Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Music Review: As Long As It Takes by Meredith Andrews

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Great lyrics
Cons: Music sounds too similar from song to song
The Bottom Line:
Lyrics are still strong
But the music sounds the same
Good is small doses

As Long As It Takes is a Disappointment After Meredith Andrews' Amazing Debut

Okay, true confessions time.  I don't often enjoy worship CD's.  (Is that okay for a Christian to say?)  Now don't misunderstand me.  I love worship songs.  I love singing them in church or in smaller groups.  But when I listen to a worship CD, I often find myself bored with the music.

That's why I was surprised when I enjoyed Meredith Andrews' debut as much as I did.  While it certainly had worship tracks, there was a deeper aspect to it.  And the variety of styles helped the songs stand out.  So I was quite anxious to get her follow up, As Long As It Takes.  Unfortunately, it's not as good as it could be.

The biggest problem with the disc is that most of the songs sound the same to me.  After one or two songs, my brain starts to wander, and I have to force myself to listen to the words and the songs.  When I first turn it on, I'll find myself enjoying the song that is playing, but from there, it just gets monotonous.  Surprisingly, the biggest culprit here is the electric guitar.  It's too heavy and almost overpowers the lyrics at times.

That's not to say there's aren't some good songs here.  I absolutely love "Can Anybody Here Me?"  This is a praise song for the trials of life.  For the verses, Meredith questions if God is with her during her struggles, but on the bridge, she reconfirms her faith in a God she can't see.  No, it doesn't solve her problems, but she recommits to trust God in her circumstances.  The song starts out with some nice keyboard, but is soon overwhelmed by the electric guitar.

Another song I like is "My Soul Sings."  Musically, it fits the strong electric guitar mold.  It's a bit on the upbeat side (not that any of the songs get into true rock territory).  Verse one talks about how God knew sin would come into the world from before creation, and verse two praises the sacrifice of Jesus for being all we need for salvation.  The chorus is pure praise.  This is the kind of song I can picture singing in church.

One of the few truly quiet moments on the disc is the final track, "How Great is the Love."  This slower track does still incorporate the electric guitar, but they aren't over powering.  In fact, they cut out at times so we can really hear the keyboards.  Lyrically, the song focuses on Jesus' love for us by dying on the cross for our sins.  It doesn't get too deep, but it focuses my eyes on Jesus.

The most personal song on here is "Come Home."  Meredith wrote it as a plea to her brother to come back.  Frankly, I don't know the story behind the song, but the lyrics are a great example of the unconditional love that a family should be showing each other.  While a couple of the lines are definitely human in nature, much of the song does work as a plea from God to those of us too ashamed by our sinful past to turn to him.  But again, the song sounds so similar to those around it.  This one has some strings, but they are all but overwhelmed by that blasted electric guitar.

There are some interesting moments on the rest of the disc.  "All Will Fade Away" starts out with piano and some ethereal vocals from Meredith.  "Never Move On" starts out the disc with an upbeat, fun number marveling in God's grace.  Frankly, the themes of God's love and mercy and our commitment to Him as a response run through many of the remaining songs.  May we never forget the wonder of these truths.  But the electric guitar is such a strong presence it lets the great messages all blend together.

This is one of those discs I enjoy in small doses.  There are some great songs here; Meredith Andrews has a wonderful gift for writing songs that bring the old familiar truths alive in new ways.  But I hope that her follow up to As Long As It Takes gives her more variety in the musical side of things so I can enjoy it better.

CD Length: 47:02
1. Never Move On
2. Only to be Yours
3. Can Anybody Hear Me?
4. As Long As It Takes
5. Come Home
6. All Will Fade Away
7. What It Means to Love
8. Live Through Me
9. My Soul Sings
10. In Your Arms
11. How Great Is the Love

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