Many songwriters can write a good tune expounding on some grand truth of Scripture. But only a great songwriter goes the extra mile: she is able to put a deeply thoughtful and human twist to a concept we think we have known so well. Many of us, for instance, have heard songs about trusting God in tough times. But how many songwriters can actually capture the first flush of melancholy when we first hear the news of the death of a loved one or when we know we have an incurable disease? How many tunesmiths can actually put in a song the feeling of when your world is just about to burst open like an overblown balloon over-pumped with heartaches? Few songwriters have that gift to tell lest to describe grief, pain, hope and faith in such graphic ways that we can't help but feel like the song is a mirror of our own hearts. Christa Wells can do this. Over the years, her writing portfolio is the evidence. With her pen behind Natalie Grant's No. 1 smash "Held," you can't help but feel the utter hopeless of a mother who just lost her child. Or Plumb ever-lingering-on-the-charts "Need You Know," Wells describes the longing for God with such desperation that the heart can burst at the seams. Now Christa Wells is back with her own brand new solo album "Feed Your Soul."
"Feed Your Soul" is Wells sophomore album following her one solo album ("Frame the Clouds"), two EPs ("Before the Tree Comes Down" and "How Emptiness Sings") and a collaborative album with Nicole Witt. However, unlike her other albums, "Feed Your Soul" is a deeply personal record where Wells gives articulation to issues of the heart often gagged because they are often too painful to deal with. On the piano driven ballad that calls to mind her composition "Held," "This is Not Going to Break You" deals with the sudden pangs of grief. Instead of spewing an erudite discourse on theodicy, Wells brings more comfort by identifying with us through her vivid descriptions and her sensitive nuances. "Come Close Now" will stop you in your tracks. So piercingly honest, this is a song that will bring comfort to those of us who are hurting. Combining the contemporary piano licks of Adele and a breezy "woo-ah" hook, "You Are My Defense" is a beautiful love song to Jesus Christ that is extremely heartfelt.
However, Wells is also one who is not afraid to get underneath our skin by challenging us into greater holiness via her songs. She has her cylinders out against our materialistic-crazed culture with the sassy "Vanity, Vanity." With blasting horns and an Elton John-like piano runs, Wells on the title cut "Feed Your Soul" re-contextualizes the teaching of Jesus found in Matt. 16:26. Challenging those of us who are opulent on the outside but scrawny in the soul, she acerbically pleads, "Feed your soul/If you are empty and your days are full/If you are empty and your house is full/If you are empty and your pockets are full/Feed your soul." On the other hand, the piano ballad "Being Loved" addresses an issue we often overlooked. In our independent society, we have an in-built hubris where we feel vulnerable when we are loved by others in our needs. "Being Loved" tells us to be gracious enough to enjoy the blessing of being cared for by others.
Though Wells' signature piano songs are in abundance here, she does keep her musical style diverse on this record. "The Way You Love Me" has an upbeat festive jazz feel that even boast some delightful use of horns. On the bright sparkling "Shine," Wells even trades lines with children towards the end of the song. All of this to say, "Feed Your Soul" is a delightful sonic buffet of sounds that will get us dancing, crying, rejoicing and praising. But lyrically, no one writes like Wells. Wells goes right into the heart. And she does give voice to emotions so raw, so tender and yet so real. The heart speaks through this record and it has never been more powerfully eloquent.