I have not made it any secret that I love Mars Hill Church. As such I was excited when I heard that Mars Hill Music was going to start producing their own music and marketing to those outside the church as well as other churches. The EPs from both the Citizens, The Sing Team and Kings Kaledoscope were all very promising and when the Citizens released their self titled album I was very impressed by both the uniqueness of sound and the solidness of the message. So when I heard that Ghost Ship was coming out with an album as well I was curious to get a hold of it and see what it sounded like. I say this because Mars Hill has so much amazing music talent that no one band sounds the same.
I bought the album today from iTunes and have listened to it through three times already. There are so many great songs on the album, but the two stand out sons are “Lion Man” and “Where Were You”. They both are powerful songs both lyrically and musically. But why don’t you read below and pick your own favorites.
Review By Song:
1. Mediator – The album starts off with an upbeat song that really sets the tone for what is to come. With verses full of deep theology set to understandable lyrics even someone that has a base level knowledge of Christianity will understand what work Jesus has done for us. This song was also a good choice to start an album that, for the most part, really slows down after this first song. It grabs your attention in such a way that you are waiting for what comes next.
2. Orion – When the song opens up it is a welcome surprise. A mix of blues and rock meet you from the first chord and you don’t quite know what to expect. The lyrics open with the honest idea that we question God at different times in our lives, but quickly resolves into the knowledge that God is in control. As the song guilds us through the knowledge that pain and questions will happen it keeps reminds us through the chorus that we are small but God is big. That knowledge is enough for the Christian, even when the questions and pain may not be immediately resolved. The song in fact seems to leave us at this truth. Life is hard, but God is good.
3. Lion Man – Next comes a rocky anthem that reminds us that we are, in our sin, in the cross hairs of Gods wrath. However because of the death of Jesus we are saved from it. The songs lyrics paint a clear picture that Jesus takes upon himself the full wrath of God that was meant for us. Because of this we are saved and free. There is no more wrath for us as Christians because Jesus took it all. We are then able to rejoice because what we could not pay has been paid for us. The rocky melody of this song amplifies this truth and pushes the listener towards praise.
4. Jude Doxology – After rocking out we now slow down. With a variety of examples from the Old Testament and New we are told to remember just what Jesus has done for us. This looking back at all the things He has done and continues to do drives us towards worship and praise of Him. The song intertwines this themes to a point where they are compliment each other. You can not have one without the other. When you forget to praise God its because you have forgotten what He has done. Likewise, when you forget what He has done you find no reason to praise. The song reminds us that in the busyness of our world we tend to forget about Gods great gifts and graces. We are drawn back to them through the lyrics and tone of this song. As such we are reminded to praise our great king regardless of what is happening.
5. Son Of David – One of the more unique songs on the album the band chooses to bring to life a story from the Gospel of Luke (Luke 18:35-43). This is tricky to pull off proven by the evidence of other artist that have attempted the same type of thing. Normally the songs go beyond scripture and make up parts of the story that they assume happen. However, Ghost Ship does an excellent job holding to the truth of what happens within the text. They do such a good job that it, as I think it was meant to be, becomes an anthem for those that are spirituality blind to receive their spiritual sight and praise Jesus. It is one of two songs that really raised the bar for the whole album.
6. The Truth – In a world where truth is questioned and almost constantly being changed this song from Ghost Ship claims that there is one absolute truth. The truth that Jesus is King. An upbeat song of praise guilds us through the titles of Jesus as well as what He has done and is doing for us. Much like the “Jude Doxology” we hear of what God is doing with a heavy emphases on His sovereignty. With a number of reference and images that point towards God as the good king that is much difference than the other kings and leaders that we know. This gives us peace and security because we know He is good. He saves us from hell and therefore we praise Him because no one else, even the most powerful leaders on the earth, can do that.
7. Holy, Holy, Holy – Is a great example of what I have come to expect out of Mars Hill Music. Though they are great at writing their own songs that have rich theology and amazing music. They almost always take great old hymns and rework the music to bring them to an audience that have most likely either never heard them or has discounted them because they are classified as a hymn. Ghost Ship does a great job of updating this wonderful old him and even throws a surprise organ jam in at the end.
8. The Gospel – Just like “Truth” this song sets out to do just what the title implies, preach the Gospel. Though it is only barely over three minutes long it preaches the Gospel clear than most sermons do in an hour. It walks the listener through the life of Jesus as well as the implications of his death and resurrection. Pointing out that by his death and resurrection we are saved. It is a simple song yet power song, just like the Gospel.
9. Behold The Lamb Of God – Is a song that walks the listener through the story of unbelief to belief, from simply hearing about Jesus to truly believing in Him. The name of the song that I assume is taken from John 1:29 is a powerful verse that, like the song, invites those that do not believe or follow Jesus to do so. The song is powerful because it is in essence every believers story. Those of us that follow Christ at one time only had heard of the things that He had done, but did not full believe that His acts were true, but now because our hearts have been changed we know that He is the son of God and follow Him without doubt.
10. Where Were You – When you near the end of an album you think you know what to expect, however I was wrong in this particular album. “Where Were You” caught me by surprise and reminded me why my favorite verses in Job are found in chapter 38. Only a few other places in the Bible bring me to a place of fear and worship at the same time. Job chapter 38 is one of those places and this song echos the words found in its verses. This song opens with the writer asking God why there is so much suffering and unrest. God, being faithful, answers the writer by reminding him that he is not God. That he wasn’t there when the earth was made, God was. That he was not there when the oceans were told just how far they could go, but God was. With a number of powerful word pictures Ghost Ship recreates the world of Job 38 and reminds the listener what God reminds Job. We are small, God is big. We may not understand everything going on around us and sometimes are not meant to understand. We are to simply understand that God is in control. It is a needed reminder in a world that urges us to question and doubt everything.
11. What A Friend We Have In Jesus – Just like the song “Holy, Holy, Holy” Ghost Ship takes this classical old hymn loved by many and brings it to those that might have never heard it while at the same time not losing those that cherish it. With a old country church feel they bring the song into an upbeat worshipful melody that allows those that don’t know the word of the song to sing with those that have song it for decades. It was a great way to end an amazing album.