My Rating: On Repeat [4.5/5]
Bethel Music worship leaders, Brian and Jenn Johnson will release their new worship album After All These Years on January 27th. This will be the couple’s first release in more than ten years, and it consists of cowritten songs encapsulating the experiences and growth that has shaped those years. Many of the songs were born from the “seasons that God has proved His faithfulness in.” Consequently, the lyrics express praises for God’s constant grace and love in every season. These praise-filled lyrics are accompanied by beautiful instrumentation provided, in part, by an eighty-piece symphony orchestra, which adds a depth and richness to the songs. After All These Years contains artistic, honest praises and prayers.
The theme of the entire album, God’s unchanging nature and faithful presence, is summed up in the second song on the album – “Only Jesus.” The words “You’re my constant in the chaos” open the song along with simple piano. The song then moves into the chorus where beautiful strings accompany the prayerful lyrics: “Let my heart want for nothing but you, just you.” The lyrics in the bridge state simply, “For me, only Jesus.” It is both a reminder that He is for us, and that He is the only one who will satisfy. The dynamics of the song rise and fall with the rising and falling melodies of the strings, which create an emotional and honest, prayerful song.
In “Here I Bow,” the orchestral strings create a strength and tension which releases into piano and the question, “Where would I run but to the throne of mercy?” The lyrics in the chorus declare, “So here I bow to lift you high. Jesus be glorified… I am yours, forever yours.” This flows, then, into a powerful and high-energy bridge as Jenn sings, “Here and now be lifted high. Here and now be glorified.” Strings, synth, and drums transition into the simple, beautiful strings which began the song as the truth, “I am yours, forever yours,” is proclaimed one more time.
“For The One” prayerfully focusses the listener’s attention on loving others as God has loved us. The lyrics ask God to open our eyes to all the ways we can love and reflect Christ to everyone, “from the homeless to the famous and in between … cause in the end, we’re all [God’s] children.” In the chorus, Brian and Jenn’s voices blend in eloquent harmonies as they sing, “Help me to love with open arms like you do – a love that erases all the lies and sees the truth. Father, when they look in my eyes they would see you. Even in just a smile, they would see the Father's love.” These lyrics, accompanied by piano, cello, and violin, come across as earnest and faith-filled.
After All These Years is both musically and lyrically a beautiful collection of worship songs. The Johnson’s love and adoration for God shine through with prayerful lyrics, and the instrumentation and melodies join with these inspired words to craft songs that are beautiful offerings of worship. It is certainly an album I will be worshiping to for a while.