The Name of Love: Album Review
Mark Peterson combines Biblical lyrics and musical diversity in his latest album
The sound of music
Think about how incredible music is – someone records an album, you hit play, and suddenly your whole head is filled with words and feelings and sounds. Of course, you can fill your head with rubbish ... or you can let the message about Christ dwell in you richly (Colossians 3:16). I don’t think we should only listen to Christian music, but it’s definitely worth getting some on your ipod.
Mark Peterson has given us some incredible songs already – ‘See Him Coming’ is in the top 100 sung every Sunday in churches all around Australia.
This new album continues this top form, giving us six great new songs as well as five killer arrangements of old hymns like ‘Stand Up’ and ‘Holy Holy Holy’. The songs are built for church singing, but the album is designed to be enjoyed on your own as well.
The Bible set to music
What I love about Mark’s stuff is that his songs are dripping in thoughts straight from the Bible (as in the new version of ‘Psalm 103’), and reflections on biblical themes in new and striking ways (as in the haunting ‘Where Are the Words’).
Stylewise, the sound is reasonably diverse. The first half of the album has a strong whiff of early 2000s electronica, with the generous vocal reverb and familiar bleeping synthesizer sounds of ‘In the Name of Love’ and ‘Our Glorious King’. These faded away when the solo piano of ‘Have You Believed’ and the band tracks (recorded live at a Katoomba Men’s Convention in Sydney) took over in the latter half of the album, leading me to suspect that Mark’s own sound lies slightly under the surface. The most authentic moments were when the melodic piano lines, performance-art guitars and powerful rhythm section were left to speak for themselves.
This is another example of the high quality songwriting we’ve come to expect from Mark Peterson. I’m excited about his experimentation with different sounds, and new arrangements of old hymns. Fill your head (and your iPod) with this!
(I should declare here that, the Christian music scene being a small place, I know Mark and others involved in making this record. I’ve tried to be as objective as possible.)