REVIEW BY: Elizabeth Crowder
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/08/2008
One of my favorite artists of all time is Steven Curtis Chapman, a singer, songwriter, and guitarist whose lyrics and melodies are renown throughout Contemporary Christian Music. In his latest offering, This Moment, Chapman succeeds in creating a beautiful acoustic guitar album that combines some different, riskier ideas for background music, which is a pleasant change of pace from so many of the more stodgy CCM artists.
Many will recall the heartbreak that Steven Curtis Chapman and his family suffered in May 2008 when their youngest adopted daughter, Maria, was accidentally struck and killed by one of her brothers driving the family SUV. A tragedy like this is even more emotional when you listen to "Cinderella," a song Chapman wrote about his daughters, who seemed to grow up so quickly right before his eyes. His oldest daughter, Emily, even quoted the song on her blog the day she got engaged, writing, "She came home today with a ring on her hand." The lyrics echo every parent’s realization that it is impossible to know how long your children will be around, and though Chapman had no idea of the pain he would face with the death of his youngest, "Cinderella" is a beautiful tribute to her short life and the lives of so many little ones who are taken so soon.
Life can get busy and chaotic, but Chapman focuses this album on the principle of appreciating each minute -- not only with your children, but with any situation you face. The title track encourages the listener to embrace each experience as something positive, while "Something Crazy" is a love song that is definitely different from many others, stating that you really don't know love "until it makes you do something crazy." Definitely a true statement and a good surprise for this album.
Upbeat in tempo, "Yours" speaks of how no matter where you go in the world, everything belongs to God with lines like "All of creation / This is our Fathers world." Chapman's son, Caleb, joins him on "Children Of God," another song you could imagine listening to on the radio and drumming on your dashboard along with the beat. I am positive in the next five years, "Yours," as well as "Children of God," will be used regularly in contemporary churches during praise and worship time. "With One Voice" also strikes me as a song many churches would use for a missions conference or outreach, as it brings solidarity to different people by unifying everyone in the same faith.
What sets Chapman apart from other artists in my mind is the relevance of his music and the way he is able to shift as time goes by without leaving behind his beliefs. This Moment is far more upbeat than other albums in his catalog, but it still holds the same values and is a fresh look at what we need to approach in our world now. Even "My Surrender," a typical Chapman acoustic track, reminds me of some earlier songs, yet it brings a new slant to the “songs which can be used as prayers” category. I especially appreciate how the songs on this album mix the classic ideas of many Christian albums with more upbeat instrumentation.