Feeling the Son after four seasons of winter

Reason Deluxe
Artist: Unspoken
Label: Centricity Music
Length: 18 tracks/1 hour 6 minutes

How is it that so much of what I review seems so applicable to the times? Even when as in this case the original release is pre-COVID. The opening to Revelation Deluxe by Unspoken may speak for many:

This year’s felt like four seasons of winter
And you’d give anything to feel the sun

When you feel like giving up
When you feel like giving in
His love is the reason
To keep on believing

Perhaps it’s the work of the Spirit taking the artist’s work and making it relevant and applicable in a multitude of ways. God uses actions beyond our awareness. When a woman anointed Jesus she had no idea that it was to prepare him for burial.

September marks National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. With the foundations of our society shaken by cataclysmic events, it’s good to spotlight the help available. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is as near as a call to 1-800-273-8255.

It may be a small thing, but I hear lots of encouragement on this release. It’s almost like it was made for such a time as this.

Thankfully, this does not advocate a white-knuckle approach to making life better. It’s more akin to the lovely book title, Try Softer, by Aundi Kolber. The lyrics don’t gloss over the seriousness of our condition; they just point to finding hope in a relationship with God. If it all depends on us we are at the extreme end of the infamous San Francisco 49er doom index. How doomed? Last place finish doomed. Fortunately, Jesus makes reversals possible where the last become first.

For each look at ourselves that the songs provide, we get a corresponding glimpse of the work of Christ. This is a recipe for hope: less seeing inward, more looking at Christ.

The choruses are accessible, anthemic and like an ocean swell of truth. “Just give me Jesus” being one of a number of examples of the crystallizing of desire.

Reason Deluxe has sobering moments. I hope that those of us who are Christians are not so callous as to dismiss the following chorus as cliché and not worthy of serious application:

If we’re gonna be known for something
Let it be love, love, love
Speaking the truth means nothing
Without love, love, love
’Cause no one’s gonna hear us
If we keep throwing stones

As others have pointed out we have become known more for what we are against. It seems like we are far removed from the sentiment expressed in the old folk song “they’ll know we our Christians by our love.” It’s never too late, however, to become more like the early church that was known for its compassion and charity.

The blend of acoustic and electronic on the original release is near perfection. The extra tracks include a couple of live songs that are more raw and rugged than the mostly R&B leaning sounds. One is a nine minute medley, the other, the blues oriented “Bury the Workman,” has a sound similar to “Wanted Dead or Alive” by Bon Jovi. These live songs definitely show a more rock oriented side of the band.

Another part of the deluxe release is “One Step,” which testifies to overcoming addiction. The three other songs consist of two remixes and an acoustic version of “You’ve Always Been,” which I might favor over the original.

The combination of vulnerable disclosures with biblical truth is powerful. “Mistakes” expresses the desire for God to use our own failures for his glory. If the following is true how can we ever go wrong?

Every wrong turn, it’s true
Led me right hear to you
I may lose my way, nothing’s greater than your grace
Not even my mistakes

The melody is borne along by acoustic guitar, programmed percussion and a lighthearted feel. There is also a sprinkling of high-pitched keys. Whimsical? Yes, a true delight.

This is and “Wasted Time” are such a lovely way to close this release. This is also acoustic, being a gentle homage to God making up for our waywardness and brokenness. What could be better than that?

Michael Dalton