Matthew West is gearing up to release his new album Live Forever on April 28, and BREATHEcast was able to get a sneak peek at his next compilation of inspiring stories.
"It was important this time around to say that there is joy in this life," West shared in a press release. "With so much defeat all around us, people need to know there is victory. Maybe my job in reading a lot of these desperate stories is to extract the hope, to say 'God is a God of hope.' This was a very decisive album, in that way."
West opens the album with the title track "Live Forever," which carries infectious energy and an upbeat tone. "I want to make it count, I want to live forever...86,400 seconds, make em count, make em matter, we can now live forever!" The song is all about using your life to live beyond the now and make our precious moments mean more.
"Day One" is about the first day the person has decided to change their life and build upon the message of the first song. It is about moving past the mundane and beginning to take control of the vision and path of your life.
Up next is "The List" which West nails with a light vocal and a pretty piano and orchestral arrangement before breaking into a big EDM-like chorus. "Love keeps no record of wrong...come unto me, all who are weary and I will give you rest" he sings, echoing the words of Christ as encouragement and a reminder of God's love.
"World Changers" is inspiration to the people out in the world making a difference to "don't you ever lose that fire in your soul...This world is never gonna change you cause your going to change the world." A true world changer does not care about the fame or money, but instead is looking to help anyone and all who need it.
The next track "Grace Wins," feels a bit like a modern worship tune and is a reminder to not "lie down in death's defeat" because God's grace will win every time. West sings about the "war between guilt and grace" and how when God calls us we will "rise in victory."
West's vocals on "Tryin'" are excellent and are among the most fun on the album. Between his vibe and folky music, it feels almost like a musical number in a play. The message is simple, do not be someone other than you.
"Mended" starts with some intense violin, and follows with a perfect overlay of West's vocals to match. "You see nothing but damaged goods, I see something good in the making, I'm not finished yet. Where you see wounded, I see mended," he sings, again reflecting on how God views his children.
"Anything is Possible" is based off one of the many letters West gets from fans sharing their personal stories of struggle and life with them. "If love can fix a bursted heart like mine, put it back together every single time, turn my mess into a miracle anything is possible." These lyrics are so powerful and ring true for a lot of people, making this track one of the more relatable ones on the album.
The following track, "Born For This" is about people finding and knowing they were meant to do something with their life at this "perfect moment." There are no more questions to be asked when our calling is discovered; it is what God ordained for us.
"Oh, Me of Little Faith" is pretty stripped down and prominently features an acoustic guitar. It is about the doubt we all face throughout daily life, and us asking God for faith, hope, peace, love, and strength. Every section of the verses encompasses another one of those strong feelings.
"Heaven is the Hope" is the last track on the regular addition of the album. It has a southern country blues feel to it with the horns section, organ, and rickety guitars. The name of the song is something all Christians should strive for. Our final resting place will be eternal, and this is where we need to make sure we are.
The first deluxe track is an acoustic version of "Day One." It's nice to hear the song so simplified without all the production.
The next song, "Homecoming" is a sad song about a girl who got into an accident while driving home from trying a dress on for her homecoming. The family has to unfortunately lay the girl to rest and treat her funeral as her homecoming into heaven where she got to wear that red dress. Now God can welcome her home.
"Untold" begins with a soft and piercing piano and vocal part. West's voice seems pretty vulnerable here, as the song is a gentle ballad about an unborn child. West sings as if he is the unborn child, a "story untold." This is undoubtedly drawn from one of the letters he received from his fans about a canceled abortion, "Don't close the book on me yet, I still got a long way to go. Empty pages to fill and the best part is still down the road."
West yet again has done a wonderful job of whittling down his over 40,000 story submissions and creating a masterfully themed album of hope and joy through sadness. Live Forever features just the right amount positive and struggle in it to make a perfect balance of music. This album is sure to build on and perhaps even surpass the success of Into the Light.
Live Forever track listing:
1. Live Forever
2. Day One
3. The List
4. World Changers
5. Grace Wins
8. Anything is Possible
9. Born For This
10. Oh, Me of Little Faith
11. Heaven Is The Hope
12. Day One (Acoustic)/bonus track
13. Homecoming (bonus track)
14. Untold (bonus track)
Live Forever is now available for pre-order. The pre-order at iTunes includes two instant downloads - the album's first radio single, "Day One," as well as the title track. Additionally, two more instant downloads will become available leading up to the album's release. Those who have pre-ordered Live Forever will also receive "World Changers" on April 14, followed by "Grace Wins" on April 21. The album is also available for pre-order at Amazon and Google Play.
BC interviewed West a few months ago and spoke to him about a variety of topics. To read about how West has sorted through over 30,000 stories and the writing process of his next album, read part two of his interview here. To read about West's love for the Kansas City Royals and his theme songs for the team, click here. Read about West speaking on being inspired by a young girl with cancer here. Read part four about his inspiration and playing some high profile shows here.