- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2007 1 Dec
- Everything Changes
- No Turning Back
- Thank You For The Cross
- You Gave Your Life Away
- How Could I Ever Say Thank You
- I Belong
- Love Rescue Me
- Only True God
- Grace Has Called My Name
- Will Justice Reign?
- What A Friend
After at least ten years of modern worship, it's clear that some Christian pop stars aren't meant to be worship leaders. By the same token, some worship leaders just aren't meant to be pop stars. Though they excel at writing for the church and leading others in praise, their studio projects and radio singles are less exhilarating for whatever reason (glossier production values, the absence of congregational interaction). Darlene Zschech, Brian Doerksen, Reuben Morgan … all excellent worship leaders, yet strangely less inspiring when removed from the context of a congregation.
Struggling with similar issues, acclaimed worship leader Kathryn Scott is in good company at least. You know her best for penning "Hungry (Falling on My Knees)" and her moving vocal performance on the original recording of "Breathe." Scott comes from a musical family, mentored by Doerksen, collaborated with Paul Baloche, and has planted churches in the UK with her husband. And her 2003 debut Satisfy—a live recording—was an excellent project that demonstrated her wonderful voice, her Irish heritage, her varied style, and her thoughtful approach to worship music both traditional and contemporary.
Four years later brings her first studio recording with eleven new songs, some co-written with Doerksen, Baloche, and even Scott's mother. Yet something is missing on I Belong, and it's not just a congregation. The overall sound is more simplistic and straightforward pop, resembling similar projects from Zschech, Twila Paris, and Vicky Beeching, as if created with AC and inspirational radio formats in mind. It's drained some of the personality from Scott's style.
The lyrics are more conventional than usual for Scott too. "Everything Changes" was written about the transforming power of God, but it's rather routine in scope, only scratching the surface without bringing anything new to worship music. The same could be said of "No Turning Back," borrowing from
Fortunately, there are stronger exceptions found in the second half of I Belong. The title track is a sparse and beautiful piano-and-strings ballad inspired by
By no means is this a bad album. It's pleasant pop underscoring one of Christian music's most under-celebrated voices—like a more plaintive and expressive Leigh Nash. But Scott has done much better with previous efforts. I Belong somehow makes her uncommon talent sound more common here, showing that some artists are better at ministering in the studio and through the radio, while others are better at ministering through the church.