Matt Maher is a master of crafting worship that brings the body of Christ together, regardless of age, race, denomination, or social boundary. With the seamless mixture of both the new and the familiar, Maher’s compositions have a way of gaining immediate traction with worshippers. They are refreshingly contemporary as well as nostalgically familiar, and this is one of the reasons his songs are sung in churches around the world.
His first album since 2015, Echoes features 16 new songs on the deluxe version. The main theme was born out of the recent loss of his father, which reveals a more personal and vulnerable Maher than previous releases.
Sonically, Echoes intelligently bounces back-and-forth from praise, to reverent, to the difficulty of the times, all held together with the love and forgiveness of Christ at the center.
Songs like “Clean Heart,” which is a Tom Petty-esque rocker about the gift of forgiveness, and “What A Friend,” are classic, energetic songs of hope like the ones that we all have come to know and love from Maher. “Your Love Defends Me” features ethereal pads and piano background for this authentic worship anthem, as Matt reminds us that in every war we face, no matter the outcome here on earth, the love and sacrifice of Jesus is our best defense in every situation.
One of the bolder choices on this album is the song “Picket Sign,” which is an interesting call to action for the body of Christ to do more than just know the Bible, or to say what they believe. This sentiment is echoed in my favorite song on the album (and may well be my song of the year) “Least Of These,” which is a wonderful lyrical exploration of Matthew 25 that tells of how Christ’s sacrifice satisfies every need of the redeemed. Maher’s writing genius and incredible Biblical insight is on full display with lyrically creative lines like…. “when he stole my heart between two thieves, that’s when love became the least of these”.
There are a plethora of great moments on this album: songs of intimate personal worship, songs of introspection and prayer to God, right alongside celebratory, foot stomping songs of joy. Echoes is more than a great collection of songs; this album is a crystal-clear message from God for the body of Christ here on earth to act upon our beliefs. We are the people who are called to bring the echo of hope to the world through living lives on mission at all times, and in all places for Jesus. This is the clear heartbeat of Echoes, and the body of Christ should listen up. These are songs you need to hear, and are treasured gifts that worship leaders should give to themselves and the people they are called to serve. This is my favorite album of 2017. Well done, Mr. Maher! I stand and salute you for your boldness and love for the people of God.