REVIEW OF MEREDITH ANDREWS’ “WORTH IT ALL” ALBUM
What really sets Meredith Andrews apart? For many artists it is just a mere lifetime fantasy to be nominated for the prestigious Dove Award. But for Meredith Andrews she was not just nominated but she won two awards in 2011 -- a mere three years since her debut Word record "The Invitation." Further, she took home two of the most coveted awards: her sophomore album "As Long As It Takes" was named "Worship Album of the Year" and her single "How Great is Your Love" was touted as the 'Worship Song of the Year." Accolades aside, Andrews is also a worship leader at Harvest Bible Church; a mega-church pastored by renowned preacher and author James MacDonald. Thus, besides her own solo records, Andrews has also contributed songs to her church's CD release "Live Worship from the Vertical Church." With only three albums under her belt, of which "Worth it All" is her third, this North Carolina native is already esteemed as one of the leading worship leaders ranking high up there with Christy Nockels, Darlene Zschech, Nicole Nordeman and Kim Walker-Smith. So, what makes really sets Andrews apart? Is it because she has surrounded herself with an A-Team of collaborators? Though this release was helmed by Paul Mabury (who has also produced for Hillsong United and Darlene Zschech) and a red carpet of songwriters (such as Mia Fieldes, Jason Ingram, Stu G and Ben Glover), it is still not the personnel that is the secret ingredient to Andrews' uniqueness. Or is it because she has the right promotion and management? Definitely being signed to Word Records, one of Christian music's biggest imprints helps. But still stories of major projects with a hefty backings tanking abound. So, what really sets Meredith Andrews apart? It is simply the fact that this worship leader is a living example of someone who has tasted the goodness of the Almighty God. And she has the giftedness of testifying about this transformation in songs that are palatable and memorable.
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Take a listen to these 11 songs here and you will be able to tell the difference. While many artists are reticent to mention the name of Jesus and scriptural truths are only shaded in typologies and echoes, Andrews bares her soul for Jesus without any wink of integument or apology. Take the title cut "Worth It All" as a prime example; here Andrews is willing to abandon everything for Jesus as she sings: "Jesus everything I've lost/I've found in you/When I finally reach the end, I'll say/You are worth it all." To the un-regenerated this is excessive hyperbole; but to those whose hearts have been wooed by Christ, this is worship at its purest. Do not let the soft balladry backings of "Burn Away" take away from the song's spiritual muscular message where Andrews prays stridently that God would remove not some - but all ungodliness-- from her life. It takes a strong spiritual Iron-woman to flex such faith-induced prayers. And even when such absolute abandonment to Jesus does not reap immediate dividend, Andrews reminds us on "Your Kingdom Reigns" that we can still trust Him. Pause and listen to her passionate cry especially when she comes to the chorus-you can hear that Andrews really believes in such self-sacrifice in the light of God's indestructible kingdom.
Andrews not only is extravagant in her self-offering to Jesus; but she also basks joyously in God's lavish grace. "Strong God," with its slow rocking beat and a crescendo-building melody, is such an example. Mia Feldes who wrote Hillsong's "It's Your Love" and co-wrote Audrey Assad's "Even the Winter" has co-written two of this album's finest ballads: the piano and strings-led ballad "Not for A Moment" and the slow burning torch "All I Ask." "Not for a Moment," in particular, is one of those faith building songs that warmly assures us of God's abiding presence. The faint of heart will want to avoid album "Open up the Heavens." Here Andrews calls not for a glimmer of God's presence but like God who would render the havens open at
the baptism of Jesus, here heaven is ripped asunder as God's presence comes into our worship on this glorious worship anthem.
Do not miss the album's penultimate cut "The Gospel Changes Everything." Co-composed by Paul Mabury, Benji Cowart and Andrews herself, this is the song that unveils the secret behind such tenacious trust in God. Such faith can never be conjured by our own strength; rather, it is the gift of God made possible by the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Coming back to our question again: what really sets Meredith Andrews apart? If you listen to this album carefully, it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And this is what will also set you and me apart for His glory.
See Meredith Andrews' photos here
Read our interview with Meredith Andrews here.
Meredith Andrews "Worth it All" Full Lyrics and Story Behind the Song [Video]
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