Album: The Beginning and Everything After
Release Date: October 19, 2018
Record Label: Fair Trade Services
Reviewer: Ikenna Nwachukwu
Christian music band The Afters released their latest album, The Beginning and Everything After in 2018. The album, a tribute to over ten decades of often brilliant melodies from the group of four, includes some of their most loved and widely played songs. It also features new material: two songs, Well Done and Fear No More.
At the time of this review, ‘Well Done’ charts within the top 30 of Billboard’s Hot Christian Songs, and has received regular airplay in the US for weeks. But Fear No More seems to be just as popular with fans who have heard it. That’s because it ticks a lot of boxes: a perennially relevant message of trust in God, delivered in easy lyrics, and with a nice contemporary tune.
Perhaps we might wonder a bit about the regularity with which ‘songs of hope’ are churned out in our times; maybe there’s already plenty of them playing on our stereos. But it could be a sign of the times, a response to the abundance of troubling news and perplexed hearts in our day. The Afters seem to have intended Fear No More to be “an anthem for trusting God.”
Josh Havens, the band’s lead singer, has made this point in interviews he’s had about the song.
“We wanted to write songs that you could proclaim over your life,” Josh explains about Fear No More, “[we wanted to write] an anthem for not living in fear, and fear no more came out of this”
The Song: A Contemporary Anthem
The song itself does sound like a modern anthem, or at least a hymn written in contemporary language. And the melody in which it’s wrapped helps its delivery as well: a good dose of percussive beats adds some auditory weight to its general tune. All of these are brought together in a way that makes the song easy to sing along to, and lets the crux of it get to the listener as they do so.
If you’ve felt through the lyrics, you’ll probably detect a blend of a proclaimed trust in God and a boldness in the face of troubles, as these lines from the second stanza portray:
I will lift my eyes,
I will lift my cares
Lay them in your hands
I’ll leave them there
When the winds and waves are coming, you shelter me
Even though I’m in the storm, the storm is not in me
These lines are a fine description of the kind of faith and confidence which Christians all over the world seek to have. This perhaps explains why Fear No More has become popular with many. It’s a song with a call to that ideal, and they’re singing and praying it in increasing numbers.
The Story Behind the Song
Josh Havens admits that he’s long struggled with anxiety. He says that his battle with this, as well as other issues he and his band members have faced, motivated them to write the song.
“It was really bad fourteen years ago when I lost my dad,” Josh says, referring to his anxiety. “And Jordan (a band member) said he related to it.”
Jordan- that’s Jordan Mohilowski, the band’s drummer -also says he’s had to deal with intense anxiety.
“I remember when we were in the studio together, and just felt it (anxiety) so deep,” he recalls. “I had a child on the way, and all the unknown things that go on with that… I remember Josh encouraging me, and I remember us just saying ‘let’s write a sing that’s an anthem against anxiety.'”
And out of those discussions and honest sessions, Fear No More was birthed.
Reception and Performance
Since its release, Fear No More has gained significant traction. In four months, its lyrics video on YouTube has had over a million views. While current airplay focuses on The Afters’ other new song, Well Done, this reviewer expects Fear No More to do at least just as well as on the charts.
Beyond video views and charts, it’s the encouragement preached by the song that makes it such a great piece of art. It reminds us that our fears are defeated when we fully trust in God. He alone is the source of true, lasting confidence, and eternal victory.