Review of Aaron Shusts new Album
Aaron Shust has graciously asked us at WMC and GCP to review his new album.
His sound on the new album You Redeem is anthemic, and echoes that of Cold Play. The musical choices are similar in their sound to that which is so pervasive in music today.
Let’s consider however, the lyrical strength that soars over the musical atmosphere created in his song “You Redeem,” for example. Shust’s latest single, warrants consideration lyrically. His words carry some theological strength, and provide some hope for those deeply struggling. Consider the verses:
Poverty loses its grip
Race can no longer divide
Wherever your spirit is
Every darkness dies
Freedom is here with us
Burdens will fall like chains
Beauty will rise from the dust
All that’s lost will be regained
Mercy will pour down like rain
Justice will come for the weak
Lies that were meant to defame
Will be crushed by the truth that you speak
These lyrics provide confidence for the church, while still focusing on injustice. They echo the flavor of the Imprecatory Psalms in the Book of Psalms, and give God’s church a language to express victory in places of heartache and oppression.
The language of struggle is fast disappearing in the CCM songs of today, and yet these words of struggle are so prevalent in the hymnody of our church history. It is great to see a contemporary artist anchoring into some of the roots of our rich history, Aaron notes the reality of faith’s wrestling between vice and victory.
Consider the similar hymn lyric from From the Depths of Woe penned by Martin Luther:
From depths of woe I raise to Thee
The voice of lamentation;
Lord, turn a gracious ear to me
And hear my supplication;
If Thou iniquities dost mark,
Our secret sins and misdeeds dark,
O who shall stand before Thee?
To wash away the crimson stain,
Grace, grace alone availeth;
Our works, alas! are all in vain;
In much the best life faileth:
No man can glory in Thy sight,
All must alike confess Thy might,
And live alone by mercy.
Therefore my trust is in the Lord,
And not in mine own merit;
On Him my soul shall rest, His Word
Upholds my fainting spirit:
His promised mercy is my fort,
My comfort, and my sweet support;
I wait for it with patience.
What though I wait the livelong night,
And till the dawn appeareth,
My heart still trusteth in His might;
It doubteth not nor feareth:
Do thus, O ye of Israel’s seed,
Ye of the Spirit born indeed;
And wait till God appeareth.
Though great our sins and sore our woes,
His grace much more aboundeth;
His helping love no limit knows,
Our utmost need it soundeth.
Our Shepherd good and true is He,
Who will at last His Israel free.
From all their sin and sorrow.
Like this hymn of our past, Shust hits the chorus with a profound answer to our woes:
You redeem, You redeem
You restore what’s been stolen from me
You reclaim, You release
You rebuild with the words that You breathe
Where many “worship songs” today are cathartic at best, self-centered, and centered around processing our inward world (the world of “me”), this song catapults us into God’s throne room and centers our attention on the work of the Lamb that was Slain. He redeems. Not only does he save us when he gives us a new heart, but he saves us still. Aaron’s lyrics say the word “will” in most of the phrases. Aaron clearly recognizes that all our struggles may not resolve today, but that God is keeping us, preserving us, and sustaining us, even in the sometimes strenuous waiting period in this “Time between Times”—the time before every tear is finally washed away as Christ’s kingdom descends and takes reign on earth.
Consider today, additively, how “God’s words rebuild us.” Each and everyday, the Word in the Scriptures, and the person of Jesus, is the source to which we look for healing and redemption, as we move closer and closer to his coming again. We hang our hat not on a list of do’s or do not’s—that’s religion, and Christ hates religion—nor on whatever fits our fancy—that’s the work of rebellion, and Christ hates rebellion—but we trust in a God who gives us freedom enough to face our pain and battles with hope solely in the fact that HE REDEEMS, REMAKES, and RECLAIMS all that is lost.