FULL & LOVELY | Posted September 29, 2008
Somewhere between the prescient life observations of Chris Rice and the passionate, pop radio worship anthems of Chris Tomlin resides the exuberant, relentlessly upbeat ruminations of Matt Maher (pronounced ‘Mar’ like ‘Car’). Though Empty & Beautiful might be an introduction of sorts to fans of contemporary Christian music, it is, in fact, Maher’s fourth album. (His first three were released in the Catholic market by OCP Records.)
Maher and his team of songwriters, players and producers expend tremendous effort crafting pure pop tunes to embellish solid lyrics that explore the attributes of God and our response to Him. The result is a 12-song collection that actually sounds effortless, familiar and inviting, even though it plumbs the depths of theological truth.
The bright and bouncy opening track, which oddly enough sounds like an anthem for the Reformation, boldly declares, “Your Grace is Enough” (previously recorded by Chris Tomlin). “Look Like a Fool” uses a gently rocking rhythm to declare the nature of what the Apostle James calls, “true religion”: “Feeding the hungry/Clothing the naked/Giving the homeless a place to rest/Visiting the prisoner/Lifting up the lowly.”
Grace, love, truth—Maher’s songs challenge, encourage, teach, exhort and rejoice while making you feel good just by listening to them. Yeah, this is good stuff. –Mike Parker
This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from CCMMagazine.com. Click here to visit CCMMagazine.com today!