Falling apart never sounded so good
Label: Centricity Music
Length: 7 songs/26 minutes
How many can turn a song about longing for what was into a celebration of what is? Such is the case on “Glory Days” on Reorder, the latest from Jason Gray. It may be the most outstanding track on an EP filled with excellent music and lyrics.
This is the third and final part of a series of recordings, which can be purchased separately or bundled together as Order Disorder Reorder. Even though I have yet to hear the first two, on the basis of this and my knowledge of Gray’s past releases, I recommend getting all three together. One reviewer said that Order Disorder Reorder is Gray’s best album. I believe it! He has always been an above average songwriter and what you find here is among his finest work. It’s amazing how much wisdom he can put in a well-crafted pop song.
In “Glory Days” he writes about falling apart as if it is the best thing that has ever happened:
These are my glory days
Busted and broken, but finally open
Wider than an empty grave
This is the good life now
Found it where I fell down
Shattered in pieces, but thank you Jesus
I want to laugh out loud about these upside down values of Jesus. Hard times have never sounded so good! I don’t wish them on anyone but if your way is difficult trying making this your soundtrack. You just might find hope rising as you hear a refreshing perspective on brokenness.
“Glory Days” has a playful, keyboard-driven, joyous hand clap sound. It might fall like a number of these songs into a slightly indie/alternative pop category.
I hear a distinct progression musically from Gray’s early days. The programmed elements, particularly percussion, have given him a fuller, more sophisticated sound. It also creates a bit of quirkiness, which fits well with the lyrics. The technology is just right, not overwhelming the acoustic.
For those who might like his earlier folk side, the fourth track, “Tethered,” is little more than Gray and an acoustic guitar. It’s a beautiful centerpiece. It seems to reference Psalm 139, highlighting his unbreakable connection with God’s love.
This artist is no stranger to vulnerability and those moments are no less striking on this release. On “Bring it All” he sings, “Look at me up on the stage/You’d never know how I’m so afraid.” He battles with fear again on “Right On Time”:
Lying on the bathroom floor in tears
Praying for a miracle to come and meet me here
I was afraid it was too late
I note that this song as well as the others with the exception of “Tethered” are co-writes with different individuals. I don’t know their involvement but the lyrics fit with what I know of Jason Gray.
Is God ever late? Gray answers in “Right On Time” by singing of pivotal moments.
What about regret? In “Every Moment Belongs” Gray identifies the theme of this release:
I wouldn’t be who I am now
Without the way that its all played out
What comfort! What assurance! What we are now is more important than our past.