Two things stand out in listening to Matt Papa's album "Your Kingdom Come." One, that he walks closely with God and two, that he knows and reads the Bible, a lot. The songs proclaim the attributes, mysteries, and praises of God as well as weaving Biblical truths throughout (ex:"Every Knee Will Bow"). The overarching musical style is guitar driven rock with a tasteful dose of piano in the mix.
Some bands or musicians use formulaic musical techniques but Papa has a plethora of interesting things going on musically (listen closely and you may hear a harpsichord on one song). The bulk of the album is filled with songs you can enjoy like a juicy steak, both flavorful and something to chew on.
One album theme is the missional call to go out to the world sharing Christ's love heard in: "Your Kingdom Come," "To the Least of These," and "Here am I, Send Me."
"Hallelujah, Our God Reigns" is a rocking declaration of God's holiness and attributes as if a rock band of angels got together and rocked the praises straight from Revelation. The radio single and one of my personal favorites on the album is "Open Hands" which shares of learning to live a surrendered and unselfish life with open hands so as to tell the world of how Jesus loves, died, and sets us free.
"God of Grace" celebrates God's provision for people in all sorts of life circumstances and His sacrifice and love for us as we are. The song "You Can Do Anything" is primarily in the pop punk genre but is the only song on the album in performed in this style. "Hymn in C" is a great declaration of Christ's love and sacrifice for us and the transformation that occurs because of a relationship with Him. "Alive" has a Christmas feel to it reminiscent of Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime."
Papa doesn't pull punches with songs such as "Where is the Difference" and the sardonic "Woe to You" that cut to the quick, calling out superficial Christianity, self serving religion, and materialism.
"Here It Comes" starts out with an army marching into the opening guitar riff that opens a straight up southern rock song including a gospel choir and finishes with a ripping guitar solo and wild celebration. "No One Else" expresses desire for God being primary and above all else with anthemic worship and praise as one might imagine the Psalmist David expressing his heart and soul's desire.
Papa uses a shouting singing style at the top of his vocal range in parts of a few songs. This can be overlooked though due to his joy and heart for God leaping through the lyrics.
If you see a photo of Matt, his appearance is a cross between Keith Green and David Crowder. :-)
Over the next few weeks, I plan to work through the many scriptures listed as sources for the songs. Some writers rely on christianese "praise phrases" in their songs but Papa goes straight to the source for inspiration with resulting theologically deep passages.
This is the best rock/worship albums I've heard in a while and it will be receiving serious play time in my listening endeavors.
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