Wake the World
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2008 1 Aug
- I Dare You
- Wake the World
- God Knows Where You Are
- Love God, Serve Others, Share Your Story
- River Where Mercy Flows
- You Are Holy
- You Are Good
- Hope Deferred
- Jehovah Jireh
- For You
- Favorite Thing
Everything about Beloved screams women's ministry, which of course is intentional since their motto is: "Real music for real women." The trio of thirty/forty-somethings has varied experience when it comes to music business, and eventually the three women teamed together through their local churches in 2003 to record their songs and perform for congregations and women's retreats. With a reputation for humorous stories and relatable testimonies, they've even started their own annual women's conference in their hometown of Atlanta, attracting attendees from across the country.
After two previous independent albums, Beloved now has national distribution for their third release, Wake the World. Much is being made of the fact that Mac Powell (Third Day) produced their first single, "Love God, Serve Others, Share Your Story." While name recognition is nice, it's truly incidental in this case. It's not as if you can tell Powell produced from just listening, and besides, the other 10 tracks helmed by indie producer John Carrozza sound equally professional, from start to finish.
Most of the song styles vary reasonably well. The positive pop-rocker "I Dare You" falls somewhere between Point of Grace and BarlowGirl, while the encouraging "God Knows Where You Are" reveals a little of the group's soulful side. There's even a bit of a Celtic flavor to "River Where Mercy Flows" that's in step with the modern hymns of Keith and Kristyn Getty. Still, most of the album resides in pop ballad territory, and thus tends to recall vocal groups like Point of Grace, Wilson Phillips, and Avalon.
However, Beloved wrote 9 of the 11 songs, which is pretty impressive since most groups of this type do not craft their own music. Though some tracks rely heavily on generalized encouragement and worshipful sentiment, the trio shows strong potential for relating to others through their songwriting, particularly "Hope Deferred," articulating both frustration and trust in waiting on the Lord. "Wake the World" and the aforementioned Powell-produced single also succeed as mission-focused anthems just waiting for churches and ministries to adopt them.
Beloved would be wise to broaden their sound beyond the AC pop conventions that made Point of Grace a sensation 15 years ago, especially since they seem capable of tackling other styles. And they could also stand to tackle more specific issues than the usual sentiments of worship and encouragement—I'd suggest checking out Today's Christian Woman for more substantive topic ideas. With that said, Wake the World shows that Beloved at least has what it takes to remain a mainstay on the women's ministry circuit for years to come.