|Jeremy Camp (Merge Media)|
MUSIC REVIEWFifteen years ago Jeremy Camp released his first album, Stay. Today he releases his fifteenth. It’s quite an accomplishment when you think that each album has an average of ten songs each. That comes to about 150 original songs. Of those, 38 have become #1 radio hits. Get ready to add a few more.
How does one stay fresh? Camp says the key is just living in the moment. “What’s been amazing about The Answer is that all of the songs were inspired by just being present,” Camp says. “There was no song where I was sitting there and had this epiphany when I was writing. In every writing session, any idea literally just came in the moment. I was praying the whole time, ‘Lord, give me opportunities to combine these things that You are doing in our hearts.”
Granted, he didn’t write them all by himself. He had help from Ed Cash, Scott Cash, Colby Wedgeworth, Ethan Hulse, Josh Silverberg and Jess Cates. But Camp says that the writing sessions began by just talking - no purposeful agenda or topic was allowed. Eleven songs later we have The Answer.
Like Camp’s other releases, The Answer is full of truth. Not necessarily deep, complicated, philosophy truth, but simple truth. Jesus is the answer to all of life’s questions. In an anthem, the song boldly declares:
I know the answer to every questions / the one solution to every fear / I know my help and where it comes from / Jesus, He is the answer
That might sound trite and may be not comforting enough for someone going through a tough battle. But it is simple truth that gets stuck in your head and encourages to continue on. Though “Word of Life” opens the album (and the first of probably many new singles), it serves as a response to those who want more. During the song Camp cries out,
Word of life / speak to my weary heart / strengthen my broken parts / lead me to your open arms / word of truth / illuminate all these lies / the enemy speaks inside / in freedom I will rise
Other great songs on this album include “Never Stopped Loving” where Camp shares about that no matter what, God always loves us and “Love So Great” where Camp says “You came running when I could not.” Expect to start singing “Storm” during your church services soon with its anthem-like lyrics:
Come like a storm / come like a crashing wave / oceans will roar / as we life high Your name
The album also encourages believers to “Tell the Whole World” about Jesus’ love and finishes out with “Awake O Sleeper” which takes a huge departure from the rest of the album. It sounds like a song that a chain gang would sing (chains are actually mentioned in the song) which serves as an encouragement for believers to step out in faith and stand strong against the enemy. It’s a good song that will certainly wake you up even if it sounds a bit rougher than the music you usually listen to.
It’s refreshing to listen to an artist who is capable of creating a well-rounded album discussing the Christian experience from praise songs, to talking about struggles and encouragement to move out of one’s comfort zone. In a time when the world needs Jesus more than ever but many are content to not ruffle any feathers, this album serves as a wake up call.
1. Word of Life
2. My Defender
3. The Answer
5. My Father’s Arms
6. Never Stopped Loving
7. Tell the Whole World
8. Heaven’s Shore
10. Love So Great
11. Awake O Sleeper