Elevation Worship just released their album “Nothing is Wasted.” This is a two disc set and shows a different concept than previous work. The first disc is a live edition recorded right there in the sanctuary with the congregation worshiping, and singing along. The second disc is a studio album, with the exact same songs, but recorded in the studio with more of the production and radio feel.
This has long been a debate in music, which is better, live music or studio recordings. Each have their merits and this album lets you decide for yourself which is the better concept. For the purposes of the review I will focus on the live album, and highlight some of the standouts from the album.
The album has the strong stadium feel we have come to expect from Elevation and other bands like them. Each of the songs feel big which allows you to join in the worship as something greater than yourself.
The album starts with the song “Great in Us” which is a great song about the love of God and its power in our lives. It has strong driving drums, rich reverb soaked guitars, and bright electric piano sounds scattered throughout. The song is a perfect start. It builds with energy and draws the congregation into the worship, sounds of the congregation cheering and shouting out to God can be heard in some of the quieter moments of the song.
The third track on the album “In Your Presence” is another great track, it speaks of the nature and character of God and how we can depend on Him. However it also gives us a glimpse into His very presence and what we experience in His presence. It has an anthemic feel. The words ‘In Your Presence’ are repeated many times throughout the track drawing the worshipers into the central theme of the song. The song explodes through the Bridge ‘You will be our God, To the end, to the end. The Lord is with me, He will not forsake me.’
One of my favorite tracks on the album is “Unchanging God.” The song begins with the piano and a light guitar. It draws the feel of the album down into more of a worshiping feel from the opening praise tracks. Even the light breathy vocals help to draw you in. The track focuses on God as a constant, His nature, His word, and His character. During the bridge you can here the congregation clapping and really expressing their involvement and joy in this song.
Elevation did a great rendition of the classic gospel tune, “I have Decided” which leads into a moment of passionate prayer and then into an original track that is just fantastic. The song layers multiple vocal and lyrical runs into a passionate worship track that is about giving in and giving over to God with our whole heart and our whole lives.
I should be honest and say that I didn’t expect to be excited with this album. I have listened to Elevation’s previous releases and was never wowed. Its not that they aren’t good, but I never saw anything to distinguish them from the other arena worship albums out there. I know it might sound crass, but its just how I felt.
So when I listened through this album, I can honestly say I was surprised. This time around I didn’t feel like I was listening to another Hillsong campus, or Jesus Culture, or U2 and Coldplay… This time I felt like I was listening to Elevation. I think they have hit their identity as musicians and this album does a great show of their talents and their heart.
Thanks to Mat Reames for sharing this review with The Worship Community. Mat Reames is a worship leader at Eagle Rock Church in Lawrence, Kansas and blogs at www.matreames.tk.