Two-time GRAMMY® nominee Matthew West is set to follow up his critically acclaimed 2010 album, The Story of Your Life, with the release of a collection of brand-new songs titled Into The Light on September 25, 2012. The new studio album, produced by Pete Kipley, features 12 tracks inspired by letters submitted by the thousands after West invited people to send him their stories. The songs making up this sixth studio project from West were written mostly while he was on tour this spring with Casting Crowns.
After receiving over 10,000 personal stories from all over the globe for his 2010 project, The Story of Your Life, the acclaimed singer-songwriter, who has been forever impacted by the outpouring of stories, felt as though there was even more for others to say during this season of his music. West collected stories for this new project through the end of March. The tracks comprising Into the Light were inspired by stories touching on everything from drug addiction, the rejection of apathy, abusive relationships and the faith we find in the waiting.
"There is power in a story," says West. "And we all have a story to tell. Over the last few years, I have had the honor of reading over 20,000 stories from people all over the world who have answered my invitation to share the story of their lives. The songs on Into the Light are inspired by these amazing, real-life stories. Each one has had a profound impact on my life, and I can't wait to share these stories and songs with the world. I believe the stories told on this record will challenge all who hear to discover the hope, healing and freedom that can only be found when we step out of the darkness and into the light."
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An Album As Diverse As the Stories Within| Posted October 08, 2012
With his sixth studio album, Into The Light, Matthew West continues his proven method of writing songs based on the personal stories of fans that continue to pour in day after day. As a gifted storyteller and songwriter, West's ability to take circumstances and weave them into a song, time and time again, are unparalleled.
With an undeniable voice and strum of a guitar, the stories of people all over the world are bringing hope and light to others needing exactly that. "That's what Into The Light is about. It's about bringing these stories into the light and realizing how contagious it can be," West says. "When people hear Into The Light, they are going to realize that maybe they aren't the only one struggling, and I hope they'll find the courage to discover the freedom that's promised when we step into the light."
First song and title track, "Into The Light," starts off with just piano, drums, and the strum of a guitar. Written about a woman escaping a violent situation and finding hope on the other side, there's a definite uplifting energy throughout the song from beginning to end. As West sings the chorus--"Come on, come on / Out of the darkness / Come on, come on / Out of the night / No more, no more / Living in the shadows now / Step into the light"--he is joined with other voices seemingly to encourage the one who is trying to find the courage to step into the light. As with every song on this album, this track speaks directly to a specific circumstance or struggle that every person can relate to in some way.
"Forgiveness" is the album's first single and based on the story of a mother who chose to forgive the drunk driver who killed her daughter. With strings, guitars, and quiet drums, West sings about one of the hardest things we as Christians are ever asked to do: forgive someone undeserving of forgiveness. Reaching the chorus, the energy builds as West asks God to "Show me how to love the unlovable / Show me how to reach the unreachable / Help me now to do the impossible / Forgiveness." There are so many great lyrics in this song, I could easily quote the entire thing. The story of this mother who was able to forgive the unforgiveable is powerful and the song completely envelops that.
While "Moved By Mercy" has more of a pop/rock feel, "Waiting On A Miracle" has a Country slant, and "We Are The Broken" could easily be sung as a worship song in church or at a conference. With a wide range of musical styles and tones, this project is not lacking in variety.
Final track, "The Power Of Prayer," relays the story of a boy who prayed for his parents to stop fighting and for the healing of his relationship with his father. With just a quiet piano and West's voice, listeners hear the prayers of the boy and his mother as they bring the situation to God. With a surprise ending, this song will leave you teary-eyed and hopeful that God does in fact hear our prayers.
It's rare when I can honestly say every song on an album has the ability to be a single, but in the case of Into The Light, it's true. Every track is different from the others, but contains the same thought-provoking and challenging lyrics that drive listeners to want to change who they are. Once again, Matthew West has taken the stories of life and created a project that is well worth the "repeat" button. Whether you're a longtime fan or have only heard his music on the radio, Matthew West's Into The Light deserves a listen, or two, or three.
Matthew West [Into The Light]| Posted October 03, 2012 After receiving over 10,000 personal stories from all over the globe for his heralded 2010 album, The Story of Your Life, Matthew West, who has been forever impacted by the outpouring of stories, felt as though there was even more for others to say during this season of his music. The new studio album, Into The Light, features 12 tracks inspired by 10,000 new letters submitted after West invited people to, once again, send him their stories. The songs comprising Into The Light were inspired by stories touching on everything from the power of forgiveness, drug addiction, the rejection of apathy, domestic violence and many other topics.
The stories gave Matthew a window into what his fans had experienced in their lives. And they covered a wide range of human experiences and emotions. “Into The Light” perhaps serves as a capstone to the entire album, describing a woman who escaped an abusive situation and the journey out of the darkness that held her prisoner for so long with these poignant lyrics reflecting the freedom we have in Christ— “No more, no more living in the shadows now / Step into the light.” Following the great trend already established by Matthew West of completely transparent and vulnerable lyrics, "Hello My Name Is" addresses the truth of how our identities are too often shaped by the world and as believers we are set free as he proclaims in these lyrics inspired by a young man named Jordan: “These are the voices, these are the lies / And I have believed them, for the very last time / Hello, my name is child of the one true King / I’ve been saved, I’ve been changed, and I have been set free / “Amazing Grace” is the song I sing / Hello, my name is child of the one true King.”
The powerful lead single “Forgiveness” chronicles a mother dealing with the death of her daughter at the hands of a drunk driver. The song displays how much God wants us to dispose our hearts to forgive each other. This is not enough, we must seek the welfare even of those who offend us. Let us seek more and more for the renewing grace of God, to teach us to forgive others as we hope for forgiveness from Him. As the song beautifully states, “I want to finally set it free, So show me how to see what Your mercy sees, Help me now to give what You gave to me, Forgiveness, Forgiveness.” Amen to that! Another of the album’s strongest tunes is “Moved by Mercy,” which West wrote about a young woman named Krystal who was a victim of abuse and neglect as a child. As an adult she found her way to Mercy Ministries, a shelter for women and she realized that God had not abandoned her. He had protected her and is working in her life. The female vocalist in the song is Caitlin Evanson and her powerful vocals gorgeously proclaim the beautiful refrain—“Take me far away now / From this broken place now / Somewhere they can’t hurt me / I wanna be moved by mercy / Jesus, I can’t see You / I just know I need You / Help me start a new life / Let my heart be moved by mercy.”
From "More," "You Are Everything" and "The Motions" to “Strong Enough” and “Forgiveness,”I continue to hear a progression musically and lyrically from Matthew West. Into The Light is yet another solid album from one of Christian music’s most prolific singer-songwriters. Certainly "Into The Light, “Hello My Name Is,” “Forgiveness” and “Moved by Mercy” will all get heavy radio airplay and deserve recognition. Those songs all have very strong messages and are all catchy and uplifting. “Forgiveness” is my selection for Song of the Year. If you want to be challenged, moved, and step “into the light” with songs inspired by real life stories, then don’t miss this album. Several of these songs are instant classics and for sure, West will be considered for Pop/Contemporary Album, Artist, and Male Vocalist of the Year.
Matt West Steps Into The Light!| Posted October 08, 2012
Matthew West has quietly become a major player in Christian Music. He has had the #1 song of the year at radio not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES in the last decade ("More", "You Are Everything", and "The Motions") and "Strong Enough" may make it a fourth time for 2012 if radio keeps it up. However, while he has been nominated for a few Grammys, he has yet to win a single Dove Award (Christian Music's highest honor). In fact, none of his #1 singles were even nominated for Song of the Year! This was especially criminal after the release of his career record The Story of Your Life in October of 2010. Not only was it his highest selling album and featured two huge radio hits ("My Own Little World" and "Strong Enough"), it also received some of the best reviews of his career. The Story of Your Life was inspired by letters he received from fans. When he sent out the request to fans for stories from their lives, he received a much larger response than initially anticipated (over 10,000 letters!) and to this day, the letters continue to pour in; therefore, West decided he would follow up Story with another album of songs inspired by his fans' letters. The end result is Into the Light.
While The Story of Your Life contained songs that dealt with primarily tragedies and major issues such as divorce, rape, cancer, and bullying and written from a perspective that was in the middle of the circumstance, Into the Light seems to take a slightly different angle than its predecessor by dealing more with the overarching themes of these stories in a way that allows for a more universal interpretation and teaching. A great example of this is the lead single, "Forgiveness", inspired by a mother who forgave her daughter's killer. While the story is referenced, the theme of the song focuses on the act of forgiving those who don't deserve it, just as Christ forgave us. "Do Something" continues this trend as West lists a series of tragedies and injustices followed by an exhortation to actually act upon convictions of compassion towards those in need instead of waiting for someone else to do the work. Each song is inspired by a specific story or letter but the songs themselves attempt to do more than just share the story by gleaning spiritual insight from the experience.
Musically, West mixes up his sound a bit on Into the Light allowing plenty of room for radio fodder while also trying to return to the more electric sounds found on his first two albums (the classics Happy and History). "Hello, My Name Is", "Do Something", "Moved By Mercy" (featuring an un-credited but amazing female vocalist) and "We Are The Broken" all feature crunchier guitars, louder rhythms, and more impassioned (and ad-libbed) vocals that we haven't heard from Matt West since his vocal chord surgery. It is encouraging to hear more musical and vocal variety as that was the major complaint issued regarding The Story of Your Life (individually, each song was amazing, but as a whole album of songs, they all seemed to run together a bit). In the end, Into the Light is a highlight in West's already highlight-filled career and should help his CCM star to continue to rise. Who knows, maybe this time he'll even garner a Dove Award!
Radio Ready: Forgiveness, Into The Light, Restored, Moved By Mercy, Unchangeable, Love Stands Waiting, Hello My Name Is...
iPod Picks- Moved By Mercy, Do Something, We Are the Broken, Restored, Unchangeable
iPod Picks- Moved By Mercy, Do Something, We Are the Broken, Restored, Unchangeable
SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEET| Posted September 24, 2012
I cant wait, I love Matthew West. He is very cool.HE is awesome.IM sooooooooooooooooooooooo happy that he is workin on a new CD. CANT WAIT.coooooooooooooooooooooooooool dued. IM GOIN CRAZY