Review Date: 11/07/13
Review By: Lauren Kleist
Release Date: 09/27/13
Rating: 4/5

Steven Curtis Chapman’s first full-length studio album with all original material in seven years, The Glorious Unfolding, finds him still delivering the quality music we have all come to love and expect over 26 years from this master song-smith. Sadly, the tragic death of Chapman’s youngest daughter Maria, five years ago, has forever changed his music but, although some of the spark of past albums is definitely missing, Chapman has something to say and, as usual, he says it with creativity and panache.

The album holds your interest with its mix of styles, ranging from the hooky pop of the first radio single, “Love Take Me Over” to the earthy bluegrass strains of “Feet of Jesus.” And, of course, there are some standout gems.

The title song, “The Glorious Unfolding,” is a driving anthem referencing the unfolding story of life. Chapman explains, “Jeremiah 29:11 says ‘I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord and these are plans to give you hope and a future.’ The idea of this unfolding story has been the overarching theme as I started thinking about this season of life. How can I share that in an encouraging way with others that listen to my music and know my story? It’s like God saying, ‘I know the story I’m telling. Will you trust me?’”

The song, “Together” is a tribute to Chapman’s wife, Mary Beth, and a testament of their love and of God’s mercy that has held them together, even through horrendous circumstances. Says Chapman, “Statistics show that 90% of marriages don’t survive the loss of a child. The fact that we are together celebrating 29 years of marriage is a testimony to God’s faithfulness and God’s grace.” Listen closely, and you’ll notice that Chapman has woven the melody of “I Will Be Here,” the song he wrote for Mary Beth 25 years ago, throughout in the strings.

Only One and Only You” is a sweet song written for Chapman’s daughter, Shaohannah. The poignant lyrics state, “You’re better than a Beethoven symphony/ And Mona Lisa wishes she could be a masterpiece like you/ More than any Michelangelo/ When I look at you I know/ There’s no other masterpiece like you/ You are the only one and only you.” Chapman says, She’s 13, which tells you a lot of what you need to know about her. It’s that wonderful, incredibly awful time to try to be a young lady in this world and culture. I’m just very, very proud of her and I wanted to just write a song to tell her how amazing she is.”

“The theme [for the album] was this idea that God will complete the story and in fact, He already has completed it and knows the ending,” Chapman says. “Yet a part of the mystery is that He is revealing it in our lives and it’s this unfolding, incredible tale of His love for us. This album gave me a chance to tell that, to celebrate loss and hope and new life. For all of that, I’m really grateful.”

You can purchase The Glorious Unfolding on Chapman’s official website, download it on iTunes, or find it at other fine retailers.

To keep up with Steven Curtis Chapman, like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter and Instagram. Also, check out his latest videos on Youtube, and enjoy the official lyric video for “Love Take Me Over” below.

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