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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

I Have to Believe

  • reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2005 1 Sep
I Have to Believe
Sounds like … the passionate worship style of Jami Smith, Kim Hill, Keith Green, and Jason Upton, plus the grit and soul of a more pop-oriented Melissa Etheridge.At a glance … Springer continues in her tradition of creating heartfelt, ardent worship that's long on artistry, honesty, and beauty.Track Listing I Have to Believe You Are Good Captured Rain Down I Will Rejoice O God of Mine You're More Than a Friend My Hero Rise Up Everywhere Those Were the Days Love With Justice

There's too many singers and groups recording worship music nowadays, but not nearly enough worship artists engaging in the act of adoration with their craft. Art is, after all, a viable expression of worship, and thankfully, Rita Springer does it very well. Since her Floodgate debut in 2000, Springer has been turning heads with her potent alto voice and her no-holds-barred brand of passionate worship, a music prophetess of sorts who wears her heart for God on her sleeve.

Her first studio album in three years, I Have to Believe is another stepping-stone in her acclaimed career. Producers Nathan Nockels (Watermark) and Margaret Becker do a good job of polishing up the rough edges that characterized Springer's earlier recordings, making this a more refined and inspirational disc. In spite of these changes, Springer still remains as confessional as ever in her first-person declarations, which force you to stop and take notice rather than engage you in corporate singing. Though Springer is unpretentious all around, she unconsciously demands listener attention, as in the arresting gospel ballad "I Have to Believe," complete with a fine backing choir.

But it's not during these mountaintop moments that Springer shines the brightest. It's really the subtleties of her music that make it truly special, like the frailty of her voice in the prayer "O God of Mine," the time signature change in the middle of "You Are Good," or even the way she reinterprets other people's tunes (Delirious' "Rain Down"). Of the few covers, her tender rendition of the Vineyard tune "More Than a Friend" is breathtaking, as is the majority of the softer selections.

Once again, Springer has succeeded at crafting an album that interweaves worship and artistry with vulnerability and simplicity, in a way that proves that she might as well be the best-kept secret in worship music.

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