Won't Fade Away
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2007 1 Mar
To be clear, Won't Fade Away doesn't refer to any stubbornness from Rick Cua to continue recording Christian music 25 years after his solo debut, but rather the title track, his worshipful rocker about God's unfailing presence. Best known to some as a member of '70s rock band The Outlaws, this veteran artist/bassist knows a thing or two about worship music, having spent much of the last 10 years working in EMI Christian Music Publishing, helping establish the Worship Together brand, and most recently contributing to the Spring Hill Worship albums.
This worshipful focus is further reflected on his twelfth solo album, and first since 1997. Some may recognize Cua's songs from the Spring Hill albums: ballad "Mercy Seat," upbeat rocker "King of My World," and energetic "Sweet Communion" with its rhythmic piano and guitar riffs.
Though most of these songs probably won't find their way to the average corporate worship repertoire, they're nonetheless creatively enjoyable and meaningful to anyone nostalgic for '80s Christian rock that can also appreciate a worshipful focus. Likening the love of Jesus to water, "All Over Me" uses electric guitars, flute, and Farfisa organ to capture a classic rock sound. "Halls of Heaven" is a majestic ballad that recalls Petra's worship albums with building harmonies, strings, guitars, and drums. And "Be God' resembles KT Tunstall in the verses, using a groovin' bass line, wild drum fills, and some banjo to express a desperate heart cry to the Lord.
The production is good, but the mix lacks the polish of a major release. Though in a way, this also works with the overall sound—it's like modern worship as done 20 years ago. And while a lot of the lyricism tends towards the declarative ("I will…"), Cua's skillful songwriting avoids sounding hackneyed overall. Perhaps it'll sound dated to younger listeners, but Won't Fade Away is a welcome blast from the past, offering something relatively fresh and distinctive to today's oft routine sounding modern worship styles.