I usually review CDs and DVDs that I like simply because if I’m going to spend my bucks on something I pretty much know I’m going to like it going in. This will be an exception. I’m not wild about the new Rita Springer album, I Have to Believe.
I liked one of Springer’s earlier albums so when I saw that her new album was 1) on sale, 2) produced by Margaret Becker and Nathan Nockels (both very good signs), 3) on sale, 4) included a *free* Best of Rita Springer CD and 5) on sale I figured I could not go wrong. I was wrong.
On first listen I just wasn’t grabbed by this CD at all. The songs struck me as unremarkable and, when I finally got to a song that grabbed me, I realized that it was a cover of a Delirious song. But, I figured, give it time – maybe I was just in a bad mood when I listened the first time. Maybe I was expecting it to be different than it was and wasn’t being fair. So I waited a week, played the CD when I wasn’t paying attention once and then listened intently again. I liked it even less the second time.
The first song starts out nicely with gospel / blues piano and some bluesy soulful singing but aside from that, the melodies overall don’t grab me and the lyrics are really pretty shallow. After hearing Sarah Groves and U2 I want a little more from my lyrics than I’m getting from Springer. (Frankly, even Paul McCartney’s lyrics are superior – well, maybe not “English Tea” but at least that song has a killer arrangement.) I think she’s sincere – it’s just that she misses the boat. The point of “Love with Justice” is that Rita Springer is “in love with justice” whatever that means. You can’t imagine what “My Hero” is about - well, maybe you can. It's about how Jesus is my hero. The problem is that the songs never get past the kind of sloganeering that these songs indicate. So, if you’re looking for some new great worship songs – go listen to an old Matt Redman or Chris Tomlin album.