aims to offer the most compelling biblically-based content to Christians on their walk with Jesus. is your online destination for all areas of Christian Living – faith, family, fun, and community. Each category is further divided into areas important to you and your Christian faith including Bible study, daily devotions, marriage, parenting, movie reviews, music, news, and more.

Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews


  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2004 1 Nov
Sounds like … Matchbox Twenty meets Third Day and MercyMe, with echoes of the accessible hard rock that made Creed so popularAt a glance … though Restored is an expected improvement over Stay and sure to be another success for Jeremy Camp, the songs are still very generic musically and lyricallyTrack ListingRestoredTake You BackEven WhenLay Down My PrideMy DesireBe the OneEvery TimeLetting GoBreatheThis ManInnocenceNothing Else I Need

Jeremy Camp entered the Christian music scene in the aftermath of tragedy, using the sad-yet-uplifting testimony of losing his first wife to cancer. In the two years since, the 26-year-old has been blessed immensely. On the personal front, he married Adrienne Liesching (formerly of The Benjamin Gate) and they recently became proud parents. Professionally, Camp's debut sold very well, due to six No. 1 hits off the album—a rare feat. Camp also took home Dove Awards for Male Vocalist and New Artist of the Year. Building on the popularity of Stay and the subsequent worship project Carried Me, his true sophomore effort, Restored, is one of the year's most anticipated releases.

Stay was a snapshot of Camp's spiritual life at the time, clinging to his faith and longing for God's comfort in his time of loss. Likewise, Restored shows where he's at today, rededicating his life to God and praising him for his faithfulness. Not that Stay was a downer, but Camp sounds happier and more at peace here. It's a natural progression for him spiritually and musically. Aaron Sprinkle (Kutless, Seven Places) produced this time around, and he helps beef up the sound with an undoubtedly larger recording budget.

Sincerity and sound have never been an issue for Camp as much as his songwriting, his greatest strength and weakness. Is it any surprise that Camp, like MercyMe, does so well in the wake of the modern worship revival with scripturally derived, vertically focused lyrics? The disappointment is that he has such a great testimony, yet it's only present in his music because of context—hearing him speak between songs in concert or learning about his story in interviews. These are incredibly generic songs of faith, popular because any Christian can relate to them. But instead of expressing his testimony, he expresses everyone's testimony. What should be self-expression is personalized to many, resulting in an album that ironically seems impersonal.

Take the title track as an example: "You're making me complete/You've given all these open doors/I'm humbled at your feet because of what You've done for me." Knowing the context with which this was written, it's clearly autobiographical praise for the last few years. But is it any different than what other Christian artists have said, or any of us, for that matter? On the prayerful but derivative "Breathe," he sings, "You lift me when I fall/You break down every wall/You feel my every need/I dedicate my all." There's similarly formulaic rhyming in "Letting Go," with a chorus that is simply, "Letting go of the things I hold so dear/Letting go of all my pain and all my fears." Surrender is also at the heart of "Lay Down My Pride," but again the words are so uninventive—"Every single word I say/You know it before I speak/You know every thought/The deepest part of me/You draw me closer than I see/Your presence is every thing I need to be/The child that you've created me to be."

There's something generic about the music too, which has been a little too often unfairly compared to Creed—Camp's baritone is not as loud or guttural as Scott Stapp, and the guitars don't come close to that band's hard rock and metal. This is more like Matchbox Twenty meets Three Doors Down, MercyMe with more of a rock edge, and Third Day without the classic Southern rock charm. To his credit, Camp stretches his voice more this time, launching into a Rob Thomas styled falsetto in some songs. The strings-coated rock ballad "This Man" is sure to be a hit single with its powerful image of the cross, and "My Desire" is an affecting worship anthem. But "Even Where" comes too close to mimicking the soaring ¾ time feel of "I Still Believe" and "Walk by Faith," and "Be the One" likewise borrows the same upbeat shuffle of "Right Here."

Not to say that Restored is "bad." It's easy to understand why Camp is at the top of his genre of grunge-inspired pop/rock. Fans of Stay are sure to love Restored just as much, and it's bound to become another hit thanks to repeated spins on radio. Success couldn't find a nicer guy—I just wish we could get below the surface of generalities and hear more of him in his music.