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Take Me Anywhere

  • reviewed by Christa Banister Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2008 1 Apr
Take Me Anywhere
Sounds like … ethereal, atmospheric worship combined with the alternative pop styles of Radiohead, Starflyer 59, Mute Math, Falling Up, Cary Brothers, and Josh RouseAt a glance … proving that mellow doesn't necessarily mean boring, Chris Taylor breathes new artistic life into familiar worship imagery with his national debutTrack Listing Turn Me Around Made For You Take Me Anywhere Atmosphere You See Through Me I Don't Need to Know Symphony Speak to Me in Mysteries Found That's How It Goes Safe Lift Me Up Come Around

Like most aspiring artists, Chris Taylor shared the familiar dreams of grandeur. That is, until he met Matt Redman while interning at Soul Survivor church in the U.K. After talking with the famed songwriter behind "The Heart of Worship" and "Blessed Be Your Name" and being humbled by the "authenticity of his faith," Taylor knew that being successful simply wasn't going to be enough. He wanted his music to have an unpretentious sincerity and a strong theological center, or else it wasn't even worth pursuing.

Those inner struggles, accompanied with delightfully melancholic and artful soundscapes all make Taylor's worshipful pilgrimage on Take Me Anywhere anything but run-of-the-mill. Sure, themes like being prone to wandering and God's relentless pursuit of us are well-traveled territory, but Taylor effectively personalizes the messages. On the slow-burning opener "Turn Me Around," Taylor lays the groundwork with searching lyrics that ask God to "Show me how to love profoundly/I want everything you are."

A few tracks later on the moody strains of "Atmosphere," reminiscent of Kid A-era Radiohead, Taylor passionately sings of the joys of a breakthrough moment with God: "I feel you breaking through my world/You have gone deep below my surface/brought to life all that was not living." But Taylor also explores times of discouragement, such as the quiet and piano-tinged "Symphony": "I'm in the mood for a breakdown/A slowing down of all the things in my mind."

Capturing the ups and downs of faith and setting them to worship wouldn't be nearly as interesting if the music was subpar or routine. This is where Taylor excels in spades. While the lyrics have all the makings of congregrationally friendly worship music, his left-of-center syncopation, alternative-pop ambience, and gorgeous echoing harmonies add new richness and luster that's atypical to Sunday morning worship and sonically distinct from most of his peers. All of that, combined with a realistic snapshot of a life redeemed, make Take Me Away an intriguing and meaningful listening experience characterized by substance and style.

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