Psalm 30:5 says, “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” This scripture is the premises of many of the album releases this season. Struggle, hardship and wrestling create incredible opportunity for growth and inspiration. If you’ve ever experienced hardship, you’ll be able to relate to each of these songs. If you’re in the midst of suffering, then these songs can remind you of the hope you have in Jesus and how He will give you the strength to make it through this season of difficulty.
Alisa Turner: Alisa Turner (Integrity Music)
Notes of her heartbreaking story are intermingled within every song, but her hardship nor her story are the root of Alisa Turner’s self-titled debut album. At the foundation is a savory love for the Lord and a vast hope for His glory. Music has been her constant link to God throughout life, so Turner turns to her piano during the most painful times of life and the result is a deeply intimate and beautiful album. “I think the Lord created me this way, drawn in by the emotion that comes with music,” says Turner. “When I sit down at the piano, He always uses it to draw me back, to awaken the dreamer, and I always leave different than when I came. I leave different knowing He sees me, He is with me. He is my hope.”
Manafest: Stones (The Fuel Music)
Manafest’s album Stones provides insight on the struggles we experience when faced with rejection and the unexpected. Many pop-culture albums end there, but Stones encourages listeners to move past the barriers, turn to the Lord and become more self-aware. “Throughout the album, I explore how things are thrown in our path,” says Manafest. “I may face obstacles and judgements, but I’m not going to quit. A fighter never stops no matter what stones are thrown their way.”
Third Day: Revival (Essential Records)
Third Day returns to their roots in their album release Revival. Finding inspiration from the legacy of FAME Studios in the historic Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Third Day recalls their southern musical heritage which makes Revival sound fresh and soulful. “We started out in high school and we were these young kids excited about our faith and about using music to share our faith,” says Mark Lee, founding member and guitarist. “Here we are all these years later and I still feel that, I still feel that He’s got something to say through us.” Third Day’s revival isn’t just in their musical sound and heritage, it’s their lyrical display. Song after song calls for restoration of the soul. The album Revival brings about nostalgia in a refreshing way.
“Hello struggle, I’m right here. I’ve got my armor and got my shield. Bring your weapons and throw your spears. God is with me, farewell fear.” That opening line to Finding Favour’s new album Farewell Fear summarizes the band’s journey the past few years. It’s not just their mantra but a reminder to us all that God is with us and that we all need to say farewell to the fear that holds us back in our daily lives. The album is the band’s most adventurous project in sound while maintaining the heartfelt and emotional lyrics in which they’re known. For a band that dealt with the loss of a child and other family members these past few years they know the struggles of life first hand but they also know the redemptive power that comes with new life. “So long sorrow, don’t need you here. I’ve got my Father, his Son and Spirit. I lift my praise till the whole world hears so hello heaven and farewell fear.”
Anberlin’s frontman, Stephen Christian, releases a solo album Wildfires. During a challenging time while working four jobs, Stephen created this album as a reminder that no matter what life throws at us, we must worship the Lord Almighty. “This album was written in the five months after the end of Anberlin, it was a time of great personal struggle and triumph,” shares Christian. “Some of the greatest songs in history have come from an artist’s darkest times in life. This feels like the first time I put out a record, and in a way, it is. These songs are me, they are the overflow of my heart and when my kids want to listen to my music someday, Wildfires will be the first record I show them.”
The songs on Vertical Worship’s self-titled album are very familiar. To create their first studio LP, Vertical Worship dug into their extensive song catalog and chose ten of their favorite songs that they believed truly resonated with their fans. In the studio, they crafted new arrangements and experimented with different vocals to bring a fresh perspective on their non-live album. People know them for their live music, so they wanted to bring a new expression of the same songs to impact current fans while reaching new listeners. The album still has a strong musical pulse because the songs are inspired by the word of God, and God’s Word always resonates. “What’s so important to us in the writing of these songs is that we’re pulling from the word of God,” shares Vertical Worship member Andi Rozier. “What’s more powerful to ascribe worth to God than to also sing His word back to Him? That’s what we are doing with Vertical Worship, we are taking songs from His word, we’re taking the words that He’s given us, and we’re singing them back to Him.”
Every day we are faced with negativity in media and in the world,” shares worship leader Chris Quilala. “It’s so important for us, the church, to be a light in the darkness and a beacon of hope and joy. Love Has a Name is all about declaring who God is. It’s a strong proclamation of His name, the Name above every other name.” Jesus Culture decided to record their tenth album live at their home church in Sacramento, CA because they wrote the songs with their church in mind. Their church family has been with them on their musical journey and the band purposefully wanted to record their church family singing their hearts out. “Our heart and our goal with all of our albums has always been to capture a moment,” shares Jesus Culture worship leader Kim Walker-Smith. “When we worship we want to be able to move beyond the launching pad of the song and into an encounter with Jesus. Love Has a Name is our 10th record that does just that… We encountered Jesus because He is so faithful to meet us every time. We pray that all who listen to this album encounter the God of breakthrough and that He would change our lives once again.”