Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Powerful songs of encouragement and challenge
Cons: A few tracks aren’t to my taste, but that’s a personal thing
The Bottom Line:
Songs designed to help
Let go of shame and live in
God’s wonderful grace
Missing This Release Would be a Real Shame
Everybody struggles with guilt. It’s part of being human. And it’s also the main topic of No Shame, the newest release from Tenth Avenue North. With the positive messages and fun music, this is another winner.
The band makes clear early that they are making a distinction between healthy shame and toxic shame. The first is what makes us recognize our sin and leads us to repentance. The second is what piles on the guilt even after we have repented and makes us think God can never use us again. It’s an important distinction.
And it’s one that is very obvious early on with the title track. This is the first song on the disc and celebrates the freedom we have when we confess our sins to God and accept the fact that He has forgiven them. It’s also about not letting others shame us with their expectations. Both ideas in one song? Believe me, it works. There are some great lyrics here (although I must be missing something with the line from the chorus that says “I’m so free I ain’t scared of the ceiling”), and the music is upbeat and fun. The Young Escape joins them on this track. I can listen to it over and over again and the message seems to sink in even more each time I do.
Wondering about the idea of someone shaming us with their expectations? That’s explored a bit more is “Someone to Talk to.” It is also a hard wake up call to the church. Too often, Christians try to appear like we have it all together, and are shamed when someone sees our sins or our weaknesses like loneliness or depression. This song finds the singer talking about trying to confess areas of struggle in the church and instead being told he wasn’t welcome there. While we should be condemning sin, we need to be loving sinners and helping them deal with the struggles in their lives, and this song is a powerful reminder as to why.
The first single from this new release is “Greater Than All My Regrets.” This is a great anthem about God’s grace being greater than anything in our past. That is truly freeing, isn’t it?
Another stand out track is “Paranoia.” This is a song written for our polarized times as the band sings about reaching out to those who aren’t like us and getting to know them as individuals. I keep saying this needs to happen – we will never get anyway in our country or our world together by writing off people who disagree with us and having nothing to do with them. However, we might heal issues if we actually spend time talking to them.
The band slows things down for the final two tracks. “Space to Speak” is perfect for the start of a quiet time with God since it is asking, almost begging, God to come speak to me. It’s challenging me since I am realizing I don’t really have space for that in my life these days. Finally, the disc ends with “Always Been You,” a song that recognizes that it is always God we need in our lives even when we try to fill it with something else, something we think we need.
The disc has ten songs but twelve tracks. The first track is an introduction, where the band discusses the difference between the types of shame I talked about earlier. The second comes right after “Someone to Talk to” and is a voicemail that lead singer Mike is leaving for someone who has just confessed some major issues in his life. It is a powerful minute that challenges me to ask who I have in my life like that, and who am I there for like that. This is what the church should be about.
Stylistically, this is a continuation of the band’s rock style from their previous releases. It’s not always to my taste, but I’m mid-forties, so that doesn’t surprise me. However, I find the lyrics are wonderful always, which is why I keep buying the band’s discs. Honestly, it’s only a couple of tracks in the middle that aren’t really to my musical tastes. There are more than enough tracks on here that I enjoy to make me glad I bought it.
There is plenty of encouragement and challenge in No Shame. I will be thinking over the truths in this disc for a long time to come. Pick up this disc now because if you don’t need these reminders now, you will at some point in your Christian journey.
CD Length: 39:55
2. No Shame (Featuring The Young Escape)
3. Heaven is Now
4. Someone to Talk to
5. A Phone Call
6. Greater Than All My Regrets
7. The Future
10. Call My Name
11. Space to Speak
12. Always Been You