Forget what your Mom said about playing with matches. You're not seven anymore. Strike that match, watch the flame consume the head and dare to wait as it moves, insistently, toward your thumb and forefinger. Sure, you could get burned. But playing it safe is not always best. Without risk, you never fully discover who you areâ€”who you can be.
For Scott Krippayne, a respected, accomplished singer/songwriter, the days of playing it safe are over. After nine years in pursuit of his dream, with five albums and plenty of radio and critical success to mark the path, Scott threw away the rulebook. He and his wife, Katy, moved back home to Seattle, to reestablish their roots before their kids started school. There, Scott jumped off the 'people pleaser' bus. He started running with scissors, talking to strangers, base-jumping from tall buildings and touching breakable things in department stores.*
And perhaps the biggest risk of all, Scott Krippayne began playing with fire. The resultâ€”like an intricate crystal forged repeatedly in a fierce furnaceâ€”his 6th album Gentle Revolution shocks and surprises in its intensity, clarity and depth.
"When I began thinking about this album," Scott says, "I thought 'Wow, this is the fourth of a four record deal, so if this is my last record in this whole CCM thing, I want to go out and give it all I have.' Of course, I've felt that way about every record I've done, but I remember saying on the front side of this one, 'I really want to take some risks on this one, to build a new box. I just wanted to be true to my creative instincts, to my own heart, my own mind."
With Gentle Revolution, Scott and co-producer Kent Hooper explored larger musical territory, inspired by the innovation of bands like Switchfoot, Maroon 5 and pop icons like Sting and Billy Joel. You can still hear the piano-driven pop sound Scott Krippayne has become known for, but the polished pop edge has been burned away, leaving behind a barrage of aggressive guitars fused with an authentic 'live' rock feel. "We operated with a 'no rules, just right' philosophy," Scott says of the musical approach. "We wanted it to be as true musically as it is lyrically, so we agreed to let our mistakes guide us."
Also guiding Scott was the desire to write new songs that reflect his own spiritual journey of the last few years, to be transparent, even at the risk of being not-so-radio friendly.
"The idea behind Gentle Revolution is change," Scott says. "Any revolution means change, and we associate that idea with overthrow, and yet Jesus brought a gentle revolution into the lives of everyone he met. He touched them. He listened to their stories and gave them the truthâ€¦. With some of the songs on this album, thereâ€™s a risk of misunderstanding. People can read a lot into it, if they want. But it's the most honest I've ever been. I'm convicted by these songs every time I sing them..."
From the pounding opener of the title track, which reveals the heart of the album, listeners will hear an urgent relevance in each of the 10 songsâ€”each one about living true to Jesus' words in an ever-changing world.
A riveting picture of the real world, "I Am Jesus," the most aggressive song on Gentle Revolution, speaks to Jesus' words in Matthew 25:45: "Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me." An inescapable message for our times.
"Something Different," the most musically distinctive song on the album, dares to explore the truth that living like Jesus is not the safest way to live: I can't ignore injustice and the tragic human cost / Love should make me radical / worldly incompatible...
"In the Name of God," a powerful ballad co-written with Regie Hamm (whose work has been recorded by Kenny Loggins, Bob Carlisle and many others), is the timeliest song on the album. A song ripe for misinterpretation.
Grand inquisitions / great Holy Wars / Crusade and conquer / Slaughter the Moors / Fighting, fighting / All in the Name of God
"We didn't set out to make a political statement," Scott says. "It's a difficult song, but the message is very important. And I didn't want to not say it just because I didn't want to take any flak for it. â€¦I'm not a pacifist, and I've got friends in Iraq, and yet when I search scriptures and when I look at the life of Jesus, I just don't see that he was about war. We live in a different world, one that will unfortunately involve war, and I will always support those we send.... This song simply admits that 'we mess it up more than we get it right,' and yet there's hope here because God is merciful."
"Renee," a pensive poem-of-a-song that began in a Starbucks in Los Angeles after a brief encounter with celebrity Renee Zellweger, is Scott's attempt to explore the reality behind the myth of fame. "I just started thinking about what life must really be like for her," Scott muses. "She's got to have struggles, and you know at some point she's got to just want to go home and be herself..." If you listen carefully, you'll hear the acoustic piano squeak along, echoing the humanity behind such a glamorous life.
Other songs like Scott's confessional litany in "Lyin," the energetic wake-up call of "Alive Again" and the "blazing beauty" of "Shadow On The Sun," punctuate Gentle Revolutionâ€™s more convicting moments with jolts of encouragement and strength for this journey we call life. Which in itself, Scott says, should center on Jesus' revolutionary way of life.
"If I've learned anything over the past year or two, it's that I've got a long way to go to really make a difference, to be a true follower of Jesus. That's where I've been living lately, trying to sort out what's really important in life and how to represent Christ in the world. ...I can't pretend to know how or if these songs will impact people, but my hope is that Godâ€™s Spirit will reveal what he will to those who will hear."
*Only some of which is true.