Released August 13, 2013
Earlier this year, Audrey Assad began a Kickstarter campaign for her next album, which was to be “an indie record for the Church.” Her fans excitedly rallied behind her and behind this record, and by the end of the campaign she had received almost double her goal. For the resulting album, Fortunate Fall, Audrey was able to step out of the already distinct singer-songwriter style that defined her last album and instead present a quiet, genuine, and beautiful record that refreshingly defies the cookie-cutter and cliché standards of modern worship music.
Musically, it sounds like Audrey has essentially left behind all of the upbeat elements from her past work, leaving her with a quietly serene sound that allows her piano and vocals to shine more than ever before. This type of sound has always best served her performance and songwriting (especially in past songs “Restless,” “Lament,” and “O My Soul”), so here just about every moment is simply beautiful. If it’s any indicator, I was close to shedding some tears at several points throughout my first listen, especially during “I Shall Not Want,” which is easily the most poignant song on the record and the strongest representative of the record’s sound as a sweet arrangement of strings backs Audrey’s piano and vocals while she prays for humility and contentment.
Fortunate Fall is also Audrey’s most cohesive work to date. There is a constant theme of God’s goodness in the midst of sorrow and pain, and that theme plays out beautifully from beginning to end. “Good To Me” is the most straightforward example of this with a simple chorus that only repeats, “You are good to me, good to me;” a fitting refrain for the verses that reveal a heart that seeks to worship the Lord in all of life’s circumstances. Meanwhile, “Humble” wonderfully reflects on the mind-blowing fact of Christ’s humanity, “Lead Me On” takes many cues from Psalm 23 and praises God for being the Good Shepherd, and “Help My Unbelief” is a beautiful prayer for an increase of faith.
Does Fortunate Fall have any issues at all? The album consistently showcases the style where Audrey’s musical abilities shine brightest, and her lyrics are beautifully worshipful; perhaps my only issue with the album is that the songs are so strong through most of the album that later tracks “Spirit of the Living God” and “Lead Kindly Light” end up falling a little short (although both tracks are still quite good). Overall, the sheer collective quality of all the songs makes Fortunate Fall a truly remarkable and stunning achievement, especially considering this is Audrey’s first record of full-on church music. Don’t miss the most beautiful record of the year.
Standout Tracks: “I Shall Not Want,” “Humble,” “Lead Me On,” “Good To Me”