Kari Jobe’s latest release The Garden is in essence a perfect musical depiction of what it is like to enter, experience, and leave a time of worship. Kari Jobe invites listeners to a place where you can see “redemption growing with the leaves”. With ambiental, colorful music and poetic, heartfelt lyrics, this release is a must- listen worship album.
Taking a turn from her typical style of music, the title track starts the album off on an ambiental note, inviting listeners into the ivy green atmosphere of “The Garden”. Imagine entering The Garden as entering a time in God’s presence. Instruments and soft vocals personify the comfort and beauty of that presence that Kari wishes to paint in the listeners’ minds when they listen. She sings, “I can see the ivy reaching through the wall/ because you will stop at nothing to heal my broken soul”. It’s a beautiful piece that takes the imagination on a trip to a place filled with vivid colors, overwhelming peace, and sets a calm and worshipful tone to the rest of the album.
Now immersed in the garden and enraptured in the presence of God, “Let Your Glory Fall” brings in verses with subtle music and vocals. The chorus is where the sound and vocals crescendo into a heart’s yearning for Christ. As we stand in the garden, Kari likens God’s presence to rain and his presence to a flood that overwhelms our lives. “Fall Afresh” is a similar song that invites the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts and “burn like fire within”.
“Heal Our Land” is a good one to be sung in church, because it is a prayer for the church to be unified. “Spirit of God/ breathe on your church/ pour out your presence/ speak through your word/ We pray in every nation Christ be known/ Our hope and salvation/ Christ alone” is the chorus Kari sings. The bridge continues the prayer of healing over the body of Christ, and it crescendos ever louder to circle back to the chorus.
Track 4 is a love song to Jesus, as He is the “Lover of My Soul”, and renders the moments of worship where we praise God for his love. The bridge is an invitation for Christ to “Fall in this place”, a longing for the presence of God. This song stands out because of its ethereal background vocals. Painted with soft vocals, simple lyrics, and a subtle choice of musical sound, “Speak to Me” is another prayerful song on the album, where it is easy to get lost in the worship.
“I Will Sing” comes from a place of deep trust in God “even when the shadows fall”. Musically, the strings and piano blend to take listeners even deeper into the garden during the interlude. Along the lines of trust, “Miracles” is a song about believing in God’s miracles. The bridge speaks of the amazing power of Christ: “the God who was and is to come/ the power of the risen one/ the God who brings the dead to life/ You’re the God of miracles.”
Featuring her husband Cody Carnes, “Closer to Your Heart” is a beautiful duet that speaks of the wonder and marvel we experience both in worship and as we draw closer to God. Even the music portrays a mystery that is to be unraveled. “Oh the Power” is an Easter song that exalts King Jesus and the power of the cross and Jesus’ love.
To close the album, a song of surrender, “The Cause of Christ” ends the album with the listener feeling refreshed and rejuvenated after the time of worship. With this newfound energy, listeners leave this time of worship inspired to live for Christ.
The theme of the album is presented brilliantly through depicting worship as entering a beautiful garden. The album’s music is predominantly stringy, ambiental, and soft in sound.The lyrics stir the heart and soul as honest cries to the Lord in praise or in sorrow. Kari Jobe cleverly places songs on here for every type of worship mood: prayerful, praise, and petition. The Garden is a place for all to come and leave feeling refreshed from the presence of God.