Listen to the new album from ‎Jekalyn Carr!
Listen to the new album from ‎Jekalyn Carr!

JFH Staff Review


Citizens, The Joy of Being
CLICK COVER TO ENLARGE

Citizens
The Joy of Being



Artist Info: Discography
Genre(s): Worship / Indie
Album length: 8 tracks: 30 minutes, 5 seconds
Street Date: October 2, 2020


READER RATING:   


Alternative worship band Citizen's has been one of the most consistently excellent worship bands of the last decade. In a genre that often has trouble distinguishing itself from one another, Zach Bolen and co. stand among the upper tier of groups delivering the full package of artistry. Balancing devotional lyrics and musical intrigue is sadly rare, but never fear; the band pulls it off expertly once again. On this their fifth full-length album since their debut in 2013, we find a band self-assuredly tackling an oft-attempted, but rarely well-executed, topic of joy. And boy, did 2020 need an album like this. Among other things, their newest venture titled, The Joy of Being is... Refreshing. Timely. Ardent. Exuberant. Time well spent. Too short.

Wasting no time producing a highlight, the first track "Heaven Is In Our Sights" makes an unabashed attempt at this reviewer's overall favorite moment right out of the gate. Taking the slow-burn route, the song begins with a drum beat mimicking a heartbeat as Bolen's voice strains to the point of near cracking with passionate worship. All throughout the album, the use of horns creates a buoyant lift, and the bridge has a satisfyingly stadium-sized build that demands to be sung loudly to the rafters. Only after setting the tone do they follow with the exuberantly declarative "Only Jesus," which further features brass instrumentation and kicks the tempo into high gear. "All I Need" is another standout that tenderly recognizes, "And here at the table of wine and broken bread I find/All I need/You are all I need/In the air I breathe/In the joy of being/Hidden in your time/Until the life ahead/You are all I need/You are all I need."

"Forgive Us" smartly pairs guest vocalist Jess Ray's muscular voice to the airy music for a delightful contrast that works well on the all-too-short track. Returning to a driving tempo, "Light of Your Grace" has a deliciously funky bassline and crisp snare combo. The combination of the rhythm section and sing-and-response with a chorus of children's voices will likely set your toes tapping and spread a big smile across your face. "Joy To Be" sways and saunters, led primarily by a gospel piano (though the guitar solo near the end is certainly worth mentioning too) and a terrific vocal performance from Chaunda Jefferson. The verses are both similarly top-notch, but it's the chorus that really hits home hardest proclaiming the truth that, "Oh the joy to be, joy to know/It's when I decrease/You fill up my soul/What a joy to see, joy to hold/It's when you increase/I want nothing more."

Lastly, Citizens brings us full circle, closing things much like they began with the other nominee for the top song of the record, "Altogether Good." Sandra McCracken lends her seasoned voice in a mixture of sorrow and wonder as they join together to declare God's goodness, "In the longing of our souls/In the darkness where we go/You are there, You are love/You are altogether good/In the weakness of our faith/In the silence where we wait/You are here, You're enough/You are altogether good." Amen to that.

Overall, at only eight tracks and thirty minutes of runtime, perhaps the only real complaint about "The Joy of Being" is that it's over too quickly. This is no real problem, however, as it leaves me all-too-happy to hit the replay button and find something else to love about the craftsmanship of these uplifting tunes. Unsurprisingly, Citizens has done it again, further cementing their status as one of the best worship-based acts in Christian music. Remarkably, another album has cracked my top five of the year, further disrupting the now crowded running list. Ultimately, this is a must-hear for fans of the band, as well as those on the hunt for a little joyous encouragement in their life. This would be a great one for fans of Kings Kaleidoscope, Rivers & Robots, Mission House, and Young Oceans to check in on, and a contender for this reviewer's top-ten of the year.

- Review date: 10/10/20, written by Josh Balogh of Jesusfreakhideout.com


Listen to the New EP from Life UNLTD!

 

JFH Staff's Second Opinion



To put it simply, The Joy of Being is the album we all needed in 2020. Sure, it's possible you personally could be having a terrific year, and that's great. But amid record-setting wildfires, a disaster of a presidential campaign, nationwide civil unrest, and a global pandemic boasting hundreds of thousands of lives taken - well, it's a bit much. But Citizens' latest is refreshing to the soul. The Joy of Being drops much of the band's signature quirkiness and focuses more on a contemporary worship sound. But don't let that scare you away from listening, because it still has the same level of songwriting and craftsmanship the band is known for (as well as some bouncy tunes like "Only Jesus" and "Light of Your Grace"). But they really shine in this half hour album, as songs like "Heaven Is In Our Sights," "All I Need," and the magnificent "Altogether Good" (featuring Sandra McCracken) are all songs that sound great and minister to weary hearts. This is easily my favorite Citizens album. - Review date: 10/8/20, Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com

 

. Record Label: Running Club Records
. Album length: 8 tracks: 30 minutes, 5 seconds
. Street Date: October 2, 2020
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It: AmazonMP3

  1. Heaven Is In Our Sights (Feat. Shea Salisbury) (4:26)
  2. Only Jesus Christ (2:58)
  3. Holy Love (Feat. Taylor Leonhardt) (4:07)
  4. All I Need (4:46)
  5. Forgive Us (Feat. Jess Ray) (2:17)
  6. Light Of Your Grace (3:09)
  7. Joy To Be (Feat. Chaunda Jefferson) (3:13)
  8. Altogether Good (Feat. Sandra McCracken) (5:11)

 

 JFH Album Sample Player

 



Leave a Comment

comments powered by Disqus

 

 

go to main Album review page
go to Album review archive

 


(JFH Sponsor Spot)

 

 

           
Listen to the New EP from Life UNLTD!

Search JFH



This Tuesday, October 27, 2020
Heath McNease Notes, Volume 1 - EP (independent)


This Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Andy Mineo Always in a Rush (ft. Mez) - Single [Reach]
Anthony Sallee and Phil Keaggy Blackbird - Single (independent)


This Friday, October 30, 2020
1K Phew Already / Gas You Up - Single [Reach]
Audrey Assad Mortal (Live) - Single (independent)
Mack Brock Your Presence Is A Promise - Single [Capitol CMG]
The Dailys (Jillian Edwards & Ellie Holcomb) Falling Apart - Single [Tone Tree]
DOE DOE - EP [RCA Inspiration]
Ernie Haase & Signature Sound Wake Up - Single [StowTown]
for KING & COUNTRY A Drummer Boy Christmas [Curb/Word]
Koryn Hawthorne & Essential Worship The Song Sessions EP [Essential]
Hillsong Worship Take Heart (Again) [Capitol CMG]
Caitie Hurst At All Times - EP [Centricity]
JAG The Longest Road (Remastered) [Girder]
JAG The Only World In Town (Remastered) [Girder]
JAG Fire In the Temple (Remastered) [Girder]
Coby James Homesick - EP [Centricity]
JUDAH. Don't Know If I Believe It (feat. Jon Foreman) - Single [Capitol CMG]
Kings Kaleidoscope Power Perfect EP [Rainbow Records]
The Kingsmen The Wind and Waves Still Know - Single [Horizon]
Tori Kelly Tori Kelly Christmas [Capitol CMG]
LO Worship Compass - Single [LO Records]
My Epic Lower Still (feat. Levi The Poet) - Single [Facedown]
Passion Hope Has A Name [Capitol CMG]
Resistance Resistance EP [Integrity]
Social Club Misfits Feared By Hell [Capitol]
Tenth Avenue North Unplugged For The People (The Acoustic Greatest Hits) [Provident]
True Strength The Mighty Hand of Yahweh [Roxx]
We The Kingdom Light Of The World (Hallelujah) - Single [Capitol CMG]
Tauren Wells Famous For (I Believe) [Sunday A.M. Version] - Single [Provident]
Matthew West Live Before the World Shut Down - EP [Story House]


Next Monday, November 2, 2020
Manic Drive (Vol.1) EP (independent)


Next Friday, November 6, 2020
Cross Point Music Jesus Is King - Single [Centricity]
Open Heaven Triumph [DREAM]
Planetshakers Over It All [Ventur3Media]
Selah Step Into My Story [3Cre8tive]
Joel Vaughn Louder Than The Lies [DREAM]
Vineyard Worship You Speak [Vineyard]


For all release dates, click here!
 



Listen to the new single from Anthony Sallee!


  • Image Mulan
    PG-13 (Digital HD)


Enter to win the Lord of the Rings Trilogy 4K SteelBook!