REVIEW OF JEREMY CAMP’S “RECKLESS” ALBUM
Jeremy Camp's "Reckless" is expensive.This is not a reference to the cost of downloading this album.Rather, the disc comes with a hefty message that might cost us our lives.How much do we price Jesus in our lives?Are willing as Camp challenges us to become "reckless" for Jesus?Are we willing to give up our greatest enjoyment - be it our homes, our kids, our jobs, our retirement plans, our daily routines and even our lives-for Christ?For Camp himself, music is his greatest treasure.Ever since his debut, he has released 8 albums, 5 of them turned gold (i.e., each of them selling over half a million copies), 2 live albums, 1 Christmas recording, 1 Grammy Nomination, 5 Dove Awards and 32 No. 1 Radio hits. Is he prepared to price Jesus over all of these accolades and equity?He humbly gives us the answer in the title cut of his 8th non-festive album "Reckless:""I'll lay my life down and give it up/I'll give it up-I will not be afraid to surrender my way to follow who you are/I want to be reckless."And such bold acclamations are not just mere rhetoric; rather, they come out of a personal testimony where Camp has had to lay down may of his hurts, questions, and disappointments before God.Those who have acquaintance with this Indiana native know that in 2000 Camp married his first wife Melissa well knowing that she was dying of ovarian cancer and only to have her leave this earth a few months after their nuptials.Two years or so later, Camp found his second wife Adrienne, and tragedy continues to roll when they lost their child during their pregnancy.Yet, through these plaintive moments where many a lesser faith would have given up, Camp soldiered on in the perseverance of God's faithfulness.Thus, investing these 11 songs with his own personal journey, there is a sense of glowing heartfelt credibility that makes "Reckless" a Godly record that deserves wide circulation.
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At the nerve center of the record is the aforementioned title cut and single"Reckless."Already zooming up the Christian chart, "Reckless" is a classic Camp rock track with melody kitsch to be another radio hit.More important than the commercial sheen is the message: inspired by Acts 14 where Paul returns to Lystra after he was suffered persecuted there before; Camp challenges us to be "reckless" for Jesus even if it means persecution and pain are in the foreground.Such sacrifice is utter daftness if it were not for the love of God which is the theme of "The Way You Love Me" where Camp sings, "Because of all the love you showed, I will give my life away.""My God" (not the Chris Tomlin hit) continues on in the same similar theme without the same arresting appeal as "The Way You Love Me."Speaking of Tomlin, "We Must Remember" sounds like a great Tomlin worship ballad, slowing building with a Godly intensity through the swirling curls of the electric guitar before an explosive chorus calling us to remember the redemptive work of the Cross.
One of the greatest allure of this CD is the emotional transparency of Camp.Camp doesn't just sing about holiness, you could sense he truly wants to be close to God.This is most evident in the violin-laced ballad "Reign in Me" and the Casting Crown-like ballad "Without You."Yet, Godly intimacy is never self-keeping.Rather, the closer one is to God, the great he or she wants to share that intimacy.And we see such an overflow of love on the anthemic "We Need" which functions as a prayer to be "have a heart for the hopeless/Reaching the places unspoken." Though less pointed than "We Need," "Shine" is a call to shine for Jesus in our dark world.Lyrically the song may not fill any lacuna but the enormously rhythmic structure, the urgency of the staccato of drums and Camp's on-fire delivery really drive home the message again to our hearts.
If there is any tooth to pick, it's that the record is pretty ironic:though entitled "Reckless," musically it is pretty safe and predictably Jeremy Camp.It is loud, engaging and so typical of his previous records.This is not bad but one would wish Camp would break out a little from his hit-forming mold sometimes.Nevertheless, if you have loved Camp for his previous efforts, "Reckless" will not disappoint.
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