Kim Walker-Smith 'Still Believe' Album Review
Prime Cuts: Still Believe, Healing Oil, Miracle Maker
Kim Walker-Smith knows how to keep it trim and lean. Whilst many contemporary worship acts consummately packaged their records with an overabundance of songs tagged on with a deluxe version bursting with bonus tracks, remixes, acoustic and live versions, this is not the case with Walker-Smith's latest release "Still Believe." It only has 9 cuts or 8 to be precise (as there is a repeat of "Spirit Break Out"). Further, out of the 8 songs, half of them are covers. Nevertheless, it's still a little more buff up compared to her debut solo record which only had 5 songs proper with the rest of the disc being interludes of spontaneous worship. Considering such an anorexic of song numbers, is this album worth purchasing? The short answer is yes. What you get from "Still Believe" is more than just a record. This is an intense worship experience captured on disc. As worship leader of Jesus Culture and worship pastor of Bethel Church, Kim Walker-Smith has had caused many youths and young adults to sell out their souls to Jesus. And this did not happen surreptitiously. Walker-Smith has a way of using very simple worship songs-often conversational in language without a myriad of theological jargons and mixed metaphors -backed with her explosive voice to lift our hearts' cries to God in honesty and reverence. Such a simple but Spirit-filled template has stirred up such regenerations among young people that some have even drawn parallels between this and the New England revival of yore. "Still Believe," Walker-Smith's first solo album in 5 years, is the much anticipated follow-up to her highly successful "Here is My Song." If you are familiar with the repertoire of Jesus Culture, there are no surprises here. This is a set of slow burning modern worship ballads of abandonment to God with absolute no detours to issues of secondarily importance.
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The songs here are tied around the theme of a greater desire to see God at work in greater measures through healing, miracles and intervention into our lives. Walker-Smith has no time for small and lesser things, and this is expressed in her self-penned title cut "Still Believe." She goes straight to the blood of Christ professing her simple trust in Jesus on "Still Believe" before inviting us to join at the altar in worship. But such only probes the surface of engaging the divine; on the Walker-Smith co-written "The King Has Come" this Jesus Culture leader stares at the face of Jesus the Divine Lion as he makes his way step by step towards us. Starting off slow and taking her time to build and build into a crescendo of magnificent praise, "The King Has Come" is so majestic that it is indeed worthy of the King of Kings. Also, a co-write of Walker-Smith is "Yield My Heart"-though it does not has that epic building sensation as the former tracks it's still a soothing heartfelt devotional ballad worthy of worshipping with.
As few as the tracks are, there are actually four covers. But lest one dismiss these covers as a exercise of slothfulness, we need to remember that Walker-Smith is a great interpreter of songs. Let us not forget that she has had one of the most definitive renditions of John Mark McMillan's "How He Loves" attracting at least 1.2 million viewers on YouTube. This time round Walker-Smith has chosen to tackle 4 less familiar covers: the first of which is Chris McClarney's "Waste It All." Taken from McClarney's "Defender" album, Walker-Smith's take is more mainstream pop with a more lushful orchestral backing than the original soft rock version. But she does perk up to the dance floor with Delirious' catchy burner "Miracle Maker" and she teases out with some of the most thoughtful nuances of Tim Hughes' "Spirit Break Out." But the best among the quartet of covers is Chris Lizotte's "Healing Oil." Initially recorded by Crystal Lewis on her signature record "Beauty for Ashes," it is the perfect choice for an album that eagerly begs for God's breakthrough. Though there are echoes of Lewis' nuances still present in Walker-Smith's take she truly hits a new height with the way she lets her soaring soprano ride with the highs and lows of this Spirit-drenched ballad.
"Still Believe," like all of Jesus Culture records, is modern worship at its best. It is inhibited in its backing, youth in its approach, simple in its language, passionate in its delivery and more importantly it is so contagiously heartfelt that you can't help but warm up in worship too. "Still Believe" is more than a record it's an experience; and one not to be missed.
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