Thanks to Melanie Siewert for providing this review for The Worship Community!
Laura Story’s latest album, “Blessings” (released April 12, 2011), has a sweet and tender feel to it. Each song expresses a heart after God’s own heart in a posture of praise and worship. Following the successes of “Indescribable” and “Mighty To Save,” this latest release has some potential of use in worship gatherings. Laura’s style of music in this release has more pop with some piano-driven instrumentation. Although the style falls a little short of the more popular “worship styles” of today, her lyrics in every song cut through with messages and expressions of encouragement, healing, reflection, praise and worship. Here is a break down of each song:
“Remember” is a song of communion. As we celebrate God’s victory at the cross of our Savior, we cry out to the Father, Son and Holy Sprit to help us remember everything the Savior has done. It’s a great message of what we should reflect on as we take communion together. Whether used as a “special” or a corporate worship song, it’s a beautiful ballad that has an appeal to “do in remembrance of” our Savior.
“Prodigal Song” is another retelling of the “prodigal son” in a modern setting from the dad’s perspective. The dad is sitting on the front porch rocking chair eagerly hoping for the return of his lost son with arms still open to receive his son. “And he is watching, and he is hoping, his eyes are weary; his arms are still open” is a tender reminder of how much our heavenly Father desires us to “please come home.”
“One Life to Lose” is a song of surrender, desiring the new life to come and the old life to lose. It is a piano-driven song that expresses the struggle between the flesh and the spirit. We’ll find that when we are lost, that’s when we are found. Stylistically, it has the same feel as many songs on the Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) radio stations.
“Your Name Will Be Praised” is all about Jesus and praising His name. The melody has a nice hook to it. So, it has a versatility that would allow it to be played in various styles and still maintain its powerful worship expression through the lyrics and melody. The entire song expresses attributes of Jesus and why his name will be praised. This would make a great addition to the Sunday morning set lists.
“Blessings” is a beautiful and powerful ballad about how we pray for various blessings, get upset when we think God doesn’t hear us, and yet the Lord provides those blessings in subtle ways unaware to us. In a sense, God’s blessings sometimes become “mercies in disguise.” It’s a great reminder to the listener that when circumstances seem tough to us, it is highly possible God is protecting us from something else. “What if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise” rings so true!
“What a Savior” expresses the attributes of the Christ we serve. The chorus has a powerful hook that could certainly be used in a musical worship setting. Like any good hook, the versatility allows the song in any style and yet still maintains a powerful message of how great our God is, and how wonderful our Savior is.
“Friend of Sinners” is a song of Christ-likeness. It expresses how much we should imitate the Savior having a heart for the broken. Stylistically, it has the same “adult-contemporary” feel to it that we hear on most Christian radio stations. Lyrically, it expresses what our daily Christian living should be; a servant to all.
“This is the Day” starts off with a powerful violin section and keyboard. The message is powerful, pointing to the day of salvation. It expresses the heart of the new believer beginning to live a life of praise because of the work of the cross. A new Christ follower can easily connect with this song because of the nature of the message. “Come let us be glad; come let us rejoice” is a call to all believers to rejoice that people have decided to die to themselves and live in Christ. It reminds me of the parable of the lost coin in Luke 15:8-10. Jesus said, “I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.
Overall, there are a few songs that would work pretty well in the music portion of corporate worship gatherings, and others would work well for a more private and intimate worship setting. Laura Story is a name no one should forget when it comes to worship music. She has a heart after God’s own heart, and it’s evident in her lyrics and her testimony. Her voice is pure like the springtime rains, and her style is so sweet and tender.
For those who musically enjoy the Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) genre, this is a really good group of songs to worship with. For those who enjoy other genres, Laura Story’s lyrics make up for it; the melodic hooks make for easy arrangements of other music styles. Regardless of whether or not you like the CCM genre, melodies and lyrics are the heart of every song. If the message of song meets the message of the heart, try applying some of these songs in your preferred style. A heart after God’s heart is always satisfied, and that’s where we receive his “Blessings.”
Melanie is a Christ follower, wife to a wonderful man of God, and mother of two incredible boys. She has several years experience mentoring high school worship bands, and desires to continually write music for the Lord’s church.
Editors Notes:This CD especially has ministered to me in a unique way. Just recently I went through a really hard trial of betrayal. I listened to the song "Blessings" over and over again to remind myself that this world is not our home! Our ultimate goal is heaven and furthering the Kingdom of God. I hope this CD will bring you as much peace as it has me!