While some could criticize mainstream Christian music as being “too safe” and unwilling to address the uglier sides of life, the Smallbone brothers Joel and Luke of For KING & COUNTRY continue to bust up the cliches of the Church culture.
2022’s ‘What Are We Waiting For?’ is no different. Refreshingly raw and authentic, the Smallbones use their songs to connect with people as they are, in their current broken state.
There’s no better example than the banging opener, ‘RELATE’. Pulsating with electronic beats and synthetic symphonies, the brothers showcase their signature harmony as they sing,
“Have you ever been left when you shoulda been loved?
Has there ever been a time when you stayed but you should’ve run?”
“Now, I don’t know what it’s like to be you
You don’t know what it’s like to be me
What if we’re all the same in different kinds of ways
Can you, can you relate?”
‘Broken Halos’ and ‘Love Me Like I Am’ build on the theme of holding each other up in authentic community without judgment, culminating with standout tracks, ‘Unity’ and ‘TOGETHER’.
On ‘Unity’, chanting choirs really push the chorus into the stratosphere and heighten the anticipation of getting back to live concerts to hear songs like this one in person.
Likewise, the album’s high point, ‘TOGETHER’, leverages the full power of guest singers Kirk Franklin and Tori Kelly. It’s not hard to imagine ‘TOGETHER’ showing up at Grammy season as it showcases the Smallbones’ favorite type of song, a rallying cry of hope for those who’ve been beaten down.
“If you’re lookin’ for hope tonight, raise your hand
If you feelin’ alone and don’t understand
If you’re fightin’ in the fight of your life, then stand
We’re gonna make it through this hand-in-hand
And if we fall, we will fall together
Oh, and when we rise, we will rise together”
‘Unsung Hero’ is another highlight that can’t be missed, rounding out the album with an achingly beautiful ode to the Smallbones’ parents and the sons’ promise to continue the legacy of sacrificial love.
The brothers of For KING & COUNTRY have described their mission as merging the strength of music with the heart, hope, and passion of the Gospel, “it has the ultimate power not only to change someone’s day but to impact them for eternity,” they’ve explained in a past interview.¹ “This is why we write music and sing songs – we hope that people will be moved, encourages, and stirred to live a life for Someone greater than themselves.”
That mission statement is fully realized in What Are We Waiting For?
And in a world still piecing itself together in 2022, the call for unity has never been more urgently needed for the body of Christ.
Take a listen and be encouraged, inspired, and moved. There’s no reason to wait.