Mark Hall of Casting Crowns' role in bringing John Waller's first solo album into the spotlight was a key element for promoting Waller's national debut solo album, The Blessing. However now showcasing Waller's sophomore album, While I'm Waiting, is the movie Fireproof which prominently features the title cut from Waller's latest release.
It's a bit annoying that the song "While I'm Waiting" was originally on The Blessing's track listing in 2007. However, the popularity of Fireproof seemed to justify putting the song on another John Waller album, along with dubbing it the title track, and even including a second version of the song called "Fireproof Remix." The song itself isn't bad though, seeing that the inspirational song includes a convincing piano opening and a emotion filled light rock refrain. Even though "While I'm Waiting (Fireproof Remix)" includes some sound bites from the "#1 Inspirational Movie of the Year," the audio inserts from the film, which tip-toe around the song's lyrics, really don't qualify for much of a 'remix.'
Supporting the championed song is a strong cast of music coming from the better-than-average worship track "Hands of the Healer," the inspirational pop sound of "Faith Is Living," and the strong upbeat "Quest." Unfortunately, the album loses its inventive sound along with any songs that attempt to be innovative. The lone exception is "Our God Reigns Here," which features some daring riffs in the early going before resuming a heavier praise and worship style. It would have been nice to see John Waller attempt something more risky and add something extra to his contemporary pop to make them at least more radio-friendly than his lackluster ballads "Priestly Blessing" and "Perfect Peace."
With two exceptions ("Hands Of The Healer" and "Our God Reigns Here"), While I'm Waiting depends on Biblically themed songs rather than straight praise and worship fueled melodies. John Waller's songs are a magnet for scripturally based lyrics ranging from the themes to the individual lines. Waller marvels at Christ's willingness to suffer through the world's worst positions and places ("Of All The Places"), while "Faith Is Living" states, "It's the evidence of things I cannot see/faith is the evidence of things I cannot see." "Quest" cites that "everybody knows that emptiness is everywhere all over the quest/but nobody knows the reason for the restlessness," while pointing out the Savoir.
John Waller's songwriting style won't win any ingenuity awards, but his willingness to derive his lyrics from God's Word is commendable and ultimately keeps the music from sinking. Even without Fireproof's endorsement, While I'm Waiting should be able to stand on its own as a solid sophomore project.- Review date: 4/3/09, written by Nathaniel D. Schexnayder of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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