Hope’s Anthem is a record that really did something neat in me. With a market so saturated like that of praise and worship music, I can very honestly say that if I see a name I don’t recognize, I make a series of unfair assumptions; I generally feel like I need to strap in and prepare to be blasted by the same stuff I heard yestermonth. In this case, I came away from my first listen a little sheepish and more than satisfied. There were a lot of those “Ooh! I like that!” moments throughout the whole disc, both musically and lyrically. Here are a few of the songs that really did it for me.

The CD opener, I’m Free, was just too fun. This tune begs for stomped foot, raised voice, clapped hand and joyous heart as it takes us on a simple journey of undertsanding that we are indeed free in Jesus, and what it means for us. The innocent manner in which this song tackles this monumental truth is truly refreshing, and maybe we can learn something from it. We are free. Period.

We Believe is, among other things, a prayer for cities and nations; this is the kind of song a kingdom-minded congregation will latch onto and run with. The whole thing sings like a prayer, and a big prayer at that! Calling for nations to be free and all promises to be fulfilled is a big deal, and between the soaring chorus and contemplative lows, the song has “genuine” written all over it.

So Good To Me is, hands down, no holds barred, 100%, without equivocation, my favorite song on this disc. The truly awesome groove and incredibly strong message of blessing both conspire to make a song that won’t be forgotten soon. As it says at the end, “I got love, joy, peace and righteousness in the Holy Spirit!” This tune just makes me wanna sing that for hours.

The Lord is My Shepherd, as the name implies, draws very heavily from Psalm 23. Simply because of the richness of that particular passage of Scripture, I anticipate a great number of people really getting into this tune. Honestly, there isn’t much to say about the song other than “Listen to it and love it.” There is an incredible spirit of peace and joy in this song, which ought to be predictable given the foundation it was built on.

Truth be told, this whole CD is blessed with some great listening. The accomplished musicianship lends credibility to songs that already have a solid footing in Scripture, and even though by today’s standards it isn’t all congregation-friendly, I could easily see the right crowd catching what William Matthews has got. If a song like any of these popped up at church, I’d be singing in no time flat. And you can bet I’m going to try the ones listed above for that very purpose.