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Beautiful Design
Artist: Jason Bare
Time: 11 tracks/49 minutes

The first thing I noticed when I listened to _Beautiful Design_ was that Jason Bare’s voice sounds very much like Rich Mullins, so that’s a big plus for just about any fan of Christian music.  He has a strong tenor and isn’t shy about belting out a passionate chorus on tracks such as the album opener, “You Found Me,” a decent track with a huge Coldplay-like chorus.

Musically, Bare seems to dabble in different genres such as the jangly pop chorus of “I Want to Feel You,” the R&B tinged “Touch the Sky,” and the frenetic disco pop of “Blame.”  But at heart he is a pop singer, relying heavily on synths and programmed drums on almost every song.  Nathan Walters, formerly of Plus One, helps out with some of the production and songwriting duties, and it’s fairly apparent that Bare draws a lot influence from Plus One and other pop bands in that particular style.

 The record’s best song is “Story of Grace,” a song Bare co-wrote several years earlier with his cousin.  The lyrics are honest and soul-baring, and the music percolates around Bare’s voice as it builds to a powerful crescendo on the chorus:

Why did you love me
Why did you save me
Why would you take the time
You came to earth to bleed and die
To give me a story of grace

In all honesty, I might be the wrong guy to review this release since I’m not a big fan of this style of music, but it is well done, and fans of mainstream CCM will find a lot to enjoy here.  However, my primary issue with Bare is that I wish he would go a bit deeper with his lyrics.  The best lyrics on the record are those when Bare describes his own sinful state and expresses amazement that God loves him in spite of it.  This happens in the aforementioned “Story of Grace,” and it also makes songs like “Blame” and “I Can’t Escape You” shine even brighter.  Unfortunately, the title track suffers under some bland platitudes, and then there’s “Over the Edge,” a song with music that is far more earnest than its words.  If Bare can dig a little deeper, I think he could produce something really special and inspiring.

 I really do think that Jason Bare has some serious talent, and for a first release, this is a decent effort.  There’s definitely room for him to grow as a songwriter, but there’s also much to like here as well for fans of CCM pop and worship.

If you’re interested in checking out Jason’s music, visit or find him on iTunes.

Eric Landfried  1/31/11  


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