Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Music Review: Giants in the Land by Wayne Watson

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: "Look Me in the Heart" and "Holiness"
Cons: Dated musically
The Bottom Line:
Not a top tier disc
But several songs make it
Worth tracking it down

Not a Giant in Wayne Watson's Discography, but Still Good

I must confess I've never been the biggest Wayne Watson fan.  For some reason, outside of his radio hits, his music never seemed to connect with me.  But his 1985 release Giants In The Land is one I pull out and enjoy every so often.

I probably gave this disc more of a chance than some of his others because of one song.  I first heard "Look Me in the Heart" as a teen at camp and fell in love with it.  The problem was, I didn't know who sung it, and searched in vain for at least 5 years before stumbling onto the answer.  I still love this reminder that God is at work in our hearts.  The song is a bit dated with its reliance on electric keyboard, but the lyrics are timeless.

Frankly, this disc was never one of the biggest of Wayne's Career.  While several songs did make his best of, I would bet most casual fans are only familiar with "Somewhere in the World."  This quiet ballad is a prayer that God would watch out for the little girl who would one day become his son's wife.  The plucked guitar forms the base for the song, with synthesizer and strings adding to the music.  It's quite beautiful.

Synthesizer starts out the lesser known "hit" from this disc.  "Peace That Passes Understanding" celebrates God's peace in all times of our lives.  With the drum machines on the chorus, it's got a definitely 80's feel to it.

Wayne camped out in the Adult Contemporary genre, so the better songs on here are the slower numbers.  But he does have some upbeat tracks.  "Lookin' Out for Number One" is one of them.  It contrasts the world's attempts to look out for themselves and the Christian's looking for Jesus' return.  I've got to admit, I find the song fun.  The beat makes me smile and sing along.  However, I've always felt the lyrics tried to push too many thoughts into the song, making it a bit awkward.

As I mentioned earlier, this disc was released in 1985, and most of the songs have some sort of an 80's vibe to them.  Some of them aren't that obvious.  But others just scream it out.  The title track is one of them.  "Giants in the Land" is extremely heavy on the synthesizer.  However, I can't picture this song without it.  It really adds to the drama of the song talking about those who oppose God.

Another 80's song is "Changed in a Moment."  The keyboard and drum machines are definitely dated.  However, the lyrics have an 80's Christian pop flavor to me, too.  I enjoy the song because it is upbeat and a great reminder of what we have to look forward to in Heaven.

The most beautiful song on the disc is the closer, "Holiness."  This ballad is made up of plucked guitar, strings, and keyboard, and they compliment Wayne's vocals as he pleads with God for a holy heart.  My favorite is still the song I bought the disc to get, but this track is a very close second.

I don't pull this disc out very often, but once or twice a year I do, and I enjoy it.  Frankly, I'm surprised a few of the songs here weren't more popular at the time.  So if you want a lesser known Wayne Watson release, Giants In The Land is worth tracking down.

CD Length: 37:39
1. The Narrow Way
2. Lookin' Out for Number One
3. Heart of Hearts
4. Peace That Passes Understanding
5. Somewhere in the World
6. Giants in the Land
7. Born in Zion
8. Look Me in the Heart
9. Changed in a Moment
10. Holiness

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