Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Music Review: Love & History: The Best of downhere by downhere

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great music that still touches mind and heart
Cons: Nothing long term fans haven't already heard
The Bottom Line:
If you don't have songs
You need them here or as part
Of first releases

Twelve Great Songs from downhere's Entire Career

Last year the band downhere, one of my favorite bands of all time, went into retirement.  While I wasn't happy about it, I could certainly understand.  The guys in the band wanted to be able to spend time with their families, especially as their kids are growing up.  The legacy of music they leave behind them is captured in Love & History: The Best Of downhere, and any fan, casual or otherwise, will be thrilled to have it.

The band did not spend their entire career with the same label, but fortunately, they were able to include songs from all their discs here.  If you aren't super familiar with the band, you'll get something from each disc here.  The weakest release only has one song here, appropriately, but even it has a song.

And yes, that includes their Christmas project.  But how could they release a best of without including "How Many Kings?"  This song will probably go down as their most popular song, and it deserves to be.  A nice mid-tempo pop song, it marvels again at God sending Jesus to earth for us.  A familiar theme at Christmas time, certainly, but the lyrics make you stop and think about it all over again.

Another must have for me is "A Better Way."  This song has a similar theme to it as they look at God's love and how, in Jesus, there was no better way for Him to show us His love.  The chorus is great as lead vocalists Jason Germain and Marc Martel trade off as lines, forming their own complete thoughts while complimenting what each other has to say.

I've been a fan from the beginning, and my favorites from their self-titled debut have always been "Great Are You" and "Calmer of the Storm," both of which show up here.  The first is a praise song and the second a reminder that God is always working.  Again, the dueling lead vocalists made this track great as they offer some overlapping thoughts.

Honestly, those four songs are ones I can listen to on repeat over and over again.  Any best of release that didn't include them would have been a major disappointment.  However, there are some other great songs the band has done over the years, and they are included here.

The disc starts off with the very upbeat and fun "The More," which is a prayer of keep finding more and more of God to know.  A similar theme shows up in "Let Me Rediscover You."  "Here I Am" is a song of surrender.  "My Last Amen" looks forward to the time where we are no longer struggling against sin.  The music on this one is fun with a dramatic flair.  "What It's Like" celebrates Jesus' humanity and how He can identify with us.

There are two things long term fans will find disappointing about this disc.  First, there is no new material.  If you've been a fan all along, you already have all these songs.  Second, fan favorite "Rockstars Need Money" didn't make it on here - not even as a hidden track (which is how it was originally released on their debut disc).  Some will not buy it as a result, but personally, I'm a sucker for collections like this, and I have enjoyed skipping around their hits with this disc.

But casual fans will definitely want to add Love & History: The Best Of downhere to their collection.  There are so many great songs here that just barely scratch the surface of the great music we got from them.

God bless you, downhere.  And if you ever decide to make a comeback, I'll be first in line to buy your new stuff.

CD Length: 49:53
1. The More
2. Here I Am
3. How Many Kings
4. My Last Amen
5. A Better Way
6. What It's Like
7. Let Me Rediscover You
8. Calmer of the Storm
9. Living the Dream
10. Little is Much
11. Great are You
12. Hope is Rising

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