- reviewed by Christa Banister Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2008 1 Apr
- New Day
- Worlds Collide
- In Rhythm With You
- You Danced
- 300 Times
- Forever Friend
- My One and Only
Even if you grow up in a Christian family, there always comes a point where your faith must become your own. Minneapolis-based singer/songwriter Brian Bates thought he had a pretty good grasp of faith outside of his family's influence, but a time of spiritual wandering reminded him of one of God's unconditional love—and forever changed the importance of his beliefs.
"I didn't really sow my wild oats until college," Bates says. "I felt like I needed to experiment, and that's when my faith really got challenged. Interestingly in that period of time when I supposedly fell away from the Lord, I felt like he was part of my life the whole way through … So I don't call it falling away from the Lord, but I definitely blew him off for five years."
Bates began searching for identity and a place to belong amid partying and getting involved with the gay lifestyle, but as many Christians have discovered, Bates didn't find what he was looking for outside of God. In time, he gave up on the hedonistic lifestyle. "I left it behind because I fell in love with a God that I could trust," Bates recalls. "That is absolutely my story."
As an indie artist with two previous projects, Bates can't help but weave parts of his redemption story into the songs on Worlds Collide. It's not always easy to pour one's life story into a three-minute pop song, but Bates does so comfortably with "In Rhythm with You," a plea for closeness with God, and "Canyon," a call to step outside of our comfort zone. Later, with "Elijah" and "You Danced," Bates shares the inspiration he found in interacting with Africa's impoverished. And in "Under" (penned by PFR's Joel Hanson)Bates asks God to "Mark me with love that flows from your name/As I plunge under and rise again/Let your kingdom rule to the depths of my soul/Make me free/Make me whole."
Helmed by Nate Sabin (Sara Groves, Jason Gray), Bates' album offers a polished pop sound without falling prey to overproduction. Tracks like the buoyant opener "New Day" and the pensive confession of "Worlds Collide" are seemingly tailor-made for adult contemporary radio, but the catchy accompaniment doesn't distract from Bates' rich and robust vocals. Though a few of the higher register moments recall the likes of Warren Barfield and Michael Olson, Bates can also sound as subdued as Tal Bachman or Duncan Sheik.
All that combined with a potent sense of mission, and Bates is proof yet again that there's value in each of our stories, as well as opportunities for spiritual growth in the process.
For more information about Bates, check out www.brian-bates.com.
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