Review Rating: Must Listen (4/5)
As of nine albums ago, Kari Job has become an established voice in praise and worship. Known for impactful worship music and powerful vocals, her upcoming collection has been highly anticipated. Following the success of several pre-released singles, Kari's tenth album has been released. With fourteen original worship tracks, The Garden balances themes of suffering, repentance, hope, and majesty, all while captivating listeners with beautiful melodies.
Arguably one of the best tracks on the album, "Let Your Glory Fall" is a worship song with a unique and captivating atmosphere. The instrumentals heavily focus on electronic sounds, but with calm and reverent tones. Keyboard notes, chimes, and drums create a massive sound. Kari's voice leads the anthem, rising with the chorus and falling to impact each verse. "I come before Your Throne, Holy One," Kari sings, "come flood this place, O let it rain." The song's atmosphere is perfect for a worship album - certainly a highlight across the album.
Immediately following is a song of humility and repentance - "Heal Our Land." Returning to classic praise and worship instruments, soft electric guitar, rising keyboard, and gentle drums propel the track. There is an air of hope, appropriate for the lyrical content. Kari leads the singing with a cry for God to work within the church, our nation, and the world. "Spirit of God, breathe on Your church … we pray in every nation - 'Christ be known'" the chorus expresses. The bridge emphasizes the plea for healing in our nation, wrapping together how vital God's presence truly is.
Around the midpoint is "I Will Sing." Here, the melody shifts to acoustic tones. Vibrant, rich violin strings accompany the soft piano and keyboard notes, drawing out a massive and captivating sound. Its lyrics are simple, yet they brilliantly and beautifully emphasize themes of thankfulness in the midst of suffering. In all honesty, this reviewer was caught off guard by the gentle yet bold words. "Even when my breath is weak, I will sing, I will sing," Kari expresses, "even in my suffering I will sing, I will sing." A beautiful verse closes this song as no other could - "Though my heart is torn right open, I will trust, I will remember."
Towards the close of the collection is "Oh The Power." Blending themes of praise with words of worship, the song focuses on glorifying Christ the King. Amidst bold and massive keyboard notes, drums, and electronic pulses, the song combines themes of sacrifice and salvation - "Gethsemane, where Heaven met me" - with an anthem of praise and exaltation - "King Jesus, take the highest place." There is so much within this one track, with many impactful verses even further advanced by a soaring melody.
The diverse sounds and meaningful themes of The Garden make this collection stand out amongst Kari Jobe's work, if not in the praise and worship music community. From calm and contemplative moments of worship to rising, hopeful expressions of trust, each track is impactful. Amazing instrumentals collide with beautiful lyrics across the entire collection - an experience recommended for all listeners.