I read a brief review of Colony House’s debut album, When I Was Younger, on Facebook and I was intrigued enough to buy it on ITunes. Part of the draw was that I knew the band was made up of Steven Curtis Chapman’s sons Will and Caleb and Scott Mills. A couple of years ago we had the chance to have Caleb and Will be a part of our Florida Collegiate Conference and heard them play some of their original music. I also had the chance to visit with them and hear Caleb’s heart for his music and mission in life.
Now after listening to it for a number of times, I agree with that original review. It gets better every time I listen to it. It is not a traditional Christian album by any means but it may be the most authentic Christian album in quite some time. You are not going to hear many tracks that you will hear on the main Christian radio stations because they just don’t fit the formula. But if you want to hear a journey of authentic pain and healing then this record will speak to you on behalf of Christ’s compassion and love.
The most authentic song on the record for me is Won’t Give Up. If you know the Chapmans’ story then you will recognize the family pain in losing their sister to the tragic accident. The song opens with the lines: “I wear the guilt upon my chest cause I feel like I’ve earned it. And keep the blood stains on my hands to show that I’ve done this. Oh how I wish I could escape that day. Take back time and make everything ok but I can’t.” It is a picture set to a haunting melody that chronicles the battle that takes place inside of even a believer when a tragedy like that happens. If this song doesn’t get stuck in your head and heart then you have no compassion and you have never experienced any tragedy in your own life. It ends with the image of Jesus reaching back for the lonely.
The band has done a great job of putting the songs in a specific play list. The song that follows Won’t Give Up is Moving Forward. It begins with “I found life and I found laughter in forgiveness I found rest. On the shoulders of redemption I found hope when hope was dead.” Isn’t that happens when Jesus brings us through terrible times of painful struggles. We can find a life that gives us reason to live. It isn’t a journey that is easy but it is a journey that makes life full again despite the loss that we think will crush us in the moment. That is what God means when He promises in Romans that He will work all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. Those redeeming moments only happen after the darkest hours of pain and suffering.
The rest of the songs are a mix of struggle and hope. Some deal with growing up and learning how to love. Some deal with the fact that we often wait for things to change in our lives to discover that the thing that really changes is us. The sound is heavily mastered and layered and will attract some to the project and may make others shy away from it. For me, I love the different mix of sounds and effects. I found it a fresh breath in the midst of so much of the same kind of music these days.
This is a project that we can play in our BCM center and non-Christians will have no problem falling in love with the songs. They don’t all require a faith statement to enjoy or agree with. They chronicle the common struggles of mankind but in the end they point to Jesus to those with discerning ears to hear the message of hope in the songs and the occasional glimpses of direct references to Jesus’ love. If you have friends that are dealing with difficult situations, I would highly recommend that you give them a copy of When I Was Younger. You will find a great springboard to that conversation you have been hoping to have with them about the love and grace of God bringing hope and healing to even the darkest situations.
Thank you Colony House for giving us such a raw and honest glance into the process of redemption. May the Lord use this project to bring many to that glorious place where they lose control and find hope and healing in Jesus.