Last year we saw Canadian native Matt Brouwer's third album, Where's Our Revolution, come and go as one of his albums again failed to capture a large audience. Now, trying again to acquire more attention comes Brouwer's "deluxe edition" of Where's Our Revolution, this time through Universal Music's Christian division. Now, while many will likely not be swayed by the deluxe edition, as the acoustic versions of two already mellow tracks and the cover of Sheryl Crow's "I Shall Believe" are hardly persuasive, skipping out on the diverse talents of singer/songwriter Matt Brouwer is probably a mistake.
One appealing thing about Where's Our Revolution is the mixture of genres, because Brouwer mixes light rock with acoustic pop, all with a southern influence. The great guitar-driven title track features very solid vocals on top of a folk-flavored rock chorus. However, the title track is a little deceptive, because it is the most up-tempo track on the disc. But, by the time the album stops spinning, it's an essential song considering the slower tracks at the back of the album. Interestingly enough, the pop track "Beautiful Now" almost sounds like modern worship, but the upbeat music pretty much ends there.
While I appreciate ballads and acoustic songs immensely, some listeners may find Brouwer's light material a little too uneventful and even slightly boring. The backup vocals by Amy Grant and Vince Gill on the southern style ballad "The Other Side" provide some seasoning to an otherwise dull track, but "All the Way" and "A Good Night's Sleep" are neither intricate nor emotionally charged enough to attract attention.
Although the title track doesn't go into specifics, "Where's Our Revolution" ("Waiting for a solution that gets/Farther off everyday/The only thing I know is we'll never make it alone") is only a precursor to the album's theme of turning lives around socially and spiritually... Right? Wrong. We don't really hear much of a revolution again, but we do hear Brouwer's thoughts on relationships, redemption, and a broken and lost society. "All The Way" recounts a man's search for faith, "There's a dark cloud over every step I take/Like a sickness that the body just can't shake…I can't make it on my own/Come and save me," and "Come Back Around" presumably calls the broken to Christ.
Although Where's Our Revolution is spiritually minded, Brouwer never points to God specifically. Some may find that songs like "All I Really Want" or "Writing to Remember" rely too heavily on pronouns, and could be referring to God, significant others, or even hometowns. The thoughtful "Sometimes" ponders the life we can't always see ("Sometimes there can be so much more beyond what we see/Sometimes I'm amazed how we see the world in different ways"), while the singer in "The Other Side" deals with grief and hope in the face of the death of a loved one (In real life, Brouwer's sister). The best example of Brouwer's song writing comes in the form of beautiful piano-driven ballad "Running To Begin," which follows an outcast girl who carries a disgraceful secret (pregnancy perhaps?). However, an unfortunate mild profanity mars the song ("There's going to be some hell to pay/ Before this night is over").
Where's Our Revolution is an artistic release which should please fans of Jon McLaughlin, and the extra three songs on the deluxe edition make the album a better buy. But the album has its best days in the first six songs before resorting to girl/guy clichés and forgettable songs. Matt Brouwer also might consider incorporating a more theologically consistent theme before he begins another revolution.- Review date: 8/22/09, written by Nathaniel Schexnayder of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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