Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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Freedom (EP) – Justin Bieber
*** ½

Justin Bieber released this surprise six-song EP on Easter, just two weeks after he had released his latest album, the chart-topping Justice. The project, which includes several collaborations, features lyrics clearly affirming Bieber’s faith and trust in Jesus as his savior. My only criticism, and it’s a minor one, is that the energy falls off a bit with the final three songs, after opening with three upbeat songs.
Here are a few brief comments about each song:

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review and a review of Live from the Woods, Vol. 2 by NEEDTOBREATHE
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

Freedom – This song was written by Bieber, BEAM, Boi-1da, Jordan Douglas, Don Mills and Vinylz. It was produced by CVRE, Boi-1da, Vinylz and Mills, and features BEAM. This song about the freedom of salvation has a beat driven by bass and percussion.
Key lyric:
Children, you are forgiven
Ain’t nothin’ you could do for you to change that
And everythin’ you did, He erased that
Yeah, He took it all and threw it in the wasteland

All She Wrote – This song was written by Bieber, Brandon Love, Boi-1da, Leigh Elliot, Sean Momberger, Gerald Levert, Chandler Moore and Vinylz. It was produced by Momberger, Lee Major, Boi-1da and Vinylz, and features Moore and Love. The song samples “It’s Your Turn” by Levert. It is about turning our lives over to Jesus. We can’t save ourselves. We need a savior.
Key lyric:
I keep failin’ myself, I need somethin’ new
So I lay my life down, I give it all to You

We’re in This Together – This song was written by Bieber, Paimon Jahanbin, Nima Jahanbin, Isaiah Johnson, Federico Vindver and Angel Lopez. It was produced by Lopez, Vindver, DJ Alizay and Wallis Lane. This song features bass and percussion. Bieber tells his story, from playing drums at two, to making a million by seventeen. He had everything that people strive for. When everything hit the fan, God was with him and is the reason he is still standing. The song, which includes some brief adult language (a clean version is available), ends with a prayer.
Key lyric:
Gave His life upon the cross to wash our sins away 

Where You Go, I Follow – This song was written by Bieber, David Bowden, Judah Smith, Jonathan Gateretse, O’necean Gordon, Tarik Henry, Lenard Ishmael and Luig Majr Tiano. The song was produced GOATSMANS, and features Smith, Chandler Moore and Pink Sweat$. The song, which features guitar, bass and percussion, is about following Jesus, who rose on the third day, beating death once and for all. The song ends with a spoken piece by pastor Judah Smith.
Key lyric:
Where You go, I follow
You’re with me every step of the way 

Where Do I Fit In – This song was written by Bieber, Tori Kelly, Tarik Henry, O’necean Gordon, Luigi Majr Tiano, Lenard Ishmael, Judah Smith, Jonathan Gateretse and Chandler Moore. The song was produced by GOATSMANS, and features Smith, Moore and Kelly. The beautiful song has a slow pace driven by keys, and is about trusting God during times of fear and our darkest days. The song ends with a spoken piece by pastor Judah Smith.
Key lyric:
But then you remind me that you’re holding me tight
You say the past is behind me and it’ll be alright

Afraid to Say – This song was written by Bieber and Julian McGuire. It was produced by Bieber and JulesTheWulf, and features Lauren Walters. The song features acoustic guitar and piano, speaks of cancel culture, wondering if we have the room to make mistakes, or are we judged for everything we say. The song ends with a spoken piece by Lauren Walters.
Key lyric:
We can’t write people off
God never writes us off 

Best songs:
All She Wrote
We’re in This Together
Where You Go, I Follow

Live from the Woods, Vol. 2 – NEEDTOBREATHE

NEEDTOBREATHE follows their previous live albums – 2015’s Live from the Woods and 2018’s Acoustic Live Vol. 1 – with Live from the Woods Vol. 2, recorded outdoors March 12-14 at The Caverns in Pelham, Tennessee. This is their first live project since founding member Bo Reinhart left the band, the band now consisting of vocalist/guitarist Bear Rinehart, bassist Seth Bolt and keyboardist Josh Lovelace. The songs on this collection focus on the band’s most recent album, with 8 of the 17 tracks coming from the band’s August 2020 album Out of Body, which the band didn’t get to tour behind because of the pandemic. Three songs come from their 2009 album The Outsiders, 2 from 2014’s Rivers in the Wasteland, and one from 2016’s Hard Love, 2018’s EP Forever on Your Side, 2011’s The Reckoning and 2007’s The Heat.
NEEDTOBREATHE has always been known as an excellent high energy live band, and they prove it again on Live from the Woods Vol. 2. It’s obvious that they are energized to be performing in front of a live audience again. I enjoyed every song on this album, which features more than an hour and a half of music. Highlights for me included a blistering version of “Prisoner” from their 2009 album The Outsiders, “Who Am I” from 2020’s Out of Body, “Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now” from 2014’s Rivers in the Wasteland, the rarely played “Garden” from The Outsiders, “Brother” from Rivers in the Wasteland, and the unplugged Encore Medley: “Something Beautiful” from The Outsiders, “White Fences” from 2011’s The Reckoning, and “Washed by the Water” from 2007’s The Heat, with the audience singing along.

  • Good God Almighty. Enjoy the video for Crowder’s “Good God Almighty”, from his upcoming album Milk & Honey, which will be released June 11.


Mercy’s Shores by NEEDTOBREATHE

This weeks’ song of the week is “Mercy’s Shores” by NEEDTOBREATHE from their new live album Live from the Woods Vol. 2. The album was recorded outdoors at The Caverns in Pelham, Tennessee March 12-14. Watch the performance of the song here.

My arms are tired and weary
These wounds are on full display
I’ve tried every door in the hallway
There’s just nowhere that I feel safe
I see the light but never find the surface
I don’t know if I can swim no more
White knuckles and wild horses
One day we’ll wash up on mercy’s shore
One day we’ll wash up on mercy’s shore
(Ooh oooh oooh oooh)
[Verse 1]
I’m lost in the waves that crush me
They bring discovery where darkness hides
Just over the ridge in front of you
Another mountain that you’ll have to climb

[Verse 2]
We’re a child in the car asleep
In the driveway at night
Our mother’s gonna slowly sneak
Our body inside
We can rest in the arms of trust
There’s no way that we can say
We’ve earned our way into light
All we have to do to is stay
I’ve been battling a broken heart
Everybody knows I’m torn apart
Since I was eight years old and I thought that
God was a girl in my school
If we can wind up on a sandy beach
Breathin’ air that only death can reach
And singing songs that only heaven leaves
It’s okay with me
And God is wanting us to make believe
But knowing something is only a dream
Like the absolutes and the in-between
Are out of line, sometimes, intertwined, behind
A mind, in line, and fights that only fools are still trying to fight

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

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