Monday, June 13, 2011

Aaron Keyes: Dwell Review

After four years, Aaron Keyes is back with his second record on Kingsway Records, Dwell. The aptly titled thirteen-track album focuses on fighting the enemy with our praise and waiting on the Lord for deliverance. Aaron’s new project is definitely a must-have worship project of 2011, and is one of the most Scripturally-rich albums I have heard in a while.

Dwell begins with the soft “O My Soul,” sounding much like Chris Tomlin, with more of a pop twist to it. Also containing booming drums, this opening track reminds us to rise and praise our King, and was a simply powerful worship track. The more upbeat “I Am Not the Same,” filled with some creative electric keyboard sounds is very full, speaking of the immense change Christ has made in our lives: “I am not the same/ I’m a new creation/ I am not the same anymore/ I am not ashamed/ I will not be shaken/ I am not the same anymore.”

The keyboard-based “Sovereign Over Us” was gorgeous and builds up perfectly, though the cymbals seemed to interfere just a bit with the track’s fullness. This track, featuring very enjoyable harmonies in verse two, speaks of God’s power, and also borrows lyrics from Jeremiah 29:11. Perhaps most enjoyable about this track is the powerful bridge: “Even what the enemy means for evil/ You turn it for our good/ You turn it for Your good and for Your glory/ Even in the valley You are faithful/ You’re working for our good/ You’re working for our good/ for Your glory!” “Song of Moses” sounding totally Hillsong-like, is Exodus 15 put to beautiful music, and is a powerful anthem that will likely find itself in church song worship lists in the near future.

The title track, “Dwell,” based on Psalm 91, features an enjoyable keyboard background, while the six-minute “In The Name of God” is a slower pop track, and timeless worship prayer. Halfway through the track, a choir in the second chorus was a plus, and helped to keep the track building throughout. The electrifying pop track “Only Just Begun,” is based largely on Ephesians 3:21-22: ”Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” In addition, this track reminds us of His power, stating “no one else can do the things that He can.” Like most of the tracks on Dwell, this track was enjoyable for being Scripturally rooted.

The serene “Sinless Savior” was what I would expect from Hillsong’s Jad Gillies, and speaks of the ultimate sacrifice of Christ. Following is “Life Without My God,” which is a surprising pop track, sounding much like older Newsboys projects, and says that life without God is nothing at all; It speaks of how meaningful God has made our life. Especially enjoyable about this track is its narrative lyrics.

“Raised Me Up” is a flashback to the 90s with its opening vocal harmonies and older piano pop. After a minute, the track progresses more seriously, speaking of how God has raised us up and redeemed us from the enemy. At the same time, however, it retains a creative piano pop beat that makes this both a powerful worship track and a fun song. “Every Knee Will Bow” slows things down significantly, to a mostly piano-based track with a few guitar effects here and there, speaking of that day when every knee will bow down and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Isaiah 45:23, Romans 14:11). The slow, and slightly country sounding track “Hope Is Dawning,” speaks of how Jesus is hope, and is a prayer for more of Jesus in our lives.

The electric, techno track “Lavish” ends Dwell, in what was definitely my favorite from this project and a wonderful ending track. This upbeat track is both fun and worshipful, and definitely the one track from Aaron Keyes’ sophomore project that you will find yourself blasting!

Aaron Keyes’ sophomore project Dwell is definitely one of the best worship projects I have heard in a while. Richly rooted in the Scriptures, the lyrics of this project are a definite highlight, as is the musical variety that kept my attention throughout the whole project. Fans of Hillsong, Chris Tomlin, and Daniel Kirkley will definitely want to pick up this project, and perhaps fans of older Newsboys projects as well. Hands down, Aaron Keyes’ Dwell project is a fantastic worship project!

Rating: 4.5/5
Release date: June 21, 2011

Track listing:
1. O My Soul
2. I Am Not the Same
3. Sovereign Over Us
4. Song of Moses
5. Dwell
6. In the Name of God
7. Only Just Begun
8. Sinless Savior
9. Life Without My God
10. Raised Me Up
11. Every Knee Will Bow
12. Hope Is Dawning
13. Lavish

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