“Beauty will rise” is probably the most personal and emotional album i have ever heard. This album is about the most horrible and devastating thing a parent could happen: losing a child. On 21th of May 2008 this tragic event took place on the driveway of the Chapman home. Maria Sue, the adopted daughter of Steven Curtis and Mary Beth lost her life that day. After this tragedy Steven Curtis didn’t know if he would ever write songs or if he would ever sing again. But then he asked God what good had to come out of all of this that happened to them and what God wanted him to do with it. Shortly after that, songs slowly came pouring out to help him process what he was thinking and feeling and what he and his family were going through. Songs like “Just have to wait” and “Questions” are examples of this process of praying and wrestling with God about what he had to do with all of this. The actual decision to share these songs came after his wife bought him a journal with a picture of Maria on the little button that closes the journal. In it she had written that she knew that Steven had so many things to say and write and that he should fill the journal with his thoughts and their songs and that she knew that he was going to share it and that God was going to use it to minister and heal and comfort hurting people. That was the turning-point. There came some peace knowing that his songs would help heal others. And if you are in a similar situation in your life struggling with the loss of a dear one, you might find hope in these songs, because that is one thing that shines through these songs. Steven refers to the songs as his personals psalms. Songs of lament, pain but also of hope. This time around no big studio production with slick arrangements but an acoustic, raw approach. Normally during the process of making an album Steven would ask for feedback from serveral people, but this time he wanted the songs to be just as they came out. More than half of the songs were recorded on the road during “The United Tour” with Michael W. Smith in places like dressingrooms with just a guitar or a piano. I must say that I shed a few tears after listening to this album, having kids myself. Steven Curtis has always been one of my favourite artists and this album is unique. As said before he has questions how God could let this tragedy happen, but in the end he knows that God is his only refuge and that we can’t see the big picture like He does. So again, if you are in a position like Steven Curtis or if life is a struggle for you then you might find recognition, comfort and hope in this collection of songs. If you are a lover of quality singer/songwriter music then this cd is also for you. One of the best this year.
Melodic Net Comments
This is an extremely poignant album that captures a lot of raw emotions from this grieving singer-songwriter. My only real complaint about it is that a couple of the tunes are somewhat dull. The acoustic approach works brilliantly in most instances, but sometimes it just feels a bit too slow. Certainly a glossy pop production would feel very out of place here, and I think Steven made the right choice about how to do this material. For me, highlights include the incredibly moving "February 20th," which chronicles little Maria's conversion and had me tasting my own tears first time 'round, the title track, "Just Have to Wait," and "Heaven Is the Face." But the whole album is solid, offering a beautifully understated message of hope through suffering. Chapman's strong faith shines throughout, even though he admits to having "Questions" and doubts. The opening lines of "I Will Trust You" find him laying his soul bare before God ("I don't even want to be right now/I don't want to think another thought...") but refusing to be crushed under the weight of his grief as he vows to trust God nonetheless.
This album's message is powerful, and it comes as a breath of fresh air amidst the white-washed ugliness of much of what is being marketed today in CCM. Recommended.