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JFH Music Review

Plumb, Exhale


Artist Info: Discography
Genre(s): Pop / Worship
Album length: 12 tracks / 14 tracks (Deluxe)
Street Date: May 4, 2015


The book of Psalms, the Bible's handbook on worship, is filled with many different kinds of praise. Some Psalms (the Hebrew word for "songs") are pure reflection on the awe-inspiring nature of God, His goodness, His holiness and on down the incalculable list. Some Psalms are prayers for help in the midst of trouble, and for God's justice to be shown to evil-doers. And some Psalms are moments of personal worship by David or other writers in response to the Lord bringing them through the fire and back again.

Plumb, who is approaching 18-plus years of musical life under that stage name, has had a crazy few past years, as documented in her recent book Need You Now - A Story of Hope, and that has inspired her to write her first complete collection of worship material, Exhale. And believe it or not, this is an uncommon approach to in the worship music field. Much of the corporate worship music being written nowadays falls into the first category of worship, and while that's fine on one level, it's completely refreshing to hear a batch of songs that carry the worship element in response to a personal story.

The title track leads off the album with the words "It's okay to not be okay," which might sound like a profound journal entry by a seventh grader on the surface, but in Plumb's hands, the phrase comes off like a thesis statement that infuses the album with a humble and earthy quality that is immediately clear. The tune itself is a powerhouse of a lead-off track, with a crashing, soaring chorus that invites the listener to "let go, surrender, let His love wrap around you, hold you close, surrender, breathe it in then exhale." The finest moment of the song, though, is the bridge, where Plumb's yearning, expressive voice informs the listener that "we do not exist for us, but to share His grace and love, and exhale." A statement this concise, yet chock-full of meaning is the mark of a veteran artist. And as a seeming bonus, Plumb's proto-industrial-meets-epic-pop sound is greatly suited for this type of worshipful statement. "Lord I'm Ready Now," Plumb's current single on the radio (which also made its debut last year as a bonus track on a Deluxe Edition re-release of Need You Now), is a great slice of pop music that lifts the soul in all the right ways. The "sing-along" quality is high on this track, and it captures the universal feeling of wanting desperately to be done with a problem.

The following "Smoke" circles back to the fruitful metaphor of God being "the oxygen inside these weary lungs," "Resurrection" asks the poignant question, "do you believe the story we're living is not the end?" against the backdrop of majestic synths, and "Great Is Our God" is a pure statement of God's goodness and beauty set against a cinematic backdrop. The only real mis-fire here is "My True Love," a vaguely clubby tune that means well, but comes off as a slightly-plastic dance tune masquerading as a worship song (including the confusing "is she singing about God or her husband" question). One mis-step against the backdrop of eleven other great tracks is not a bad batting average at all.

The world of Christian Music could use a lot more albums like Exhale; albums that portray an honest journey of faith and doubt, of hope and pain. In the near-future, when a veteran artist's sound, sensibilities and history collide like they do here, the result should be compared against this album as the metric of how to create a worshipful document of God's faithfulness through personal upheaval.

- Review date: 5/3/15, written by AlexCaldwell of

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JFH Staff's Second Opinion

Coming off of her critically acclaimed album, Need You Now, Plumb has decided to try her hand at writing a worship album. She thinks outside of the normal box with Exhale and pulls it off nicely. Plumb manages to write songs that work for both personal times with God and within corporate worship settings. Thankfully, Exhale sounds like a Plumb album and doesn't feel forced in the slightest. The songs and lyrics are inspired and don't sound like what you get from the typical worship album flooding CCM airwaves today. "Resurrection" leads the way as the album best for this reviewer, but there are plenty of gems to draw you into worship available here. The lead single, "Lord, I'm Ready Now," "Smoke," "When You Walk Into the Room," and "We Stand For You" (from Exhale's deluxe edition), are also wonderful inclusions. It's tough to call Exhale Plumb's best work, but the album is far from cookie-cutter worship music. If more artists took the time to create true art for our Savior, Christian music--and dare I say, our world--would be in a better state. Instead of copying the same tired and overused clichés, Plumb reaches for passion and honesty as the lyrics obviously come from her heart. Exhale is an exceptional album worthy of your attention. It's the type of album that has the ability to put you in a state of worship at any time and challenges the listener beyond learning the words to a new worship song. Plumb should most definitely be applauded for her efforts. - Review date: 5/5/15, written by Michael Weaver of



JFH Staff's Additional 2 Cents

Upon the heels of her most popular album to date, Tiffany Arbuckle Lee (better known to the world as Plumb) is finally ready after two decades to deliver her first album arguably marketed exclusively toward the Christian market. Presented as a worship album, Exhale isn't quite like what most would expect with an album of that label. Granted, musically, it sounds about as contemporary as what one might usually expect from a Christian market release (which unfortunately is a bit of a downgrade for Plumb, who has previously masterfully toed the fine line between bright pop, edgy rock, and alternative music, with a certain skill for crafting irresistibly danceable remixes). But lyrically, Exhale is anything but a vehicle for potential corporate worship songs (with the exception of "Great Is Our God"), serving more like a collection of personal prayers put to music (each revolving around the theme of breathing in and out God's grace and love). Exhale may be a fairly safe project artistically, but it is still immensely enjoyable, often profound, and a certainly personal project that deserves attention. - 5/23/15, Mark Rice of



. Record Label: Curb Records
. Album length: 12 tracks / 14 tracks (Deluxe)
. Street Date: May 4, 2015
. Buy It: iTunes (Deluxe)

  1. Exhale (3:42)
  2. Lord I'm Ready Now (3:33)
  3. Smoke (4:29)
  4. Resurrection (4:52)
  5. Great Is Our God (4:24)
  6. My True Love (3:56)
  7. Broken Places (3:45)
  8. Faithful (4:17)
  9. Champion (4:23)
  10. Sleep Will Be Sweet (3:48)
  11. When You Walk Into the Room (5:00)
  12. Restored (4:37)

    Deluxe Edition Bonus Tracks:
  13. We Stand For You (3:57)
  14. You Are Enough (3:37)


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