by Sam Robinson
Atlanta-based pop/rock outfit The Museum is ready to drop What We Stand For – their third studio album on BEC Recordings. Following on from 2010’s Let Love Win and 2012’s My Only Rescue, this is a release containing a bunch of worshipful songs that could be enjoyed independently, or used congregationally.
Lead singer and songwriter Ben Richter felt compelled to craft this album around a purpose, and it is reflected in the title – What We Stand For. What is it that Christians are to unite together to work towards? Ben believes Micah 6:8 – ‘act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God’ – is the answer. We are on a constant walk with Jesus, and as he has saved us from our sin and death, we now live for him in everything as God grows us to be more like him.
What We Stand For opens with soft acoustic number I Will Love You. To me this sounded like a reflective song that might be placed at the end of an album, but here it is used to set the scene of God’s faithfulness, which is ever-present, even when we run from him. Always Yes picks up the pace, it’s a knee-slapping good time that continues the theme of the first track: ‘Faithful is our God!’ When we respond to God and all he has done for us, we cry ‘Yes!’
Forever and Ever is church-congregation-ready and even segues into the classic hymn Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow. The band’s amps are turned up on Your Love Never Fails as we’re reminded that God’s love doesn’t change – it’s constant and isn’t dependant on how we’re feeling. I was particularly encouraged by the humility behind Give Me Faith – it acknowledges that everything comes from God – that he is the one that softens our hearts, gives us understanding, the cleansing we need, even our faith is a gift from him. It’s the right way of thinking about God. All of him, none of me.
Single Saved My Soul is the clear standout track on the album. It’s joyful, electronic, bouncy pop. This song is a great display of how our salvation and new identity in Christ causes us to sing – which it should! Unfortunately musically the rest of the album doesn’t reach the heights of this hit.
Title track What We Stand For links back to Micah 6:8, particularly in the bridge, but fails to launch. Forever Free speaks of the great truth that sin and death has been defeated at the cross, and freed us forever: ‘By the power of your spirit, sin is powerless and poor’. Penultimate track Stronger uses some unconventional timing but proves to be a real highlight as it proclaims the risen Jesus, and his rightful place as Lord of all. I do hope this becomes a song sung in churches across the world in the coming year.
The Museum have put together some well-written songs that are lyrically centred on Christ and grounded in Scripture, but truthfully, some of the arrangements left me wanting more. But as I mentioned above, the goal of The Museum was to produce an album that conveys what the band stand for: mercy, justice, glory and honour. They achieve this loud and clear. I’m giving What We Stand For three out of five stars.