Matt Maher has been a rising worship leader since his debut off Essential Records andis best known for his track Your Grace Is Enough.” This originally showed up on Chris Tomlin’s 2004 releasing Arriving. After releasing a few independent albums Matt released his first album in 2008 on Essential records called Empty and Beautiful. In September of 2009 Matt released his second and latest album Alive Again.
Now this album isn’t exactly new but I have been listening to it a ton after recently seeing Matt Maher at the Rock and Worship Roadshow and picking up both his albums. So I felt I might as well write a review for it with how much I’ve been listening to it. Matt Maher is a great worship leader and is well worth your time seeing live as well as checking out his two albums.
Matt Maher has a great mix of upbeat worship tunes to mix with the more reflective and laid-back worship tracks. Either way a lot of passion flows out from them and you can tell he has a great heart for worshiping God.
The album starts off with an amazing song the title track “Alive Again.” This song talks about being lost in the darkness of the world and then coming to life again in Christ. It starts off very soft and calm but turns into a great worship anthem. I found this to be an incredibly powerful track check out these lyrics:
You called and You shouted/broke through my deafness/Now I’m breathing in and breathing out/I’m alive again/You shattered my darkness/Washed away my blindness/Now I’m breathing in and breathing out/I’m alive again.
Thereare a couple other stand out tracks but the problem with this very strong track being the first one on the album is that it overshadows every other song on the album and it’s very hard to follow this one up.
“Shout of The King” is an energetic track and it sports some great worshipful lyrics focusing on how great He is and worshipping Him simply from the shout of the King. “Sing Over Your Children” is more laid back but also has some great lyrics. This track talks about Christ cleansing all sin from our lives and our being made whole in him.
“Hold Us Together” would be one of the other stand out tracks. This track reminds us of the power of love and that even though it won’t give us exactly what we want the love of Christ will fill every desire we ever have. As is expected off this album this track also features some great lyrics:
And Love will hold us together/make us a shelter to weather the storm/and I’ll be my brother’s keeper/so the whole world will know that we’re not alone/ this is the first day of the rest of your life/ this is the first day of the rest of your life/’cause even in the dark you can still see the light/it’s gonna be alright it’s gonna be alright
The next track “No Greater Love ” is my favorite upbeat track on the album. It has some very enjoyable guitar riffs and some awesome vocal melodies. The chorus is a great anthem and encompasses the track’s message of Christ’s great love perfectly:
And we lift high the banner of the cross/ there is no greater love than this no love but this/Jesus Christ laid down His life for us/there is no greater love than this no love but His
“Love Comes Down” continues the theme of Christ’s love and in an upbeat fashion. It’s a solid track just not as strong or enjoyable as the previous one. These firstsix tracks are some of the best songs this album has to offer.
Now the second half of the album is sadly nowhere near as strong or enjoyable as the first part. Don’t get me wrong; these are still some great tracks but the first half of the album clearly is the stronger half. Nevertheless Matt continues up his solid songwriting and passionate worship. These tracks are a lot more laid back and more reflective though. With the long stretch of calmer tracks they tend to blend in a lot and there isn’t a ton to differentiate them. “Flesh and Bone” and “Remembrance (Communion Song)” were my favorites out of this set of more laid-back tunes. “Remembrance” has some great lyrics to ponder on about the spiritual nature of communion and that this remembrance of Christ leads us to worshipping him. So each of these have some great lyrical content to focus on and will truly lead you into a time of worship but if a lot of laid-back music bores you it may be harder to get into this part of the album. Just rearranging where the upbeat tracks were in the album or adding a few in the latter half the album would have made this album flow a lot better.
“Christ Is Risen” breaks up the laid-back feel a little because even thoughit is still a worship ballad it is a powerful worship ballad. This would be a great track to use for an Easter service. This track focuses on Christ’s rising resulting indeath having no power over us anymore. Check out these lyrics:
Christ is risen from the dead/Trampling over death by death/come awake come awake/come and rise up from the grave/Christ is risen from the dead/We are one with Him again/Come awake come awake/ Come and rise up from the grave
The last track is another reflective ballad titled “Garden.” This talks about our hearts and God wanting to make them into something beautiful. He wants to take all that is pure and Godly in us and make those parts flourish while like a gardener removing the weeds and the thorns.
As a whole I really enjoyed this album by Matt Maher and his heart for worship. Even though he has some similarities toa number of typical worship bands I think there are some strengths that he possesses that make him stand out from other worship leaders. The songwriting through this album I found to be a lot stronger than the norm. Each track has some very worshipful lyrics that make you focus on Christ and really make you think and ponder about what he is saying in these tracks. To go along with that he hassome straightforward worshipful tracks that have a clear focus on Christ and these make it very easy for you to connect. All of these lyrics are lead by Matt Maher’s powerful voice that is filled with passion showcasing his nice vocal tones. I found the music to be solid and there truly are some very nice compositions that fit nicely with the reflective tracks and then some nice guitar-driven tracks for the more upbeat offerings on the album.
So while the more reflective slower tracks may take some more time to get into than the other tracks there really is a lot to love here. The singles “Alive Again ” “Hold Us Together ” and “Christ Is Risen” stand out most on this album and are very powerful anthems. These have the strongest messages and the music amplifies these messages even more. So even though not a perfect album this is a very solid worship album. After seeing Matt live he has become one of my favorite worship leaders. I recommend if you’re looking for a new worship leader to get into that you check out Matt Maher.