373. Beauty Will Rise – Steve Curtis Chapman
BEAUTY WILL RISE (2009)
Steven Curtis Chapman
Everyone has biases. My bias is against mainstream CCM music that Nashville produced throughout most of the last two decades. This includes artists like Point of Grace, Carman, Michael W. Smith and Steve Curtis Chapman. The reader will not thus far a general lack of presence for what qualifies as common CCM of the last few decades.
But when Amy Grant records a “Lead Me On” and Michael W. Smith records a “Big Picture” they must be recognized for the great works that they are. The album in question may be superior to anything that that part of the industry has ever produced. The only reason it is not listed higher is because of how recently the album was released and I have no doubt that standing the test of time this album will become of the top albums in history. In fact it may be the most recent release on the entire list.
If anyone can listen to this stunning and stirring project without a lump in their throat I would doubt their humanity. It is easily the most transparent, emotional, challenging and heart wrenching album not only in Chapman’s career, but in the history of CCM. After his beautiful daughter was killed in accident at the family home with his son at the wheel of the vehicle that struck her, Chapman assumed he would never write nor perform again.
After months of prayer, pain and tears the Lord gave Chapman his voice again and he delivered 12 utterly poignant and powerful compositions of longing, loss, anger, sadness and ultimately hope. The beauty that shines is that like Job Chapman realizes that it is not a sin to not have the answers. On “Faithful” Chapman agonizes over the reality that God is faithful when He gives AND when He takes away.
It would be so easy to walk through each song and just gush over the finely crafted works they are individually, but the album is a cohesive whole that needs to be taken in as a whole if your heart can take it. Not only are the songs flawlessly written they are equally flawlessly produced and arranged. It may be musically the simplest and most stark album of Chapman’s career. There is nothing glossy and “Nashville” sounding about this release. Simple acoustic based arrangements that allow the songs to heave and sigh on their own as the artists and listener join together in the same feeling.
Beauty does rise as does Chapman on this most important and incredible release.