Tides – Music Review

Bethel Music - Tides Review by Larry SparksBethel Music is Turning Tides With Outstanding New Album!

I was at a local Christian bookstore and, to my surprise, they were selling Bethel Music’s latest album Tides. The official release date was slated for September 3—so I was quite thrilled to be an early adopter and critical raver for this incredible project!

An Album That Takes Risks!

What I love, absolutely love about Bethel Music is that everything they have done thus far has been different. They take risk. You can tell that the risk-taking culture of Bethel Church permeates every arena of ministry, from boldly praying for the sick to experimenting with new sounds and styles of music.

Tides is a four star album. I was immediately hooked. In fact, Brian and Jenn Johnson, along with the incredibly talented team at Bethel Music, did a phenomenal job stirring up pre-release anticipation for this album. From releasing preview tracks on iTunes, to hosting a live steamed release party (online) with acoustic worship and song stories, I was a fan of the album long before I officially picked up my copy at the bookstore. Well done.

Experience A New Sound

Do not expect a sequel to For the Sake of the World, Bethel’s most recent live recording (which is another standout album). Even though my preference tends to be the live recordings—where to the best of technology’s ability, it captures the presence and power of a raw atmosphere of worship—I have thoroughly enjoyed Bethel’s out of the box projects, starting with Brian Johnson’s solo album Love Came Down to The Loft Sessions to the instrumental album Without Words and now, Tides.

If I had, absolutely had to compare Tides to anything, it would be to a Hillsong United studio album, like Aftermath or most recently, Zion.

That said, I am reluctant to compare it to anything that currently exists—in sound and lyrics. Each writer is rich in intimacy with Jesus, and the depth of these relationships are reflected on every single track. It’s rare to have a studio album that is permeated by such a strong anointing and hunger for worship. Though polished and professional on every front, the raw pursuit of God’s Presence that sets Bethel Music apart is STRONG throughout this project.

Standout Songs

One song in particular that will tug on your heart strings is Jenn Johnson’s “I Can Feel You.” It is beautiful, haunting, and lyrically rich, reminding that no matter how deep in chaos or circumstance we find ourselves, or far we perceive to be from the Presence of God, He is but a “breath away” and so ready to break into our lives. It is also a rich sound-feast. (I’m pretty sure there is a smoking saxophone solo somewhere in there).

A standout track which, I hope, becomes a standard of modern congregational worship is the anthem, “Forever,” co-written by the Johnsons and Kari Jobe. It goes without saying that it will surely become a Resurrection Sunday favorite.

“Chasing You” is a fun way to start the album, with Jenn Johnson taking listeners on a fast-paced, passionate journey pursuing the heart of God.

I’m not going to lie, Steffany Frizzel (now Steffany Gretzinger) is one of my favorite Bethel worship leaders. Anything she writes/sings is worth a listen. The two tracks she delivers on Tides are phenomenal. Vocally, Steffany takes “Be Still” to soaring levels. The bridge is electric, as she passionately declares Psalm 103 – “Bless the Lord oh my soul cries out – all that is within me praise!” As it musically builds, the encounter with the powerful presence of God does likewise. I hear that she has an album coming out in the near future. Stay tuned!

The gang is all here, each delivering strong offerings. Jeremy Riddle (Heaven’s Song, Breaking Through), Hunter Thompson (Come Awaken Love), Will Matthews (Ascend), Matt Stinton (Give Me Jesus) and of course, Brian and Jenn Johnson. Bravo once again, Bethel Music.

Tides has me REALLY looking forward to what’s next on the horizon!

Check out “Chasing You” (also available on Bethel Music’s YouTube):

Larry Sparks About Larry Sparks

Larry Sparks is host of Life Supernatural, a weekly radio program that features bestselling authors, emerging filmmakers, and key ministry leaders. In addition to serving as the Director of Curriculum Resources for Destiny Image Publishers, Larry is president and founder of Equip Culture Ministries—an organization that equips believers with tools and resources to experience a life of sustained victory through the supernatural power of God. He lives in Florida with his wife and daughter. You can visit his website at www.lawrencesparks.com and follow him on Facebook Larry Sparks or on Twitter @LawrenceVSparks.