Review: Aaron Gillespie – Anthem Song


BEC Recordings

March 8 2011

Reviewed By Tyler Hess

Aaron Gillespie’s musical journey has been chronicled like few others over the past year, as he went from being behind the drum kid for metalcore giant Underoath, a band he had been in from the beginning, to focusing on  what was once his side project “The Almost” and now putting forth a solo worship album.  Working with renowned producer Aaron Sprinkle, Gillespie ventures into new territory, going from the mainstream market with mass appeal to church songs, which would sound unnatural if you had never heard him sing.

Anthem Song opens with “All Things”, leading the way in an album that sounds much like a softer version of the pop rock “The Almost” musically, with lyrics that could be heard any given Sunday morning in faithful congregations.  The vocals haven’t changed and the repetitive nature of the lyrics that could be heard in “Monster Monster” are just as present here.  Paul Baloche’s “Hosanna” is covered with the second track and is nothing less than proof that it is really difficult for anyone to come out with a worship album that doesn’t feature cover songs.  Maybe they just sell better that way.

“Washed Away” is the album’s first real surprise, with a slower piano pop song that makes for some really chill listening, though I’ve never understood how this song is supposed to work in a sing-along format with the church body, despite the pleasantness it is in the vacuum of the album here.  “Earnestly I Seek Thee” goes even simpler with a hymn (possibly derived from Psalm 63), showing Gillespie even has diversity with a genre, not just from genre to genre, but highly dependent on one’s approval of his peculiar vocals.

If there’s a song that deserves to be played from town to town it’s the pop rock hit “We Were Made For You” as the lyrics sing out “You are God, You are God, We will live for you, Everything we do”.  After that Gillespie gets strung out with an acoustic guitar tune, “I Will Worship You”, depicting just what we need to do when the times are tough.  That is sandwiched in between two songs that will make the radio, as the title track “Anthem Song” follows with a rather typical Aaron Gillespie repetition saying “You are holy, You are Holy, Before You we Bow Down, You are worthy, Your anthem we sing loud”.

In case there was any doubt, Gillespie makes it clear who he is worshiping, as “You Are Jesus” fondly reflects on who Jesus is and what that means to him.  “You Are My Everything” busts down the door with the booming electric guitars, before possibly my favorite song on the album in “Your Song Goes On Forever”, which really should be the anthem of any Christian that loves to worship with music.  Anthem Song then closes with a rolling acoustic track, “I Am Your Cup”.

For those of you looking for some ground breaking material in the genre, you’re not likely to find anything in here that will rock your socks.  However, if you’re a fan of the genre is and you happen to dig Aaron Gillespie’s vocals, then you’re in for a real treat.  I personally tend to put up with the former because of the heart behind it, but I dig the latter enough to approve of it overall.

Grade: 4

Tracklisting:

  1. All Things
  2. Hosanna
  3. Washed Away
  4. Earnestly I Seek Thee
  5. We Were Made For You
  6. I Will Worship You
  7. Anthem Song
  8. You Are Jesus
  9. You Are My Everything
  10. Your Song Goes On Forever
  11. I Am Your Cup
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