#Worship album review: ‘Yours Alone’ by City Alight
Yours Alone by City Alight
Hot on the heels of their Hills District neighbour’s new album (yep, that’s the ‘Hill’ in Hillsong) is the debut album from City Alight, St Paul’s Castle Hill. And it’s really, really good.
Musically, it sits squarely in the current contemporary worship “sound”, with some nice ambient post-rock pop and a helping of upbeat nu-grass; there’s clear influence from groups Hillsong, Rend Collective, the Gettys and even a few nods to old-school revivalesque hymnody (check out the folky-acoustic track Praise the Saviour). The songs are all melodically driven – these are songs to be sung by congregations, and I love that the congregation can be heard in the recording. The arrangements support the vocal lines, with some often simple, but effective guitar and piano parts. There are mandolins and banjos, and lots of drums, and it all hangs together to create an enjoyable group of songs. A particular moment of musical fun was the nu-grass-meets-80’s-synths arrangement of Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
While the album is musically strong, lyrically it hits it for six. The lyrics are biblical, fresh and well crafted. The songs are focused on the work of Christ, and many of the songs have a helpful eschatological trajectory (i.e. they look towards to the new heavens and new earth). The album as whole is also helpfully structured so that the listener \ singer-along is taken into the story of redemption; the climax is the atonement, and the result is a secure future.
There are a couple of really stand-out songs for me (get the chord charts & lyrics here):
Once for all:
Very singable, great lyrics, melody and harmonic structure.
“Now we live forever freeBecause of Christ, the offeringNo fear in life, no sting in deathFor our God has come for us and our God has paid the debt”
A wonderful Easter hymn which contrasts Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem with his triumph in the New Jerusalem.
“See Him in JerusalemWalking where the crowds areOnce these streets had sung to HimNow they cry for murderSuch a frail and lonely ManHolding up the heavy crossSee Him walking in JerusalemOn the road to save us”
I like this catchy, up-beat nu-grass (Trinitarian!) call to worship. It’s harmonically simple, but just try an not sing along.