The movie, Bright Ones, is coming to a theater near you, featuring a memorable soundtrack, crafted by inspired writers and worshipers. The title track, written by Steffany Gretzinger, Amanda Lindsey Cook, and Bobby Strand of Bethel Music, is the epitome of great songwriting and arranging. The liveliness and smooth lyrical prose are dynamic and downright grooving. Smart verses are a defining characteristic of each track. “Get Your Hopes Up” pairs accessible, but interesting lyrics with a certain vivacity that truly does make the listener feel somewhat elevated, such as, I see the sun waking up the morning reviving dreams. I feel the wind on my back with promise reminding me.
With the listener already pulled to the edge of what seems like new territory in worship and praise music, other tracks possess a relentless and intrigue that keeps them there. “You’re Gonna Be OK” is crafted around syncopated beats and sounds that are mesmerizing and hypnotic, alongside vocoded changes of pace with European sensibilities that pay homage to festival flare.
“No Longer Slaves” is arguably one of the best tracks of the year and a standout on this collection. This pulsating rollercoaster ride of a song possesses both relevance and meaning, while showcasing powerful vocals and penetrating lyrics that never get lost in the fray.
The album is seasoned with a techno-vibe that is convincing, authentic and fresh, along with a funky lyrical tapestry and sonic overtones and undercurrents that are absolutely addictive. “We Dance” is quite the understated, yet arresting tune, percolated with finger pops and toxic beats that may set a new standard on approaching soundtracks, driving listeners to the theater to see what they’re hearing, much like Footloose did over three decades ago.
Every great album is only as good as its pacing. This one nails it, striking a balance of tempo and dynamic, building in space and time for the audience to breathe, focus and truly connect with what they’re hearing, while never letting them go. “Let My Life” hearkens to a choral sound that may seem even a bit nostalgic, but is cleverly arranged with ebbs and flows that ultimately build with full glorious anticipation and “ceaseless praise.” “Never Gonna Stop” is another peppy tune that is unassuming until you take in the lyrics and realize that this entire project is something special, and goes beyond genre labels like pop and dance, breaking new ground along the way. “Spirit Move” and “Magnetic” are just as engaging with “For the One” written by Jenn Johnson and Paul McClure adding another layer of lyrical complexity that is the perfect set up for the rock-driven final cut, “I Will Tell Nations.” Vacillating between anthem and pop finesse, it leaves you satisfied and delightfully wonderstruck.
The Bethel music team got this album right from start to finish with a myriad of singers and songwriters. What’s more, this soundtrack serves the movie well, providing momentum and relevance while showcasing an unquenchable fire for excellence. Give this album a listen and go out and watch Bright Ones and see what the commotion is about. Bright Ones is well worth the ride with this five-star talent fest!
Top Songs: “Bright Ones” and “Get Your Hopes Up”
Most Singable: “You’re Gonna Be OK” and “No Longer Slaves”
Strongest Biblical Content: “I Will Tell Nations”
The Whole Package: “Never Gonna Stop” and “We Dance”
Darryl Bryant Rating: 5/5 Stars
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Former General Manager of the Santa Fe Screenwriting Conference, MFA in Creative Writing, PhD student at Grand Canyon University. Darryl has been exposed to all genres of music having grown up in a musical family and touring the country. He studied sound engineering with Stephen English at Sound Factory recording studio, and has worked with Leon Patillo, Randy Stonehill, Michael Card, Roby Duke, and Kathy Tracolli.