MUSIC REVIEW: FEAR NO MORE by THE AFTERS

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 Afters Picture

The Afters

 

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.

The Afters working on new music

The Afters working on new music

 

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.

MUSIC REVIEW: RECKLESS LOVE by CORY ASBURY

Artiste: Cory Asbury

Album
: Reckless Love (2018)

Label: Bethel Music

Reviewer: Chidimma Nnagbo

Cory Ausbury joined Bethel music in 2015. He released his ‘Reckless love’ in 2018 which hit it big. According to Kate Nutshell, ‘when worship songs make it big, they also get subjected to a degree of theological scrutiny, and some have questioned whether the message of the hit song misrepresents the nature of God’s love’. There has been criticism of the song’s title, ‘reckless love’. A wing of the criticism says ‘God loves us with clear and thoughtful intention’. Another wing says “Reckless Love became popular because it is a catchy tune that speaks to all of our human desires to be loved and known”. Cory Ausbury in his defence said in an interview, “I see the love of God as something wild, insane, crazy.”

On hearing the song at first, it may not hit any serious chord till you listen to the lyrics. It’s Rock genre is somewhat soft. It goes from soft intensity to a strong intensity and back to soft again. It feels like the music comes alive when the lyric is understood. The lyrics are strong and deep; they drive right into the heart and mind. The words can hardly be dismissed. It conjures feelings deep happiness that bring tears to the eye. Personally, I think the description is strong and beautiful and I felt the human buildup is incapable of mirroring such love with the same intensity. It is sad and I wanted to love more. Feel more. Do more.

In verse one, God’s sovereignty is described; the way that he first loved us, without us doing anything to earn it. His love was before our existence. Then he launches into the mind blowing chorus.

“Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine

I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God”
 
He describes God’s love with 3 magical words: Overwhelming, never-ending and reckless.

The song is heavily poetic and exciting in a literary sense. The chasing and fighting paints the picture of a guy trying to win a girl over; it also borrows imagery from the biblical story of the good shepherd, who leaves his 99 sheep in the field and goes off in search of a single lost sheep. He tells a tale of personal importance that nothing is done to earn. In verse 2, he buttresses the point of God’s eternal and unconditional love.

Then right to my favourite verse…

There’s no shadow You won’t light up

Mountain You won’t climb up

Coming after me

There’s no wall You won’t kick down

Lie You won’t tear down

Coming after me

A representation technique is used here. It seems to point to Ephesians 6: 12 ‘ For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places’.

It seems to say that no belief asides the gospel will stand in his way. Even if the belief is as high as a mountain or so dark it casts shadows.He’ll keep coming after you. No matter how high you’ve built your wall and how much lies you are living, he’ll still come after you. 

The song is one of those songs you put on replay till whenever.