Plumb’s “Need You Now: Deluxe Edition”
Christian Album Review
Plumb, a successful artist across multiple genres — everything from major Hollywood soundtracks to alternative rock to EDM to chart-topping CCM hits — released Need You Now: Deluxe Edition this Tuesday, September 16. You can find out more at Plumb’s official site.
While listening to Need You Now: Deluxe Edition — especially the new material — it put something in my heart that I haven’t been able to shake: when we’re willing to tell the story of our brokenness, it gives God a chance to redeem those things by encouraging others.
Many people call it a testimony, but when you’re willing to tell your story — and not just the happy shiny parts — it feels as if you’re cracking yourself open like a shattered jar and letting it all pour out. Once you do that, like the woman who broke the alabaster jar to pour its contents out on Jesus, you can’t really control the volume that comes out. That can be unnerving. “There it all is. Pouring everywhere. The jar is emptied to the last drop.”
But when we open up about our brokenness and take that scary step of telling our stories, God redeems those things by turning them into life-preservers for others.
And that’s why I treasure Need You Now and the new colors in the Deluxe Edition, especially the new song “Fall Back In,” which drew tears as I listened; my “music reviewer” hat fell off for a moment, and it took awhile to find it on the floor and put it back on. The song is a powerful, heart-wrenching but beautifully hopeful song.
Plumb, in this album and in her new book Need You Now: A Story of Hope, cracks open the jar and opens up about the some intense, vulnerable things. She especially focuses on dark valleys that couples experience in marriage and relationships, but because it’s fused with that life-giving redemptive power of Christ, all of it adds up to the light of Heaven. She provides hopeful proof from her own experience that Christ can restore what has been lost.
In other words, God can take even the darkness in our lives and turn it into light that others can see by.
As far as the musical content, the Deluxe Edition — thanks to the new tracks — has its own voice, its own character that definitely makes it worth having. It was thoughtfully done. There are plenty of new colors to hear and, I’d venture to say, the new stuff is Plumb at her very best.
“Starting Over” dives fearlessly into the EDM world, for example. EDM — which covers everything from Skrillex to Swedish House Mafia to Daft Punk — essentially conquered the secular music industry several years ago and hasn’t slowed down. In recent years I’ve come to dislike Contemporary Christian Music’s clumsy Coke commercial attempts at EDM, but Plumb — thank God — is a huge exception, which is certainly why she’s garnered attention from fans across the board, both secular and Christian. I like her take on EDM as much as, say, Ellie Goulding’s Halcyon. Her voice — her particular timbre and vocal range — feels at home in a synth-sonic, pulsating EDM environment. It’s beautiful and exhilarating, which is always the premise and goal of vocal-based EDM songs.
“Faithful” creates a contemplative, stirring pop-synth experience with great melodic writing throughout. “Lord I’m Ready Now” has that classic Plumb anthem feel — her trademark expression of what I might call a triumphant yearning that has made so many of her songs soar over the years.
The “worship version” of “Need You Now (How Many Times)” caught me off guard. It adds a bridge that strips off the confined radio single protocol and pulls you neck-deep into something like a psalm of David — the ones where David is crying out to God with the rawest cries. That added bridge, to me, represents the heart of the song, and it’s what the album is all about: an unafraid baring of brokenness and crying out to God that gives hope and inspires the listener to “cast all your cares at His feet.”
Great new songs. Incredibly edifying. Deluxe Edition is worth the time and money.