Jesus Culture With Martin Smith: Live From New York
Jesus Culture Music
“Jesus Culture worship was formed organically through the momentum of a movement ….” Interestingly, that self-ascribed description could also work pretty well for the Cutting Edge/Delirious? movement of the early 1990s. An appropriate distinctive when considering former Delirious? frontman Martin Smith joined the Jesus Culture team for their newest release. And the union created a symbolic and an artistic convergence that brought about a momentous worship release: Jesus Culture With Martin Smith: Live From New York. Together with Smith, worship leaders Kim Walker-Smith and Chris Quilala offered a rare experience of worship where thousands of young people boldly professed the gospel of Christ in song, and subtly connected two generations of worship under the banner of Jesus’ name.
The original Cutting Edge Band material was Smith and Delirious? at their most congregational. What he brings to the table here hearkens back to those days, yet with a musical style that meshes well with the Jesus Culture sound and worship-songwriting approach. Truly when Smith writes for worshipers, the result is resplendent. Tracks like “Waiting Here for You” (co-written with Chris Tomlin and Jessie Reeves) and “God Is Coming” (co-written with Tim Hughes) are present on this JCNY and soar in worship artistry. In the new “Song of Solomon” the tones of the late ’90s Bono and The Edge are channeled for a beautiful and fresh offering.
As is typical with a JC release, the track list covers is filled with new songs from both in and outside the team, and one much-appreciated feature is Jesus Culture’s power of interpretation. A highlight of this release is the Walker-Smith/Smith fervency found in “Pursuit” (written by Daniel Bashta). This song captures the power of Jesus Culture and the earnest passion to press in with all our will and emotions to the heart of the Father. And on the content-creation side of the coin Quilala, reminds us of his songwriting capacity offering two solid congregational cuts for you to pull into your service immediately. “Forevermore,” a profession of eternal worship, is a driving and earnest song of praise with an up-tempo, and “Alleluia” is the JC hallmark slow building, 8-minute worship anthem that has helped a new generation pour out their hearts in rapt praise.
Overall JCNY is unique in the Jesus Culture oeuvre because Martin Smith is so present—in a good way. Delirious? fans will be happy with as much as a full CD’s worth of Smith content. And because of that, a slew of old school worshipers (who would have thought Delirious? could be termed “old school”?) will discover Jesus Culture. Overall, the point is not separation; truly this is a complete Jesus Culture album. And Jesus Culture have once again captured the voice of a generation engaging with God in their native tongue where passion, power, intensity and intimacy converge in a musical rhapsodic prayer.