My Rating: Must Listen! (4.5 / 5)
Bethel Music has been releasing some of the most powerful worship music of today, and now, for the first time, they release a full-length album recorded live on tour. The album’s title, Starlight, encapsulates the idea that we are like the stars in the sky – not separated from God by distance or darkness. The album leads with strength by Bethel Music’s female artists and guests including Jenn Johnson, Steffany Gretzinger, Amanda Cook, Kristene Dimarco, Kalley Heiligenthal, Melissa Helser, Hannah McClure, and Francesca Battistelli. Bethel Music has set a high standard for its music based on previous albums, and Starlight does not fall short.
“Starlight,” the title track, opens the album with the lyrics, “You’re like starlight in the dark – endless miles can’t conceal You.” Clean electric guitar, keys, and strings fill the song and keep it moving seamlessly from verses, to chorus, to bridge. Beautiful, deep cello leads into the bridge, which says, “There’s no heart unseen - there’s no space between You and I. You are closer than the very oxygen I’m breathing in. You are God with us.” Driving electric guitars lead into a fuller bridge, which then flows into a down chorus. The song ends the same way it begins both lyrically and musically – continuing the feeling of seamlessness.
“Take Courage” speaks to all who feel lost in the waiting. The chorus offers the gentle reminder to “take courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul. He’s in the waiting. Hold on to your hope as your triumph unfolds. He’s never failing.” The music builds as Kristene Dimarco sings out the bridge, “And You who hold the stars, who call them each by name, You’ll surely keep Your promise to me that I will rise in Your victory.” Then the chorus is sung anthem-like – proclaiming truth and encouraging faithfulness even in the waiting. This has to be one of my favorite Bethel songs yet.
The album closes with “You Came (Lazarus).” It is an energetic and victorious song celebrating God’s presence in our lives. The chorus lyrics, “You came. I knew that You would come,” are sung with joy and appreciation, and the energy of the music mirrors that joy. The bridge declares the truth: “You are a miracle working God” over and over, giving space for worshipers to sing those words of truth until they believe it. The song is best summed up with the word ‘celebration’; it is a song that celebrates the presence of God in the past, present, and future, and it praises Him for that.
Starlight conveys a message of hope that God is near in our joy and in our darkness. The songs provide a way for listeners to worship in all seasons of life by proclaiming truth and providing words for moments when they may be hard to find. Bethel Music has yet again released a powerful collection that will have a lasting impact on listeners.