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Where's Our Revolution

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2008 1 Jun
Where's Our Revolution
Sounds like … organic pop/rock combining qualities of Jars of Clay, Chris Tomlin, Jon McLaughlin, and Shawn McDonald.At a glance … it's not the breakthrough album that will move Matt Brouwer into the upper echelon of pop music, but there are still enough thoughtful lyrics and catchy melodies to make Where's Our Revolution well worth a listen.Track ListingCome Back Around
Beautiful Now
Where's Our Revolution
Running to Begin
Writing to Remember (The North Horizon)
All I Really Want
Please Say
The Other Side
All the Way
A Love That Saves Me
Good Night's Sleep

It's been a rather mixed career for Matt Brouwer so far. Though his debut Imagerical released through Reunion Records in 2001 and generated three radio singles ("Water," "Sanity," "A New Song"), the heavily produced pop-worship project sold poorly. Dropped from the label, Brouwer joined Chris Tomlin in Houston to help develop a worship ministry and recorded a follow-up independently. Shifting from modern worship to a considerably more stripped-down singer/songwriter pop style, 2004's Unlearning caused some ripples with "Surrender" and a cover of Sheryl Crow's "I Shall Believe," but ultimately failed to garner widespread attention.

Another three years have passed, and perhaps third time's the charm. Where's Our Revolution is similar to the organic songwriting of Unlearning, but not nearly as bland, joining Brouwer's likable voice and accessible pop style to the stronger production of veteran Michael Omartian (4Him, Gary Chapman). The excellent title track refers to a search for spiritual rejuvenation, reminiscent of Jars of Clay with its dark, quiet alt-folk feel that explodes into a bigger, bolder chorus. "Sometimes" also has pop hit written all over it, with lyrics about coping with the fears and trials of life.

In songs like "All the Way" and "A Love that Saves Me," Brouwer embraces a Jars-like folk/country feel that suits him well. "The Other Side" (featuring? Amy Grant and Vince Gill ) is even more Southern sounding, a quasi-gospel hymn inspired by the loss of a loved one—the song's hopeful lyrics are so similar to "Sweet By and By" that Brouwer even ends the song with a reference to the gospel classic.

The more introspective approach works for Brouwer, who also broadens his songwriting into romantic territory with "Writing to Remember," "All I Really Want," and the folksy "Good Night's Sleep." However, some will question his choice of words in "Running to Begin"—"There's gonna be some hell to pay before this night is over"—a song that sympathizes with girl who feels alone because of a dark secret, possibly teen pregnancy.

Some songs also fall short of Brouwer's lyrical potential. The radio single "Beautiful Now" states the need for "something beautiful" to "break your heart" and "tear your world apart" without really explaining why—it's all generic rhetoric, meaningless without a theological filter. Likewise, "Please Say" has nothing to say beyond wanting a positive feeling to last forever. Corny.

Is there enough here for Where's Our Revolution to become Brouwer's breakthrough? Not quite, but there is still enough to say he's back on track and worthy of attention.

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