Praise and worship music is a strange animal. While usually offering the most blatantly devoted lyrics, it can simultaneously seem cheap and insincere. As a result, praise and worship albums tend to be hit and miss. At best, they can be inspiring and refreshing, while at worst they are cliché and dull. Fortunately, Aaron Shust tends to show the genre's good side.
Not everything on Shust's new album, Take Over, would be considered praise and worship, but there is a definite trend. The opening track, "To God Alone," is as straightforward as it gets. The atmosphere accelerates somewhat as "Come and Save Us" puts an edge on things with a nice opening guitar riff. "Forevermore" has a very simple melody that would fit nicely in any worship service. Everything is solid, although not quite exceptional to begin with. The first track that really stands out is the title track, which has a definite Mat Kearney feel to it. Shust's vocals fit perfectly with the relaxed style of the song. "Rest In the Arms" has a repetitive, rolling quality to it that makes it rather like a lullaby. Its message of trusting in the comfort of Jesus goes hand in hand with the restful atmosphere.
The only song that really stands out above the overall praise and worship theme is "Ever After." In this track, Shust takes on the task of disillusioning a friend about hoping in anything other than Christ as he sings, "There's no such thing as Peter Pan, no such place as Never Never Land... We won't find our happily ever after here. There's no such thing." It's a pleasing tune that is both humorous and gravely serious at the same time. Another track that listeners will definitely enjoy is the closer, "Carry Me Home." Here Shust shows what he can do with just his voice and a guitar. You will probably find yourself singing along in no time.
Take Over is a noticeable album if for no other reason than that every track is a solid, enjoyable effort. My only complaint is the unnecessary marring of "Live To Lose." This very simple song moves along quite nicely and pleasantly, but is abruptly broken by an awkward bridge where Shust repeats the unfortunately cliché line "Jesus you're the one, you're the only one for me."
Aaron Shust is no stranger to writing great music, and he continues to do so here. If you're looking for genuine praise and worship with a little rock and pop thrown in, you would do well to try Take Over.- Review date: 8/2/09, written by Timothy Estabrooks of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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