's Second Opinion

From metalcore drummer to the front man of an alt/punk outfit, Aaron Gillespie has accomplished a lot in his relatively short career (he's only 27). When I heard Gillespie was doing a solo album I was stoked; when I heard it was a worship album, the feeling faded. Despite my feelings on the current state of "worship" music, Gillespie's talent was too much to pass up. One listen to his debut album, Anthem Song, will show that this isn't your typical worship album. The album feels more like a pop/rock album with an attitude of worship, and less like a contrived worship effort. Gillespie's voice and musical talent shine through on the album. By no means is Anthem Song musically original, but Gillespie's passion for God and music are clearly evident. Another refreshing aspect is that the songs are originals and not copies of songs that you've already heard by twenty different artists. While there may not be a ton of creativity in the music itself, it is nice to hear some worship songs not written by Hillsong or Chris Tomlin. "Hosanna," "Washed Away" and "Earnestly I Seek Thee" are a few of the top tracks Gillespie has to offer. This album takes me back to the days of the original Sonicflood release; back before "worship" music was the popular and trendy thing to do. With Gillespie's talent and passion, this is an album you are going to want to hear. - Michael Weaver, 3/3/11


. Record Label: BEC Recordings
. Album length: 11 tracks: 43 minutes, 44 seconds
. Street Date: March 8, 2011
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It: AmazonMP3
. Buy It:

  1. All Things (3:35)
  2. Hosanna (3:47)
  3. Washed Away (4:32)
  4. Earnestly I Seek Thee (3:43)
  5. We Were Made For You (3:32)
  6. I Will Worship You (4:09)
  7. Anthem Song (3:08)
  8. You Are Jesus (4:36)
  9. You Are My Everything (3:46)
  10. Your Song Goes On Forever (3:57)
  11. I Am Your Cup (4:59)
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