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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

You Are Good

  • reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 Oct
You Are Good
Sounds like … Chris Tomlin, Jason Morant, Charlie Hall, David Crowder, and other worship leaders with a heart for the collegiate audienceAt a glance … strong melodies, varied styles, and congregational strength make You Are Good one impressive worship debutTrack Listing You Are Good Lead Me On Unto the One Into Your Arms 95 Dancing Generation In Christ Alone Intro My Portion Forever Your Love I Surrender All Who Is Like You 23

Christian Music Today previously featured Matt Papa in an indie artist spotlight, and it wasn't very long after that before he was signed to a record deal with upstart worship imprint Spin360 and released his first nationally distributed album. Not a stranger to worship leading, he's been ministering on college campuses, at camps, and in church events since his high school days. Even as he moved on to pursue a post-secondary degree, he still managed to lead worship and get an education, recently obtaining a degree in music performance.

The knowledge comes in handy for You Are Good, an album that showcases Papa's aptitude at crafting thoughtful expressions of worship, both in sentiment and instrumentation. The set falls squarely into modern worship category, but it isn't ruled by a particular style. There's a bit of everything here, from rollicking alternative praise ("You Are Good") and pop-punk romps ("Lead Me On") to piano-driven reflections ("Who Is Like You"), hymnody ("In Christ Alone"), and Scripture set to music ("95").

These fluctuations could've made for one erratic album, but Papa has a way of cohering things through his uncanny sense of melody. There isn't one instance on You Are Good that lacks immediacy or corporate value, an asset that's key if songs are to transcend their stay on the radio charts. It sure helps that Papa's tenor is pristine and has no trouble rising above the mix; in fact, his timbre even recalls fellow worshippers Jason Morant and David Crowder.

Not bad for a 22-year-old. While other worship leaders have trouble making music that resonates with the church, sometimes allowing artistry or commercial appeal to get the best of them, Papa is able to balance it all without compromising the power of song. Like Chris Tomlin's See the Morning, there's no reason why You Are Good shouldn't be embraced by modern worship enthusiasts everywhere.

© Andree Farias, subject to licensing agreement with Christianity Today International. All rights reserved. Click for reprint information.