STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 154262-23109 LABEL: Jesus Culture Music B002279002 FORMAT: CD Album RELEASE DATE: 2015-04-07 RRP: £9.99
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
Such is the huge influence of Sacramento's Jesus Culture Music that this album - the first with Jesus Culture's tie up with Capitol Christian Music Group - has already hit number one on iTunes' Christian Albums chart. It deserves its success. Drawing musical inspiration from mainstream songsmiths like Tom Petty and Brandon Flowers yet keeping his lyrical focus on the King of Kings, Derek has led worship at every Jesus Culture since 2011. Johnson's huskily expressive voice is enhanced by skilled production from Jeremy Edwardson while the usual top rate guitar work by Jesus Culture's Jeffrey Kunde ensures the songs are worshipful without stumbling into the clichés of pop rock worship. The chattering rhythm guitar groove on the opener "Our Salvation" could almost be something you'd hear of a Tom Petty track while the slow, tender-hearted ballad "Power In The Cross" is truly moving. Johnson's lyrics explore themes familiar to every Christian with a simple eloquence ("We all stand amazed/In awe of amazing grace/The divide has been erased/We thank you"). Derek's song "I Belong To You" was featured as a bonus track on the 'Live From New York' album by Jesus Culture and Martin Smith and it sounds great here. Now Derek has demonstrated he has a lot more excellent material. In a recent interview the experienced revivalist said, "My heart is to write songs that lead people to Jesus." I've no doubt Derek has succeeded in doing just that.
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"Real Love" is the full-length debut release for Jesus Culture Music Artist, Derek Johnson. Featuring 12 original tracks, Derek utilises his own journey into the redemptive love of Jesus Christ, as well as his passion for message-driven songwriting, to share his hope in the God of real, authentic love. Unhindered in its focus to communicate, this album's fundamental core is worship. In tracks such as "Meant to Last" we find a poetic exploration of the ceased search for love after beholding Jesus. Heartfelt anthems like "Power in the Cross" and "Our Salvation" declare the truth of the Gospel delivered with a fresh sound.
The title track "Real Love" captures the heart and soul of this collection, with sincere depth Derek invites us in to embrace this love like never before. This album is an easy fit for your Sunday morning set-list or your personal devotion while being a beckoning call to those sill searching for real love.