Many churches and worship teams today are writing and recording their own worship music all across the world. Although their hearts are in the right place, musically some of the albums lack spark or creativity. But every once in a while, an album like Bethel Live's new live recording, Be Lifted High, combines irresistible melodies, Christ-centered lyrics, and a fresh rocking sound to inspire listeners across the world. Bethel Live is a worship team born out of the Bethel Church in Redding, California and this is their second live praise and worship album released in the last year. The Bethel Live worship team includes some well-known and up and coming artists including Brian and Jenn Johnson, Jeremy Riddle, William Matthews, Amanda Falk, and Steffany Frizzell.
The album begins with "You are Good," featuring a Coldplay/Hillsong influenced guitar melody but quickly moves into a fully charged praise song led by the unique vocal style of Brian Johnson, who garners comparisons to John Mark McMillan or Aaron Shust. The hope-inspiring "One Thing Remains" is one of the standout tracks which features heavy crowd interaction with the worshipful chorus of "Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me". The rocking rhthym of "Furious" picks up the pace with thunderous drums and nice guitar work. "Be Lifted High" begins softly with the chorus of "Be Lifted High, be Lifted High, for Your glory is lifted high," but the song builds into an emotional, soaring finish. Jenn Johnson's unique yet beautiful vocals shine on mellow "God I Look to You," recalling comparisons vocally to Sara McLachlan. However, William Matthews' awe-inspiring "Hopes Anthem" and Brian Johnson's compelling "Love Came Down" are the most memorable tracks on this release. Be warned that if you listen to the infectious "Deep Cries Out," you may be humming the refrain of "Deep cries out, deep cries out to him" for a week. A moving arrangement of Anthony Skinner's "Forever and Day" allows Jenn Johnson to shine again with her impressive vocal range and delivery.
It is evident that Bethel Live's intent is to write love and praise songs for God while using their vast musical influences and talents to breathe some life into your relationship with Him. Bethel Live's Be Lifted High brings some much needed fresh air to the praise and worship genre into one of the best releases this year in the genre.- Review date: 2/19/11, written by Jason Rooks of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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