Review Rating: Must Listen! (4.5 / 5)
"It’s the first time I’ve done a studio album," Kim Walker-Smith expressed in a recent interview, "outside of the Christmas album and mine and my husband’s album. So it was a very different experience for me." Thus, there's a noticeable, refreshing quality to the worship leader's latest collection, On My Side, that speaks for itself. It's a twelve-track album filled with moments of worship, praise, reflection, and glory, capturing so much with a mix of vibrant instruments and honest lyrics. Packed with powerful moments and a refreshing sincerity, On My Side is a must-listen.
The opening track, "Brave Surrender," introduces the album with a calm yet moving atmosphere. Keyboard notes take the forefront while slight hints of clapping accent the verses - it's a track that draws listeners into a comfortable yet honest place. After all, the track's chorus gives the reason for the title: "I'm letting go, brave surrender, I'm taking hold of life eternal." Kim's beautiful and passionate vocals drive the song, making "Beautiful Surrender" an excellent start to the collection.
Farther along is the grand and majestic "Throne Room." The melody perfectly fits the themes of the song, creating a massive sound fueled by keyboard notes and echoing percussion. The verses are calm while the choruses pick up in tempo, volume, and intensity. It's a worship song through and through, painting a picture of a sample of the majesty of the King of kings. "And I fall on my face, with angels and saints and all I can say is 'Holy, Holy, Holy, Hallelujah!'" Kim sings, drawing inspiration from verses in Revelation. The song is beautiful and regal, definitely standing out within the album.
There is a transition that carries out with "Interlude," eventually leading into "On My Side." The melody transitions to piano keys and vibrant strings, a noticeable and welcome contrast to earlier tracks. The song is slower and more contemplative, a walk through the bright and dark moments of a life that never once lacked God's presence. Kim sings of His faithfulness in good and bad, how He stands for His children and not against. The song is beautiful, both melodically and thematically.
In a recent interview, Kim expressed the lengthy writing process behind "You Define Me," a track that reflects the need for God's word in our lives. Amidst the upbeat keyboard, drums, and hints of electric guitar, the themes come through loud and clear. The song is bright and joyful, a fantastic follow-up to its slower and calmer predecessor. Kim's vocals clearly project her confidence in her God-given identity - "Only Your words define me, You tell me who I am … You make me who I am, You define me." Most certainly, her hard work as a songwriter and singer pay off - "You Define Me" is a unique, enjoyable, and encouraging track.
All in all, On My Side is a fantastic album. Kim's sincerity and refreshing passion shine clearly through each and every track, making each song a worthwhile listening experience. Where beautiful melodies collide with powerful lyrics, these songs describe the beauty and majesty of Christ. Whether an eager fan or a new listener to Kim's music, On My Side is most certainly worth a full listening.