What I Was Made For
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2005 1 Jul
- What I Was Made For
- Just the Way I Am
- For Who You Are
- It's All About You
- You're Worthy of My Praise
- His Name Is Jesus
- Give Up, Let Go
- Killing Me Again
- Without You
- Words of Life
- Quiet Time (Track of Silence)
Big Daddy Weave seem well on their way after debuting to a broader audience with 2002's
No one was hurt, thankfully, but the rebuilding experience helped refocus the perspective of all the band members. In supporting each other through the crisis, Big Daddy Weave has relearned that trust and obedience are essential to a relationship with God. That familiar theme inspired most of the songs on the band's third national release,
There are some definite signs of musical growth. The opening title track in particular is an impressive rocker comprising of a bluesy verse, a haunting chorus, and an aggressive instrumental hook. Later comes "Killing Me Again," a remake from one of the band's earlier indie projects. Appropriately described as a cross between Sting and Stevie Wonder, the dark and funky feel carries the theme of habitual sin as Mike trades verses with guest vocalist Fred Hammond as the voice of God. Mike gives a stunning vocal performance himself in the light ballad "Without You," effortlessly shifting into falsetto while beautifully expressing our need for the Lord.
Those highlights are unfortunately the exception to another album that again finds Big Daddy Weave too closely mimicking the acoustic pop stylings of Steven Curtis Chapman—somewhere between a peppier MercyMe and a poppier Third Day. "Just the Way I Am" is enjoyable but predictable in its praise of God's unconditional love set to upbeat and familiar AC production. "His Name Is Jesus," a simple song about Christ being the answer to the world's problems, particularly sounds like a Chapman copycat ("Speechless," "God Is God"), especially how it employs strings and rhythmic hits. There's also "Give Up, Let Go," a catchy and well-made song about surrendering one's will to God, but too similar to Chapman's "Live Out Loud."
Big Daddy Weave struggles more with the explicitly worshipful tracks. The lyricism of "For Who You Are" particularly sounds amateur: "Totally, completely, entirely amazing/That the unseen has become seen and is to me unfailing/You are the Lord, the Father of lights/You are God the Keeper of my heart/And I praise You, and I praise You." Same with the generic "It's All About You," which numbingly repeats the oft-recited truth of the title for half the song. And while it's good that the band's hit cover of "You're Worthy of My Praise" with BarlowGirl (from 2004's
The frustrating thing about Big Daddy Weave is that they seem capable of more than they offer. There are snippets of personalized expression and lyrical depth with heart buried among the clichéd retreads of worship and Scripture. There are fleeting moments of exciting acoustic pop/rock jams that soon make way for more formulaic Christian adult contemporary. No doubt that for some, this album is exactly what the fans want, and such qualities don't make Big Daddy Weave a bad band. It simply prevents them from becoming a better one.