A Southern Hymn from Steven Curtis Chapman

A Southern Hymn from Steven Curtis Chapman November 14, 2013

It’s finally here—SCC’s first “proper” pop album since his daughter’s death. After the immediate, gut-wrenching lamentation of Beauty Will Rise, The Glorious Unfolding shows Chapman slowly returning to his old self–not the same, but healing. This is not going to be an album review, but I’ll just say very quickly that after listening through the whole thing last night, it’s encouraging to hear SCC in this mood again. Is the music as good as his glory days? Well, much of it follows the Speechless/Declaration template, which, for those of you who don’t have his entire album timeline memorized (grin) was the phase where he left the beaten path of MOR Christian pop and began adding rockier textures to his style. While that was creative and different then, each successive time he’s duplicated the formula feels like a progressively fading photocopy (and even then, truth be told, he’d already written a large chunk of his best songs in the late 80s/early 90s).

So, if I’m being honest, there were some tracks on here that didn’t grab or hold my attention. Musically speaking, that is. Most of the lyrics are excellent, and so far beyond anything else spinning on CCM radio right now it’s not even funny.  And, oh my, can this man still write a ballad! Here are just a few lines that particularly struck me. This one is from “Michael and Maria,” dedicated to his own daughter and another child lost by some close friends:

Michael and Maria
Someone said they thought they saw you
Giving names to babies this world never knew
I’m sure by now you’ve found your great grandparents
And some friends like Dave and Erin
I bet you’ve met Moses too…

Or this from the Five-for-Fighting-flavored “See You In a Little While,” a song dedicated to his grandmother:

And just one more thing before I let you go
Please tell my little girl I love her
Though I’m sure she already knows
And ask the Father to please tell the Son
That we’re ready and waiting for Him to come…

But my personal favorite is this closing, hymn-like track, “At the Feet of Jesus,” which feels like it could fit easily onto an Alison Krauss project. Enjoy:
 

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  • Lydia

    I really like “Feet of Jesus”–very much of a “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say” sound to it.
    My one criticism is the repetition of “You will find me at the feet of Jesus” at the very end of the chorus. I can’t shake the feeling that there is one syllable too many and that “Jesus” in the melody is being forced into the spot of a single-syllable word at the end. It makes me want to fiddle mentally with alternate final lines: “You will find me at my Savior’s feet,” for example.

  • Oddly, I had the same thought too. “Is it technically correct, is it technically not, either way it feels like one syllable too many…”