Joyful Noise are a fresh collaboration of songwriters that have come together around a passion for Jesus, music and God’s family, the church. Despite the challenges of lockdown, they have managed to record and release a strong debut EP, full of helpful, singable songs for congregations. If this first contribution is anything to go by, it would be well worth getting behind their second recording project. This group are keen to produce quality music that will serve local churches, and I’d encourage you to consider backing them.
I have appreciated their contribution so far by way of their EP ‘Come People of God’ along with the accompanying resources they provide. Here’s what I’ve found helpful about the songs and their approach:
Come People of God
Songs for churches are especially helpful when they clearly achieve something we should be doing when we gather as God’s people. This opener serves well as a call to worship, inviting us to draw near to God through the new and living way that Jesus has opened. Musically, there is a strong Getty-esque 6/8 feel (without feeling like a Getty song!) Lyrically, the verses do a good job of applying this access we have to our present, our future, and the journey in between. A good opener!
Jesus I Will Walk with You
A reflective song of personal commitment to Christ inspired by the encounter on the Emmaus road (Luke 24). The words of dedication are nicely balanced by the recurring line “for Jesus walks with me,” reminding us that the power of Christ sustains us on our walk with him. Would work well as a song of response to God’s word or around times of intercessory prayer. Strong singable melody – a feature of many of the songs on the EP!
Is Anything Too Hard for You
Speaking of melodies, I also like it when writers don’t only confine themselves to the most simple melodies possible. After all, there are only so many combinations available to us in that style without sounding same-y. This song might be a personal favourite as it is not afraid to be musically interesting while still doing a great job of expressing the words. And the words themselves are a comforting reminder of the limitless power of our God. Nothing is too hard for him. Nobody is too lost for him. Nowhere is too dark for him to work.
Your Cross, O Lord
This song is (so far) the most played on Spotify from this EP, and with good reason. I love the extra effort that Joyful Noise made with this recording – to gather congregational voices from over 70 churches during lockdown. This underlines their desire for their songs to serve such congregations. Once again incredible melody work (I had to check it wasn’t an old Scottish folk tune!) Worth persevering with the 3/2, 2/2 time signature – it actually serves the song well – pauses are long enough for a breath but not long enough for congregations to be twiddling thumbs. Lyrically, this is the strongest poetry on the record. For example, “consuming sin in mercy’s blood…and e’en the sun did bow in grief as darkness crowned our darkest day…” The song’s premise is to apply the work of the cross to our lives as Christians. It does this successfully, without glossing over the heart of what the cross achieved.
Take Me to That Ancient Hill
A modern take on the style of song exemplified by “There Is a Green Hill Far Away” – a narrative song that brings the cross to mind, expressing a desire to be taken there afresh. If you’re seeking to encourage followers of Jesus in their identity in Christ and their battle against sin, this is a good song to have in your armoury.
No Greater Hope
Written during Easter 2020 – the first Easter of the pandemic. And appropriate for any Easter, or any time the hope of the resurrection is needed. The words bring assurance to the believer and have hints of 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15 in them. Many are currently hoping for the end of restrictions. But there is no greater hope than the resurrection.
Music for all the above songs is available free on the Joyful Noise site. This includes full piano scores, helpful introductions to each song from scripture, plus a list of themes for each song, showing you where they would fit well in your services.
Do consider adding these songs to your church repertoire, and if you like what you hear – get behind the upcoming new EP from Joyful Noise here.