Prime Cuts: Rescue (featuring Lauren Daigle), Arrows (I Will Be with You) (featuring We the Kingdom), It is Well (featuring Ed Rivera)
Overall Grade: 5/5
Bethel Music's "Peace" records are not just original albums. Rather, they have specially utilized sounds that have been scientifically proven to being calmness and tranquility to those who hear them. Vol. II follows on the heels of last year's inaugural project. Save for one brand new song, this 12-song collection features the Bethel team re-imagining most of their better-known songs, with a few surprises including Lauren Daigle's own "Rescue," Elevation Worship's "Graves into Gardens," UNITED's "Another in the Fire," Phil Wickham's "Battle Belongs," and Sinach's "Way Maker." To bring more excitement to the project, Daigle, Phil Wickham, Dante Bowe, and We the Kingdom have also been enlisted as lead vocalists.
In many ways, this album is a "greatest hits" album, therefore, most of the tracks here are familiar. Jenn Johnson opens the proceedings with an album track that she recorded with her hubby Brian a few years ago entitled "You're Gonna Be Ok." "Ok," with its casually phrased title, is the weakest track on the album. Jenn gets better with hers and Brian's take of Wickham's "Battle Belongs." While the original is a power ballad, this new version has a gentle folky percolating vibe that is refreshing. And for the first time in a long while, Jenn is not singing in a range far too low for her vocals.
Lauren Daigle indulges us with a minimalist re-make of her "Rescue" (from her Look Up Child album). With the spotlight on her smoldering alto, Daigle's performance is simply stunning. Save for some faintly sounding percussion, Ed Rivera almost sings a cappella on "It is Well." For those who need an extra dose of courage, the words bear repeated listening: Grander earth has quaked before/Moved by the sound of His voice/And seas that are shaken and stirred/Can be calmed and broken for my regard/And through it all, through it all/My eyes are on You.
Bethany Wohrle's acoustic sounding UNITED's "Another in the Fire" is hypnotic, while Dante Bowe offers a spirited version of Sinach's "Way Maker." The album's lone new song is We the Kingdom's "Arrows (I Will Be With You)." Depicted from the God's vantage, "Arrows" finds God speaking words of hope and protection for his people. Overall, this is a solid album of 12 tracks (many of them are already familiar) re-imagined bringing calmness to our troubled souls. To this end, they succeed with flying colors.