Saturday, September 24, 2011

Matt Papa: This Changes Everything Review

What is it that changes everything? Matt Papa, creator of the radio single “Open Hands,” wants you to know that what changes everything is not a musical masterpiece, it’s the fact that Jesus rose again from the dead for our sins and now we can live forever! His 13-track This Changes Everything is based on just that. But Matt Papa is not only a great singer/songwriter; he’s a preacher/singer. Listening to his music is a wonderful experience, as you will catch Bible passages knit together into an incredible album. Each individual track is a treasure that, when opened, is encouraging, thought-provoking, and uplifting.

“Our Sovereign God” meets a music/lyrics perfect match, speaking of the splendor of God and His power, while the triumphant music is perfect for the opening track. “One Thing,” more slow and thought-provoking, gives specific instances of people who have given up everything to follow Christ, and the catchy pop pre-chorus asks, “What would make a man so bold/ make a woman lay her own life down/ only one thing…” and answers it with Christ! “Jesus Christ, magnified all over the world/ lifted high, glorified/ all over the world…”

“It is Finished,” very timeless, builds strongly by the chorus, based on Jesus’ final words on the cross (“It is finished/ it is done/ to the world Salvation comes/ Hallelujah, We're alive/ hell was silenced when You cried/ it is finished…”) and speaks of the aftermath – the veil of the temple being torn. But the climax can be heard on the powerful bridge: “Through all generations His voice will be heard/creation's resounds the victorious words!” Following, the rock anthem “Jesus is Lord” is a bold statement of faith, that Jesus is our Lord, and speaks of His power and majesty once more.

As can be expected, the title track is slower and sobering with a slight country twist, speaking of how many people miss the main point of the gospel: that Jesus is ALIVE! Matt Papa contemplates this truth, with lyrics that will definitely resonate with the listener: “If this is true, this changes everything/ If this is real, I've got to tell the world/ If He is God, then I've got choice to make/ If I believe, then I must follow Him.” Next, fun musically, “What are We Waiting For?” is quite serious lyrically, speaks of how most of us ignore the Great Commission, waiting for a message in the sky or a sign before we go. But as the song asks, “If Jesus is Lord, what are we waiting for?” It encourages the listener to get out and obey God’s command rather than staying put.

“Have I Forgotten,” mostly piano but not boring, sounds hymn-like speaking of the times we put down the cross we are supposed to carry and forget about it. It is a timeless prayer that we would never forget what Christ has done for us, and that He would give us strength to carry our cross each day. Next, “I Want to Be A Child Again” is based on Matthew 18:1-3, a prayer that Jesus would give us faith like a little child and help us believe in Him again.

“Stay Away From Jesus” may have a confusing title at first, but the stand-out lyrics state that if you want to stay in your comfort zone, then you must stay away from Jesus, who calls us to pick up our crosses, leave everything, and follow Him. Musically, the track is catchy, and I really hope to see this track have a lasting impact on those who call themselves Christians but refuse to do as He asks. The southern-rock flavored “The Lord is A Warrior” is based on Exodus 14, a song of praise for His deliverance in time of trouble.

“O Fount of Love” is a wonderful hymn, and listening to the gorgeous worship-track build was certainly enjoyable, while “The Glory of God” puts Revelation 4 to words, speaking of the end of time when we will see Jesus shine in splendor and glory. This Changes Everything ends with “Amen,” an acoustic guitar track, speaking of confusion in life, and remembering that no matter what things look like, we can find the answer in saying “amen” to God’s word.

This Changes Everything is very thought-provoking, but raises great issues untouched by much of Christian music. Matt Papa isn’t afraid to speak the Word of God, whether or not the listener is uncomfortable or agrees whole-heartedly. In addition, the album features timeless tracks of worship and adoration to God, making for a full, lyrically-rich album and definitely features gorgeous music in addition!

Rating: 4/5
Release date: August 16, 2011

Track listing:
1. Our Sovereign God
2. One Thing
3. It is Finished
4. Jesus is Lord
5. This Changes Everything
6. What are We Waiting For
7. Have I Forgotten
8. I Want to Be A Child Again
9. Stay Away from Jesus
10. The Lord is A Warrior (featuring Shai Linne)
11. O Fount of Love
12. The Glory of God
13. Amen

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