A year ago this month we had the privilege of reviewing The Corner Room’s beautiful album, “Psalm Songs.” In that review, I commented that I think The Corner Room musicians are like modern day Davids – musicians who play to please the Lord. “Psalm Songs” is rich, textured, and melodic. When listening to that album, you can almost picture the court of Saul and the music of David invading that space with warmth, calm, and beauty.
Ironically, right now, the kids and I are reading The Bark of the Bog Owl by Jonathan Rogers. This Rabbit Room trilogy is a creative echo of the King David story. The first book brings us right back to that court of Saul. Bark is one part biblical history, one part medieval hero tale, and one part fantasy blended to become biblically informed historical fiction. As I was delighting in this creative story, the “modern-day-David band” asked me to review their newest album, “Love Never Ends.” Nothing like “Psalm Songs,” “Love Never Ends” is equally beautiful and, for me, equally timely.
Last year, I was in a hard place. It was dark. Snowy. There had been too many hard days strung together. In all of my anxiety, “Psalm Songs” cut through the moodiness and proclaimed truth into my soul. It arrested my bad mood, calmed my anxious soul, and lifted my heart up to my Abba. This year, it is warm and sunny, we have had a couple of excellent weeks of homeschool, my family just returned from a lovely hike, and I am hours away from a big birthday. Life is still hard, but my spirit is in a better place. Because God is never surprised by anything, I am feel certain that He sent this passionate and joyful album into my life as a celebration of the joy and hope I am feeling.
“Love Never Ends” is a “three movement suite from 1 Corinthians 13.” In three related but unique tracks, we dance and rejoice our way through this powerful and beautiful piece of Scripture. Following the three vocal tracks are three instrumental versions. I love this. I appreciate being able to reflect on the words of Scripture in the first three songs, but then the instrumental tracks are a gift for quiet moments of prayer and study. I find myself being invaded by hope and joy when I am listening to the scriptural lyrics. When I am listening to the instrumental versions, I turn the music down a little bit and let my mind be carried off into an intensely prayerful place.
This album is warm, passionate, jazzy, and joyful. My husband is a professional trumpet player and was an award winning band director before becoming a Catholic school administrator. As we listened to these tracks, we both remarked that this album feels like a romantic movie soundtrack.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 ESV
The first track, Movement I, delights the listener with soft fingers dancing across the piano complimented by romantic strings. The lyrics, word for word ESV translation of 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, paired with this passionate music feel like a love ballad. The lyrics proclaim the truth while the music contextualizes them with joy and celebration.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.”1 Corinthians 13:4-10 ESV
With a nod to the beauty of classic big band, Movement II is exhilarating and jubilant. The song opens with a sound that is reminiscent of the first movement. Like in a movie soundtrack, the piano and strings rhythmically and gently support the first singing of verses 4-8. Once we have heard what love is, however, the pace quickens, the horn line enters, and the song builds momentum. As the song evolves, it swells, and we almost feel an urge to get up and dance. Always keeping the scriptural lyrics in the front, the horns and percussion add warmth and jazz to this classic celebration of love. This one is easily my favorite in the album. Fans of Michael Buble will appreciate this one.
“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:11-13 ESV
In the third movement, the suite culminates in a song of understanding, confidence, and conviction. The song starts slowly and sounds like something from Simon and Garfunkel. As it progresses, it builds to a full sound with a forceful piano pushing through the soaring strings and lyrics. The result is a feeling of passion, certitude, and hope. You can check out their trailer here to see what I mean.
When I talked to Adam about my initial impressions of the album, I mentioned that the songs remind me of my three children. While most people think that my children look alike, sound similar to each other, and generally act somewhat the same, they are each totally unique. The three movements of this album are clearly drawn from the same chapter of 1 Corinthians 13, but they each sound like their own unique message.
In their online store you can find their cds, chord charts, and more.