Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sixteen Cities Review

On April 20th, 2010, Centricity music debuted the Oregon-based Sixteen Cities. With their self-titled album, Sixteen Cities makes a name for themselves while directing all the glory back to God. Through creative music and encouraging lyrics, the band edifies fans in their walk with Jesus.

This eleven-track record starts off strongly with “Just Wanna Dance,” a track remarking how easy it used to be to believe that God was near, and a desire to turn back: “When I was young I had no fear/ it wasn’t hard to know that You were near/ I gotta get back and find the wonder of it all/ like the heart of a child and never doubt my Father’s call/ I just wanna dance/ I just wanna dream/ I just wanna run back to the way it used to be/ I gotta believe/ You are the same unchanging God That made me free.” Track two is a similar-sounding, yet creative track thanking God for the freedom we have through Him, and how He rescued us from ourselves: “You save me/ save me from myself/ ‘cause there is no one else I’d lean on/ You save me/ You save me from myself/ There is no one else to set me free.” And with track three, “Sing Along,” the band finds their first radio single. This song, one of the highlights of the album for me, speaks of God’s wondrous creation, and how it all diverts attention back to God: “I love the way the stars shine for You/ And every single mountain bows down/ I love the way the universe is singing Your song/ So I’ll try to sing along.”

“Pray You Through,” track four on Sixteen Cities debut album, and the main highlight for me, is a gorgeous, piano-based track about surrounding a friend in prayer. And as the band’s lead singer says, sometimes praying is all you can do for someone who is going through a difficult situation. The track offers these encouraging lyrics: “I’m all out of words/ There’s nothing I could say to you/ to take away the hurt/ so let me pray you through.” Immediately thereafter comes “Only After You,” likewise a slower track. This song is a “love song” to Jesus; but unlike many modern Christian love songs, this one stands out as one directed only to Him. I found the highlight to be the bridge: “You have it all/ You have it all/ My heart wants is You.”

Track six, “Come As You Are,” is a track from God to His children encouraging to come to Him just as they are, and He will welcome them with open arms: “You can come as you are/ You can never fall too far/ You can run to My arms/ and I will heal your broken heart/ Come as You are.” But, as with “Only After You,” the bridge speaks a thousand words of inspiration: “Come to Me and I will love you more than you have ever known/ Come to Me and I will take you places you have never been before/ I love you more.” This track is then followed perfectly by “Innocent,” written to God to thank Him for making us innocent, even though we are clearly guilty, and don’t deserve it: “And You say to me that I’m already innocent/ And I can’t believe You take me as I am/ And I’m on my knees begging for forgiveness/ I know I’m guilty but You make me innocent.”

“Captured by Your love” picks up the speed and is similar in sound and lyrics to “Save Me From My Myself,” except for the unique keyboard effects. Sixteen Cities’ unique vocals are manifested in this track: “I fall down on my face/ I’m reaching up for Your grace/ You are the only one who can save me/ save me from myself/ I’m gonna need Your help/ Take me and break me/ Until I stand before You, holy/ I can’t get enough/ I’m captured by Your love.” “Someone’s Work of Art” is on the slower side, but offers extremely encouraging lyrics. This track is written to someone who feels like they are no longer wanted or cared for, and lets them know that they are: “Someone’s work of art/ just the way you are/ and you’re shining like the stars tonight/ all the pieces of your heart/ and all the lovely scars/ are someone’s work of art.”

“Bleeding for You” is another track that I enjoyed the unique piano and beat. This track is also written to someone who feels alone: “You are more than a heart simply beating/ If only you knew/ You can have this love that is bleeding/ bleeding for you.” The bridge offers hope with these lyrics: “Cut up and bruised/ still thinking of you/ love pouring out of His side/ nailed to a tree you were all He could see/ all to bring you life/ love is bleeding for you/ this Love is bleeding for You.” “Bleeding for You” is followed by the mostly keyboard track “Winter,” a track of loneliness, asking God to deliver us: “’Cause I’ve been searching for the sun/ but I don’t know if anyone/ can tell me how to find my way home/ All the things that I’ve become/ are all the things I’m running from/ I don’t want my heart to turn to stone/ This cold has been so bitter/ Can you save me from this winter?” This peaceful track sums up the message, lyrics, and music presented in Sixteen Cities debut album excellently. Its outstanding harmonies are an extra bonus.

When I first heard about Sixteen Cities, I expected a great album, but this surpassed all my expectations. I fell in love with every track at once. In addition, the ministry and insight that the band has to offer increase the greatness of the band. There is no hesitation in rating this album a five star CD! I have never heard a better debut album. This CD is one that every person should add to his Christian music collection.

Get it today at sixteencities.com!

Also see Jay’s interview with lead singer Josiah Warneking!

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