‘Rivers in the Wasteland’ gives same rhythm, new soul

Rivers in the Wasteland gives same rhythm, new soul

Brittany Cornelison

Music by Needtobreathe has topped my favorite playlists for years. Their playful instrumentals and unique (and very southern) vocals caress my soul. This band has walked the thin line between secular and Christian music for their entire existence, which has broadened their audience greatly.
Their most recent soundtrack was released just a little over a week ago, titled “Rivers in the Wasteland.” Needless to say, not even six hours after the release, this album’s songs were on repeat in my headphones. This has been a patiently awaited fascination however, since the last time this musical group came out with an album was over three years ago. In Sept. 2011, “The Reckoning” was released and named No. 1 Billboard Christian Album and No. 1 Rock Album in the same week. Their success in the past was not hindered with this new release.
“Rivers in the Wasteland” emerged on April 15 with 11 fresh tracks, reminding their listeners that they hadn’t gone far from the musical world. This long awaited album was more than I could have imagined. Each song, though with similar vibes, caught me in a different way.
Attention grabbers for me were “Difference Maker,” “The Heart” and “Wasteland.” These songs accentuate the band’s soulful tone as well as bring about a fun, catchy melody.
My church youth group has already, in less than a week, fallen in love with the song “Multiplied” from this album. Just this past week we sang it as a group and it caught on quickly. The lyrics are simple, as they go…
“Your love is like radiant diamonds
Bursting inside us we cannot contain
Your love will surely come find us
Like blazing wild fires singing Your name
God of mercy sweet love of mine
I have surrendered to Your design
May this offering stretch across the skies
And these Halleluiahs be multiplied.”
The deep meaning behind simple lyrics is what makes Needtobreathe stand out to me as a band. They are able to take sweet truths and transform them into enticing tracks.
Months ago, I attended a Needtobreathe concert here in Columbia at the Blue Note. I was blown away by how eerily similar the live production of their songs matched with their flawlessly gritty sounds on their albums. Though I had seen them in concert before and have been a fan for years, the joyful soul of their music never fails to impress and intrigue me. Lead singer, “Bear” Rinehart, as he is called, talked to the audience for a few minutes about how the release of their new album was going to be a milestone for them. For years, he said, the band had focused on their music, not their heart for God, the true reason why they had started playing. Now with this new album they felt like they could write a new story, one that was focused in the right place. And that’s exactly what I believe they have done.
By Brittany Cornelison