Elevation Worship embraces the paradoxes of life and faith on their latest album

For Chris Brown of Elevation Worship, it feels good to be releasing music again.

Brown is quick to point out that the contemporary Christian collective has never stopped releasing music – just check out their commercially and critically acclaimed records. Graves in the gardens and Basement of the old church as proof. But they’ve never released music like this before.

On March 4, Elevation released their fourteenth album titled LION.

LION album cover courtesy of Elevation Music

“With this one [LION], it’s amazing to release another album. To have songs that I really believe in, and songs that our team has really had behind for a while,” Brown told American Songwriter. “[And] it’s a completely different album, for us.

The North Carolina band (featuring Brown, Jonsal Barrientes, Jenna Barrientes, Tiffany Hudson, Davide Mutendji, Jane Williams and Isaiah Templeton) cut out their highly produced feel and took their time to nurture each song. The collective leaned into their moody and gendered feelings to create a record with as many ups and downs as the life they sing (See Upcoming Elevation Worship Concerts).

Specifically, there are still powerfully charged hymns, but there are also folksy undertones and hard-hitting lyricism on LION.

“For us, [we] I just pulled on different threads and unraveled a bit… and realized that no one was telling us we had to approach an album a certain way,” Brown says. He went on to explain that Elevation Worship continues to question its approach to songwriting worship music for LION.

“Worship music as we experience it today quickly developed a nice little box that it writes in, and we wrote in that little box for years,” he says. “And of course, it’s like any genre or style. The importance of understanding the rules of any genre and why there are rules is so critical. So we’ve been doing that for years, but over the past 18 months it’s been a fun exploration for us to challenge our own mindsets about what quote-unquote worship music is.

The fruits of the band’s labor are evident in the album’s first song, “Bye Bye Babylon”. The song emerged around a smooth, independent bass line and the lyrics fell into place in “an hour, maybe 90 minutes”, according to Brown. “I wasn’t sure if [‘Bye Bye Babylon’] was going to end up on this project or not,” Brown continues. “We’ve usually, historically, started every album with an upbeat worship song.”

Still, “Bye Bye Babylon” is a shorter studio track that opens listeners up to the sonic journey that ensues.

“This Is The Kingdom” is another track from the album, and it’s a ten-minute exploration of the Beatitudes of Matthew 5 (NIV). Then, as another cornerstone of the disc, the title song is rooted in the writing of the Apocalypse. “[‘LION’] was one of the quickest to do workshops and produce as a whole band because we felt like we knew what it had to be,” says Brown.

Overall, however, this collection of songs and the journey leading up to it have been invaluable to Brown. Letting go and writing from the truest part of himself, unfazed by societal norms, allowed Brown to be the most authentic version of himself.

to listen LION hereand learn more about Elevation Worship here. You can also find Elevation concert tickets here.

Photo courtesy of Elevation Worship/Merge PR.

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