Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Music Review: Growing Up in the Lord by Acappella

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good songs that encourage and challenge
Cons: Two of the songs aren't that great
The Bottom Line:
Eight out of ten tracks
Recommend you buy CD
Rare; worth tracking down

Acappella Songs to Grow By

The Christian group Acappella was my first introduction to the style of music.  I was captured by the idea of not needing instruments to back up singing.  And they do it so stylishly, too.  That's evident on Growing Up in the Lord, one of their early releases.

While most would assume any male quartet singing acappella music is a barbershop quartet, that's not quite the case here.  Yes, at times they sing together in tight harmony.  But most of the time one guy is singing while the rest are humming in the background.  It sounds beautiful.

This particular disc opens with the fun "Livin' Inside."  The verses have a Caribbean flavor while the verses are more American as they sing about the need for God to guide every aspect of life.

"Growin' up in the Lord" is a chance to hear all four guys singing together.  They harmonize very well on the chorus, while the verses are the normal solo affair.  This song talks about the need to learn and grow from our sins.

But if you are looking for conviction, there are a couple of those here as well.  The fun "Don't Be Talkin' 'Bout Friends" takes the problem of gossip head on.  And it calls out those who listen as well as those who spread it.  Equally convicting is "Do You Love the Lord?"  This song reminds us that our love for God needs to be for ourselves as is measured in how we live.  This song is the first time I know of that the "Acappella Kids" make an appearance.  They sing the chorus while the regular group sings the verses.

The kids also show up on "Water from the Well."  Again they split the song with the kids on the chorus and the regular group on the verses, and everyone sings a few lines together.  It's very beautiful.

"He Leadeth Me" is a faithful arrangement of the classic hymn I always think of when we sing the song in church.  "Now to Him" also runs through my mind quite frequently since it is the last few verses of Ephesians 3.  "I Can Walk" is a fast, fun song celebrating the miracles of Jesus.

But that leaves us with the two songs I don't particularly like.  "LaSong" has two lines of words, repeated once, surrounded by three minutes of "La's."  Boring!  "Piper Song" is about a girl who needed a liver transplant.  It's a beautiful song with a catchy melody, but the lyrics are week and second verse only changes two lines from the first.

Like most old Acappella releases, this one is hard to find, made even harder by the fact that it was reissued under a new name.  Acappella Platinum appears to have nine of these ten songs plus three new ones.

Not everyone seems to like Acappella music, but if you do, I suggest you track down Growing Up in the Lord.  Despite a couple weak songs, it is worth it.

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