MISHAWAKA—Chris Renzema’s release of Sept. 3, 2021, blends the many styles of folk, indie rock, and Contemporary Christian Music. He has worked with Hank Bentley before on his second album and Bentley has returned to work on this album as well. This album is composed of unique-sounding songs, which speaks to his versatility as an artist. While this is not a congregation-focused worship music, this album provides music that many can lament to God with and praise Him too.
My pseudo-music speak will be a little focused on the lyrics this time because when it comes to Contemporary Christian Music, that is what matters the most.
Hope Or Nostalgia- Near the end of the song, there are big hits with the drums, which bring the album to a dramatic beginning, making me excited for the rest of it.
Get Out of the Way of Your Own Heart- This song finds a way to call to the listener in a way that makes them feel like a mentor or a counselor is helping them give grace to themselves.
Old Dreams- The lyrics point to letting go of what does not matter, old dreams, when there is something better.
Just As Good (feat. Ellie Holcomb)- Though our faith falters, God remains the same God through it all. Holcomb provides great harmony on this song, giving this song an extra 10 percent.
No Room For An Anxious Heart- This song, specifically, means a lot for those who struggle with anxiety. It shows there is peace to be provided by God when the fear sets in.
Without You-The keyboard at the onset of this song provides a great vibe from the get-go, and the hi-hats on the offbeats control that vibe throughout the song.
No Body (feat. Matt Maher)- This has more of a folk influence, sounding like a traditional hymn. It is a slow song placed strategically in the album order.
Stronger Love (feat. Leeland)- The repeated phrase in this song is something everyone needs to hear and implement in this day and age.
Old Friend- Containing an infectious bassline near the 40 second mark, the song moves from there to one to listen to multiple times.
Heart Soul Blood Bone- The end of song gives room for a reflection on the need for connection we crave.
The Right Things- Another well placed ballad with catchy hooks to pull the listener. The bridge requires another listen.
Blessed Are Those Who Follow You- This is a song based on the beatitudes from Matthew 5, containing a harmonica solo.
Leave A Light On- For the mix of this song, his voice feels close and centered with the rest of instruments in the background. It is unique in its function.
Only The Good Die Young- This is a powerful statement on faith, supported by a string section.
Hard Drugs- This a metaphor for those sins many deal with: hate, anger, greed.
For his second album, there is talk of growth with his single off the album, Springtime. When it comes to this album, his third one, I feel it explores the pain of growing up he experienced in his previous album. In his song, Only The Good Die Young, he talks of the ages when he questions his faith, remembering his faith as a child. I believe this a good example of continuity in his discography as well as good songwriting. Click here to check out a music video of Old Friend.