Christian artist Plumb is gearing up to release her seventh studio album, Exhale, on May 4, and BREATHEcast had the opportunity to hear the album a bit early.
Plumb has a wonderful gift in the way she approaches songwriting, which can easily be described more as storytelling. Her ability to mood match the music with her incredible and earnest lyrics makes this album as powerful as the Savior she sings of.
Exhale follows her acclaimed Need You Now album which touched on Plumb's personal struggle through a down point in her marriage. This new album is her thanking God for getting her through the storm.
Plumb opens up the album with a breath of fresh air with "Exhale." It is a song that is almost reassuring to the listener of what is to come, "It's ok to not be afraid, this is a safe place...just let go there is love rapped around you, hold you close...breathe it in until your heart breaks and exhale" are just some of these affirmations.
"Lord I'm Ready Now" follows up the first track's message of breathing in and out, and now allows the person to move forward uninterrupted by the mess that may surround them. "I have nothing to hide, no reasons left to lie. Give me another chance, Lord I'm ready now, all the walls are down."
"Smoke" has a great presence to it as it stems from the opening music. The airiness matches not only the title but also the encompassing aura of God she is singing about. "You are the oxygen inside these weary lungs...you are my shelter when it all goes up in smoke," she sings fervently over violins and a starry piano.
The next song, "Resurrection," again builds on the last and sings of the rebirth of a person who receives God's clarity. The resurrection Plumb is singing of is not necessarily Christ raising from the dead, but God restoring that which was once dead. "I believe in resurrection, everything that's dead will come alive. I believe in restoration, better than before, stronger and secure."
"Great is Our God" is the praise and thanks that follows God doing a work in your life. Jesus as our "rock of salvation" will make His creation bow down under His mercy and declare, "Great is our God."
"My True Love" ups the dance pop element of the album, as it sounds like a light club song. However, if this song causes you to dance, dance with the conviction of God being the "true love" that everyone has. For the non-Christian, the song can be a cleverly disguised romantic love song, but with no confusion Plumb is singing about the Creator here.
The album comes down a bit in "Broken Places" before picking up again in the chorus. "You are strong in the broken places. I'm carried in your arms...there's healing in these scars" she sings. Again, Plumb sings of God's healing and restoring power to take these "broken" parts of a person and make them new again.
"Faithful" speaks of God's providence as the one who will "never leave us or forsake us." Plumb sings that sometimes when we "feel lost and alone" God comes and holds us close. This warm embrace of love is what makes God's grace a faithful promise for His children.
"Champion" is Plumb's way of saying Jesus was victorious in His crucifixion because He conquered death. "It was Your life that gave us our worth, you gave it all..." she sings before belting out "the day that ended death, the day that rescued us, no you didn't not hold back, you are the champion." Jesus is the unbeatable champion for those who call themselves Christians, which is reminder of the previously mentioned songs "Great is Our God," "My True Love," and "Faithful." Him being our champion in His resurrection sets the stage for everything else in life.
"Sleep will be Sweet" is about overcoming fear. The night and darkness is often times associated with nightmares and being scary. Plumb is saying, "When I lie down, I will not be afraid. When I lie down my soul will breathe again...when I lie down my sleep will be sweet." There is nothing to fear when you can rest in Jesus.
Up next is "When You Walk into the Room," which is a reflection of the song "Great is Our God." This time around, the song treats Jesus regally, as the mere sight of Him walking into the room exudes praise from those in His presence. It is a song of dedication sung to the Savior. There is a nice bridge part in the song that fills the room with a choir of voices. This creates a different dynamic than any other song on the album.
Back is the theme of resurrection and redemption with "Restored." This track is the last official non-deluxe song on the album. "All the fear, all the bitter, has disappeared...it's just a vapor now. All the shame, all the broken, that should be here, has left me now...I have been made whole." That incredible portrait of imagery is the lyrics that merely start the song off. The song is just an incredible foray into the passion and meaning of the message in this album.
"We Stand for You" is truly an anthem track that boldly proclaims "God we'll do anything for You." The inspiration is that God was able to send His son to die for us. He has been there through the darkness, and gave us life - why can't we "stand for you?"
Closing out the album is "You Are Enough." The song seems to tie together the entire album and touches on all the themes of restoration, faith, and the readiness to serve. She continues to push home that there is no other that "has fought for us. There is nothing stronger than your love" which is why he is worthy to be praised.
The theme of restoration is revisited over and over again, and is the driving force for this album. Every song on Exhale has a purpose and a succinct vision of what it needs to be to push her journey of peace in God along. For fans of the acclaimed singer, Plumb has never been better. This record combined with her last played back to back will give listeners the full 360 effect of someone who rose from the ashes using their faith is Christ as a crutch to overcome.
EXHALE track listing (* denotes bonus tracks on deluxe edition)
2. Lord, I’m Ready Now
5. Great is Our God
6. My True Love
7. Broken Places
10. Sleep Will Be Sweet
11. When You Walk Into The Room
*13. We Stand For You
*14. You Are Enough
Pre-order Exhale here.