been quite a while since I reviewed an album.
Quite honestly, it’s not for a lack of hearing good songs but for a
lack of hearing good albums. Often when
you listen to an entire project from any artist, you get the impression of
songs placed in the lineup to hit a certain number of tracks. Forever
Yours, the latest live worship release from Gateway Church, is not one of those
disclosure: I have been a fan of the artists at Gateway Church since their very
first project. And in total honesty,
I’ve always found only one or two songs from each project really “ringing my
bell.” So in one way, I knew I was going
to purchase Forever Yours when I
first saw it. At the same time, I
expected to hear a few great songs and hear a few “transitional songs” filling
the distance between the power ballads.
That assumption, however, was completely blown away.
first thing I noticed as this project was downloading from iTunes was the sheer
number of tracks: 13! And that’s not
counting the bonus videos (included in the deluxe version)! Although the tracks were pieced together from
an evening (or evenings?), they still feel very cohesive. It’s not just random songs with applause as a
transition between songs. Instead, there
is a momentum to the project. Opening
with the make-you-wanna-dance song “Not Ashamed,” you’ll quickly find yourself
nodding and tapping your foot. You want
to sing this song! The peak of the
opening set is “Be Lifted Higher” and following this “drumline meets 80s rock”
anthem, is a very tender ballad leading us down into the valley from the
mountain of praise: “Mystery.”
itself, “Mystery” is probably the “slowest” song on the project but in the
context of the album—wow! As the Gateway
team leads us back up the mountain we reach the second peak with the power
anthem “Worship the Great I Am.” The
closing song, “The Whole Earth,” closes the album with the reminder
The whole earth is
filled with Your glory
The Heavens declaring Your praise
The nations are filled with Your wonder
Holy are You Lord
am very aware of the diversity of my readership. This is an out-and-out “contemporary”
album. If you enjoy the quiet, reserved
sounds of gentle piano with a serene wind orchestra, you will probably hate Forever Yours. For everyone else, there’s something everyone
will love about this.
there is definitely an “80’s infusion” happening at Gateway Church. The Texas church has infused synths and loops
from this by-gone era while dressing them up in the pop-rock fusion sounds of
heavy drums and guitars. At the same
time, there are many piano-driven songs preventing you from declaring this as a
singularly “rhythm-driven” album.
none of this is necessarily new territory for Gateway Worship, it certainly is
the best fusion of all these styles.
Musically, this is probably the most cohesive album they have done. There’s never a point in all thirteen tracks
you could forget you’re listening to “Gateway” but at the same time, there is
enough vocal, instrumental, and arranging diversity to keep you from feeling
past project may have centered on the cross or the blood of Christ, this album
covers a much wider theological field.
While I am certain no one will finish listening to this project and
adequately explain the intricacies of the Greek aorist tense, I am equally
certain there is much truth about God presented in this project.
song “As We Pray,” for example, reminds us that when we pray to the Lord, it is
not so much about changing God’s mind as much as it is getting on His page in
submitting to His will in and through us.
The declaration that we have been created as a new creation in Christ in
order to be His forever reminds us we have a purpose for His Kingdom (“Forever
Yours”). “God & King” takes the
lyrics and the melody of “All Creatures of Our God and King” and kicks it
through the stratosphere. Somehow the
hyper-poetic nature of these lyrics have been made to where lowly mortals can
understand them to a deeper level.
told, Forever Yours covers different
theological territory while staying central enough for most to feel “safe”
within their songs. That is by no means
an indictment of their work; it is a statement of acknowledgement for their
ability to be theological without entering into areas where a four to five
minute song simply would sound like a systematic theology textbook.
people reading this will enjoy Gateway’s Forever
Yours. It will give many of your
expressions of worship a new and interesting voice from a group of people
passionately singing to the Lord. And if
you turn it up loud enough in your “prayer closet,” you might also find
yourself singing along and find yourself at the throne of Jesus. Do yourself and your private worship time a favor: purchase this project.