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Beauty Will Rise : An Imperfectly-Perfect Album

No, this is not your typical album review because…no, this is not your typical album. This album takes everything known about the music business and throws it out the window. It is imperfect in its creation, imperfect in its production, imperfect in its lack of auto-tune and other assorted mastering crafts, and imperfect in its concept.

Yet…out of the imperfections…the album is….perfect.

Two of the greatest minds poured their talents into Steven Curtis Chapman’s Beauty Will Rise album. Between Steven Curtis Chapman’s awe-inspiring ability to hone a perfect lyric to Brent Milligan’s creativity in producing and providing instrumentation – this is now my favorite all-time album.

Its imperfections make it stellar. This album was created during the short time frame of about two months while Chapman was touring with friend Michael W. Smith. It came after a pivotal moment in Steven’s life when his daughter, Maria, was taken tragically in an accident. There is absolutely no doubt about the honesty of the lyrics in this album. They are powerful…because they are real. They were, at times, spontaneous. Vocals were recorded in places as bizarre and impromptu as the University of Kentucky Wildcats men’s locker room to a small cubicle of a pastor’s assistant at a church. Instrumentation was done in dressing rooms, hotel rooms, and everywhere in between.

Sometimes the instrumentation is crude – like a not-so-in-tune piano (just slightly off) that was recorded live for the song “February 20”. Its imperfection fits in beautifully against the bittersweet words of Maria asking to live with God in his “big house” – the sweet contrasting sounds of Milligan’s cello painting such a vivid picture of God, Maria, Steven and Mary Beth smiling – it is breath-taking.

But that’s the beauty of it, isn’t it? It is real…it is raw…it isn’t there to conform to any particular standard – and that makes it awesome. There is no need for “research” groups to ascertain whether or not the album will fly…it takes flight on its own.

You will smile…you will cry…but you absolutely MUST get this album.