Dustin Kensrue of the post-hardcore/experimental band Thrice released a worship album this past year, entitled The Water and the Blood.

Simple songs to draw close to God

How a worship album finally made my annual Top Ten list

One evening at the end of each December, I get together with seven or eight of my music-fanatic friends to discuss our favourite music from the past 12 months. We each make a list of our Top 10 favourite albums of the year, play songs from those albums for each other, and talk about why the albums made our list.

It’s early December as I write this, and I’m contemplating what will make my list. Much to my surprise, for the first time ever, a worship album will likely make the cut.

The album in question is The Water & The Blood by Dustin Kensrue, released this past September through Mars Hill Music and BEC Recordings.

That a worship album will make it onto my Top 10 list surprises me because I’m not the biggest fan of worship music. As Kensrue pointed out in an article he wrote for TheResurgence.com the day The Water & The Blood came out, a lot of worship music is “full of unhelpful and unhealthy theology.” Worship music culture is often “insulated and backward-looking,” and no longer has any relation “to any music outside of its own bubble.”

The Water & The Blood avoids making those mistakes. The album consists of 11 simple songs for worship that focus on drawing closer to God in times of both triumph and struggle.

“God is Good,” the fifth track, is perhaps the album’s best. It’s a reminder that even when life does not seem to be working out, and we are not sure of where things are going, we can trust—and lean on—a God who is good.

Kensrue first made a name for himself as the guitarist/vocalist in the post-hardcore/experimental rock band Thrice, which released eight albums over the course of 14 years before disbanding in 2012.

While Thrice’s music was never marketed specifically to a Christian audience, Kensrue’s spirituality always found a way into the band’s lyrics.

In his article for TheResurgence.com, Kensrue explained how the songs he wrote for The Water & The Blood differ from the music he’s written in the past.

“The purpose of most previous songs I’ve written … was often simply to express things that I was feeling and thinking about through music, and to share that with others for our mutual benefit, growth and enjoyment. In a sense, the end was the song itself, or the listening to it, or the performing of it.”

The songs on The Water & The Blood also express thoughts and feelings to be shared with others, but they additionally have a narrower purpose, Kensrue explained: “That they would be songs that would be helpful and singable for groups of Christians gathered together to worship God.”

The Water & The Blood is full of well-written, meaningful songs that have helped me draw closer to God, and that I would love to sing in church with fellow believers. That’s why it’s making my list of favourite albums of 2013.

Whether you’re familiar with Kensrue or not, check it out today. You may just find some new songs to sing in church.

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About the author


Special to ChristianWeek

Aaron Epp is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer, Musical Routes columnist, and former Senior Correspondent for ChristianWeek.