Album Review: NEEDTOBREATHE, Rivers in the Wasteland

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Needtobreathe are one of my favourite Christian bands out there, and with five amazing records under their sleeve, there’s good reason. I’m very picky with bands who I choose to be my favourites, but Needtobreathe ranks number one!

Their newest album, Rivers in the Wasteland, has absolutely blown me away. Released back in the beginning of April, I’m still listening to this constantly. It’s that good, and it only gets better each time. An instant classic, and I’ll tell you why.

The album begins with Wasteland, a hauntingly beautiful folk track about the wastelands we find ourselves in, and how there’s always, “A crack in the door filled with light.” It spills with epic hope in the final few seconds, and already sky rockets the album above most others, with just the first track!

The next three songs have more of a country/rock sound to them, especially Feet, Don’t Fail me Now and Oh Carolina. These three tracks are just so fun, and though there’s nothing obviously Christian about them, they’re great tracks to stomp around to!

Needtobreathe take a lot of different musical twists and turns during this record, and nothing ever feels like filler. It can go from rock and roll, to worship, to gospel choirs and banjos! Not once while listening through did I want to skip a song. Each one has its own flavor, and each one is a standout.

Difference Maker is my favourite lyrically. It’s about the damage of ego in a Christian’s life, and how we can call ourselves, “Difference Makers.” A truly convicting song on how we see ourselves. The truth of the song is, we’re not difference makers, and only Christ can change a heart. And when we see ourselves as more than we are, we become lonely and unloved by those around us. It’s when we think we know everything that we really know nothing.

Track seven, the Heart, has become my favourite song of the year, and maybe even the decade. It flows with rich, thick joy that’s beyond toe tapping. And the music video to go along is beautifully excellent. “Long live the heart, long live the soul, that knows what it wants!”

That same joy flows into the next song, Where the Money is. This is a song about not looking for money and riches in life, because “It’s just a tragedy trying to take its toll again.” My brother’s favourite track 🙂

Multiplied can not go without a mention. This is simply one of the most beautiful worship songs written in a long time, and I don’t take that lightly. Absolutely breath taking in every way. Bear’s vocals shine like never before, and each instrument has a stand out point. Second best song, along with the Heart.

The album eventually closes after another brilliant song, Brother, with More Heart Less Attack. A soothing ballad about being more loving in life. No room for judgment here! Pure poetry with a beautiful melody, and it brings the album to a close just as powerfully as it began.

Overall, Rivers in the Wasteland is easily one of the top five albums of this year, and I doubt anything else will pass it, but if something does, I’ll review it straight away! But if you pass this, you’ll be missing one of the best albums of the decade, and it leaves you with hope that there’s always a river in the wasteland.

4.5/5

God Bless.

 

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Where’s our Joy Found?

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Where is our joy found? That’s the question I want to ask today, and interestingly enough, the answer may surprise you.

People are always looking for happiness, for satisfaction, fulfillment, but they can never seem to find it. Why? What’s making them feel empty? The thing we have to tell these people is, “Where are you looking?”

Everyone wants material things because they think it will give them some form of satisfaction, some form of joy, but it won’t, and I’ll give the reason soon. The question I want to ask is, why is our culture so want orientated but not need orientated? Why are our wants put in the spotlight, while our needs are sort of left in the dark.

If you’re honest with yourself, I can tell you that most of the things you have planned to buy are wants. Of course we have the needs like food, clothing, and homes, but not even they give us true joy and satisfaction. Most of the time we feel alone, even with family by our sides. Why do we feel like this? Why aren’t my wants keeping me happy? Why aren’t my needs even keeping me happy?

It’s called the pursuit of happiness, because it can never be found. We’re constantly pursuing it, but it’s always two steps ahead of us. And the sad thing is, some people keep pursuing it until they die, so they never find true happiness.

A lot of the time, people don’t even know what their needs are. They know the obvious, but there’s always another need deep down they just can’t put a finger on. Something’s missing, and they can’t see what it is. That’s why our culture is so focused on the want, because they don’t know what the need is.

One of my favourite lyrics from the Christian hardcore band, Emery, says, “I knew it, right from the start. I’ve got this big, big hole in my heart. I wanted to put you in, but for some reason, you just wouldn’t fit.”

So what is this need we keep trying to fill? The answer? Love. True, unchanging, uncompromising, unconditional, love. Things can’t provide it, not people, not even your own family. No person on this earth can love unconditionally, because we were born in sin, and no matter how much we love, it’s corrupt. It never stays. A crush in a year could turn into your enemy. A friend could turn against you with just one mistake. But Jesus, His love never wavers.

That’s the great need, and only Jesus can provide it. He was willingly beaten, whipped, slashed, and crucified to provide that, and now that we have it, we don’t want it! Jesus is right there, with our great need in His hands, yet we turn away! I can’t fathom it, really.

So here we go searching for all the material possessions again. It’s a cycle of temporary happiness that’s never broken, not until we finally accept Christ’s love, the thing we all need. And to answer the previous question, why don’t material possessions make us truly happy? Because they’re only meant to point to the one who can. They are merely poor reflections. All the treasures of this world are shadows compared to the majesty and glory of Christ!

How can you refuse Him now, after He bore your grief? The things of this world are merely shadows, and we’re always trying to hold them, but shadows aren’t something that can be held.

To finish this post, I want to give you a preaching segment found on Wolves at the Gate’s newest album, VxV. “What is true joy, or hope? Where can it be found? Is it in the promise of gold streets, or is it in escaping the fires of hell? No. All things are worthless in view of the surpassing value of knowing God, and being known by Him!”

God Bless, and go out living in the true joy of Christ.