Monday, October 31, 2005

Rita Springer: I Have to Believe - review

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.


Anonymous said...

The great thing about music is, it does different things for different people. I just experienced the hurricane and all of it's devastation and I have to believe is all that got me through. Strang isn't it, how God can minister to some and not to others at exactly the same time.

Kathy Nicholson said...

I loved the first song on this CD. It showcases the powerful effect of our words in trying times! I actually liked this cd more that others. I'm 36 years old though, perhaps she's changing her market.

gracetrophy said...

I absolutely love this cd, with I Have to Believe being some of the most powerful words; what an honest prayer to God. This is an age where unbelief is like terminal cancer among "believers" of the risen Christ. We say we believe, but do we really beleive God is all He says He is and all of His Word? And I love singing and listening to "Jesus, You are good; Jesus, You are more than my friend; amazing God come down; flood our heart with holy fire; there is a fountain full of grace and it flows from Emmanuel's veins; oh God of mine; in the stillness I hear Your voice and I am overwhelmed; You are my hero; I am blessed becaue I am loved by You; teach me more to be like You!" What an honest prayer to God!! I have also had the privelge of hearing Rita minister and it matters when you hear the heart of the worshipper. However, the last two songs are more of her personal story and I often do not play when listening to the cd. At the same time, I admire the fact that she writes and sings not to please others but to give praise & glory to God for what He has done in her life.

Anonymous said...

the great thing about Rita Springer is that she doesn't have the expected quality that entertainment may say she has to have. She sings straight from her prayer closet with words that speak prophetically. I loved this CD because I personnally identified with each song and it helped me cry out to God when I previously lacked the complete understanding of what my heart was wanting to say.

Anonymous said...

The song "Love with Justice" is written for her new adopted african american baby named "Justice" as you may know if you read the album leaf.

alleyn said...

Well, "I Have to....." Disagree! I LOVE this CD by Rita Springer. I feel, as always, she delivers real, heartfelt worship music, written from what can only be the cutting edge of her life: NO ONE ministers in such a powerful manner, without doing so in spirit & truth. Pick up the extended version of "Rise Up" if you like this one...You will be blessed!

LoveMyJustice said...

Wow!!! Hello!!!! The disrespect and the nerve.... This CD (along with every single CD by Rita Springer) is an AMAZING soulful ode to her God, the Lover of her Soul, Jesus Christ.

And Love With Justice is a song dedicated to her baby boy who was adopted from Africa, whom THE LORD told her to name Justice. It is an absolutely BREATHLESSLY AMAZING love song to her son, sent from the Lord himself to Rita.

I love this song as the LOrd also told me to name my first-born son JUSTICE over 5 years ago!!!!

God Blesses, He doesn't talk trash.
...Neither should you.

Jesus Saves and Loves,

Stephanie MOther of Justice

Bob K said...

I have appreciated many of the responses that this review has gotten and I'm surprised by the number of people who still find my review even a year after it was written. I'd like to take excpetion, though, to Stephanie, mother of Justice. I don't think I "talk trash" in my review. I think I was respectfully saying that I didn't think this was a very good album. It's clear that some people disagree with my assessment and that's fine. But a negative review of a worship album does not mean that I love God less or don't appreciate sincerity when I hear it - it merely means that I thought Rita Springer missed the boat on this album.

And while I'm on the subject - if this is a worship album, what is a song about her son doing there? A couple of people mentioned that if I had "bothered" to read the liner notes I would know about her son's name. OK. Point taken - but I found the liner notes difficult to read because of the way they're printed. And besides - shouldn't a song be able to stand on it's own without an explaination?

Andrew said...

We do a few Springer songs in our congregational worship. "Freedom" comes to mind, "Mansion". We did the song "I Have to Believe" just this morning for the first time and you know what jumped out at me? The way Rita very subtley takes Psalm 121:1 and twists it to mean something entirely different from what it means in the Scripture. She does this not by simply using the words in an incorrect context, but by actually CHANGING the phrases so that if someone were unfamiliar with the Biblical text itself, they would never know there was an inconsistency. I asked the woman who introduced the song about it, and she thinks it "must have been the translation Rita used". Huh? I've checked fifteen different translations (including three VERY liberal ones) and NONE of them remotely communicate the idea that we "must look to the mountains, [because] it's where my help comes from". As I said, my church does other Springer tunes, and they are well worth it. But why is she now changing the message and words of Scripture willy-nilly to fit into the lyrical intent of her song? That's not right. I expect more from Ms. Springer. Does anyone else see anything wrong with this? Am I simply being a theological nit-pic?

Bob K said...

Andrew, thanks for your comment. I'm glad that your church has been able to use some of Ms Springer's music effectively. I feel that my review of this album has been misunderstood by some readers as a slam on her ministry. I appreciated one of her earlier albums and, if her music is useful is worship then I praise God for that.

I do, however agree that praise music should be theologically sound and, if a song - any song - isn't then it should probably not be used in worship. Why put bad theology in your memory when there are so many good songs that we could use? So, Andrew, I don't think you're being nit-picky - I think you're being careful.

Amy said...
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