Prime Cuts: Kindness, Living Color, Unfixables
Overall Grade: 5/5
Though he has dabbled in bluegrass and though he has released a live album, the last time we are greeted with a full-length all new Steven Curtis Chapman was in 2016. Almost 6 years have passed, has Chapman loosen his reins on music? Is he getting lethargic? Is he retiring? One listen to "Still" and you know the answer is "No." This new album still shows he is on top of the game. The energy he invests in his singing, the attention he pays to the lyrics, and the issues he still raises explsain why Chapman has a staggering legacy of 5 Grammy Awards, 49 #1 songs, and 59 GMA Dove Awards! "Still" not only will continue to add on to his luminous legacy, but it will easily become one of his best remembered albums to date.
Two factors work in the album's favor. First, these songs showcase Chapman as a man of biblical wisdom. While many songs these days ride upon tropes, Chapman's songs debunk cliches. In "Unfixables," for instance, Chapman questions the premise if God's plan for us is always rosy. In "Kindness," Chapman reminds us that showing mercy and kindess are the Christian's best arsenal. He wisely urges: "Let our hearts be quick to listen/And our lips be slow to speak/Let us wrap ourselves in mercy, compassion, and humility."
Most powerful is the story song "Living Color." In the song, Chapman reveals his regrets about not befriending a guy just because of his skin color, only to find out that the friend he never knew was not only a solid Christian dad, but he had also died a few years ago. The pain over the missed opportunity of friendship is so palatable that you can't help but repent along with him. Also poignant is "Love Now." Not only does this song deal with how temporal our lives are, it also contains a must-hear message: "Love now/Don't wait 'til the clock runs out/All you've got is today/Right here."
Second, though Chapman is turning 60 this year, he hasn't lost an iota of his creative energy. The amount of energy that he invests in the roaring "I'm Alive" is mesmerizing. Not one to be left behind in the 90s, the atmospheric elongated sound of "Don't Lose Heart" shows he is willing to morph with the times. Yet, he doesn't neglect his faithful fans when the title cut "Still" sounds like it could have belonged on his "Speechless" album. After nearly 6 years away from releasing a full-length all new album, Chapman is back in his finest. Do yourself a favor and give the track "Living Color" a listen first --- see if it will blow you away.