I was hyped up for Inheritance as soon as Audrey Assad announced that she was starting work on this particular album. This particular album consists of some familiar hymns from both Catholic and Protestant traditions as well as a couple of original tracks. If you’re looking for an album to be your Lent soundtrack, this one (as well as her previous album Fortunate Fall) is it.
Without further ado, a track-by-track review:
1) Ubi Caritas: Many traditional and pre-Vatican 2 Catholics will probably recognize this Latin Hymn. According to Michael Martin of preces-latinae.org:
Ubi Cartitas is taken from the antiphons sung during the ceremony of the Washing of the Feet at the Mass of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday. As is the entire Mass of the Last Supper, this hymn is intimately connected with the Eucharist, and is thus often used during the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
It’s a reverent start to this album. I can imagine a Eucharistic procession done to this song, swinging chausible and all. You can listen to it and read the English translation of the Latin lyrics in the video below.
2) Holy, Holy, Holy: I’m very familiar with this hymn and I was surprised that she cut out the second verse. You know, the one about the saints casting down their golden crowns around the sea? Still, I want to wake up to this song every morning, it’s that awesome.
3) Be Thou My Vision: The melody of this song that sounds like stars sparkling in the twilight. I love the drum beat, too, because it gives a certain gravitas to this uplifting hymn. it sounds like a march or a prayerful walk. The song ends with a beautiful mixing of vocals that sound like the song is being lifted up to Heaven.
4) I Wonder As I Wander: Dear Retreat Friends- We need to use this song the next time we do a Passion Play! The strings are unsettling in the most wonderful way. Towards the end of the song, the piano and strings mix in with the sounds of a thunderstorm. Overall, it’s a dark, Gothic round that’s perfect for listening to after Stations of the Cross or on Good Friday.
5) How Can I Keep From Singing: Audrey Assad said on her website that “I had to make something both bright and dark—colored honestly with my own doubts and weaknesses, so that the Lord who inspired these songs could be even more visible in it.” The past couple songs have embraced the darkness, but this song is a lot more uplifting. Listen to this song and take notes, Christian Pop. Praise and Worship songs can be done without sounding like Top 40 pop or a Nickelback concert.
6) Oh, the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus: Fernando Ortega provides a bit of backing vocals to this soft, beautiful, contemplative song. It’s almost like a two and a half minute long meditation sung with the Sacred Heart of Jesus in mind.
7) Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet: This song goes back to the minor keys and haunting strings from previous tracks. Uses a lot of echos. It’s an eerie, dark and rich round. Do not listen to this song with the lights out. You might get nightmares from all the dark notes.
8) New Every Morning: A new retelling of Genesis, Lamentations, and the Gospel of John. It goes on like Psalm 136 with a lot of repetition, but it’s a wonderful mantra. In this Year of Mercy, we have to remind ourselves as often as possible that God’s mercies are new every morning.
9) It Is Well With My Soul: Where has this song been all my life?! This song is definitely in the running for my favorite track on this album. I wish I grew up hearing this song, singing it in my choir. It’s a wonderful calming melody that I want to listen t0 if ever I fall into anxiety again. It’s awe-inspiring and uplifting, another perfect example of how a praise and worship song can sound without the homogenization of pop music melodies. Give it a listen!
10) Even Unto Death: Audrey Assad wrote this particular song to honor the Christian Martyrs who died at the hands of ISIS. On her tumblr, she said this:
All is not as it seems.
The men wielding the knives (precious also, though they do not know it) are the prisoners of Death.
The twenty one men that they beheaded are miraculously, blessedly free.
This is the Great Paradox of Christianity. “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling over death by death.”
I have to believe that these twenty one martyrs are each in the kingdom of Light, interceding for their executioners.
“Lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy,” I thought desperately.
I could not help but weep, and hard. But by some small miracle I did not despair.
I only thought “What would I pray, if it were me kneeling on that beach?”
I’m not sure if she meant this intentionally, but the song has a St. Therese feel to it. Saint Therese of Lisieux wasn’t a martyr in the typical sense, but she considered herself one in the way that she lived her life. Listen for yourself by clicking on the video below.
11) Abide With Me: Originally written by Henry Francis Lyle, Audrey Assad gives new life to this Protestant Hymn. It’s a soft, gentle closing song to this album. It’s a calming, grounding track, like a light shining into the dark.
Overall, I highly recommend this album! It’s available on iTunes and Amazon. Click here and say: “Shut up and take my money!”