Journeys of the heart or the hands are often put to music. Exploring such dynamics of life as relationships, hopes and dreams, pain and joy… all are given equal radio playtime. But the trip we take with God- not necessarily so much. Oh sure, we lift our voices in exaltation and declaration often (at least once a week, I'd imagine), but honest lingering within the dialogue of human expectation and the holy current of God's direction used to be a rarity. Florida native Chris Taylor wasn't expecting God to come crashing into his existence, wasn't expecting to end up leading youth worship, or having an encounter with Matt Redman that would make him almost quit for good. And it was in that season of the journey, not the song, in which Take Me Anywhere took its form.
The album picks up with a humming organ and echoed breathy vocals as "Turn Me Around" leads things off. Minutes go by, as the song skirts the edge of finally filling up with sound, only to finally kick in just before ending. That type of atypical composition, along with the prog-pop tones and gentle, atmospheric elements all make it an intriguing listen. Hooky choruses primed for mainstream CCM consumption bring it right back into its paradigm, only to be dislodged as soon as the next song hits. It may not be a flawless orchestration, but the varied emphasis works… mostly.
Standout cuts include the title track, resounding "You can take me anywhere you want to go / anytime just let me know / And I will be waiting for you / And if I break upon the shore / I will know I need you more" and the ethereal "Atmosphere." Sadly, right behind them comes "You See Through Me," which resorts to less-explorative lyrics and a more predictable melody (although no less catchy). It's an odd album to take in aggregate… because as soon as one is about to write it off as typical fare- an interjected instrumental break or interesting off-note revives your interest. The songwriting itself is just as poetic-and-then-passé, as "Found" begins subdued and average, only to open wide once the chorus arrives… whereas "Speak to Me in Mysteries"- with its fluttering synth opening- speaks volumes of potential only to be reduced by multiple, tragic "wha-uh-oh"s.
Take Me Anywhere could be classified a number of ways, but in the end, these are truly worship songs. The journey taken at the side of Christ remains central throughout, and Mr. Taylor has taken the surprises that come along with that adventure and personalized them in song. The questions, the looks ahead, the gazes above and within… all are well represented. It's definitely worth listening to, not only because it's good, atypical songwriting- but because no one else of his genus is exploring the bounds of it like Chris Taylor is.- Review date: 4/14/08, written by David Goodman
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