It's hard to believe that Invisible Empires is Sara's tenth album. After the beautiful and mellow Fireflies and Songs, she has a little more of an electric feel in the new project. Her new producer is Steve Hindalong, drummer/songwriter for The Choir and co-author of "God of Wonders," who has produced The Violet Burning, Caedmon's Call and By The Tree. I like the result, and hope they work together again.
"I'll Wait" is one of my favorites, partly because of the powerful lyrics of trust in God, and partly because it has electric guitars, not something I normally associate with her music. The lyrics would be great in any case, but the combination is perfect.
"Scientists in Japan" starts off sounding very much like Sara Groves, opening with piano and her melodic voice in ballad mode. Then you stop and think, "did she just sing something about scientists in Japan building robots? That doesn't sound like Sara's lyrical style." But, you heard right. It's an unusual song about bioethics, originally written in response to a conference speaker's challenge. She didn't expect it to be on the album, but I'm glad it is. The song makes you think about our responsibilities, consistent with Jurassic Park's Dr. Ian Malcolm, who said, "Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should." She's raising similar questions about our world.
"Eyes On The Prize" is another up-tempo standout, dedicated to the work of International Justice Mission. IJM seeks to help victims of sex trafficking and enslavement.
The project closes with "Finite," written by Groves and Jill Phillips as a response to Chaka Khan's "I'm Every Woman." While the latter proclaims,
"I'm every woman, it's all in me / Anything you want done, baby I'll do it naturally / I'm every woman, it's all in me / I can read your thoughts right now / Every one from A to Z"
Groves balances motherhood (three children) with her public persona by acknowledging
"I'm not every woman, it's not all in me ... // This frenetic fascination's really driving me insane / Anybody feel that? / Anybody feel that? / Anybody feel that? / I'm finite"
Yes, Groves is finite, but she consistently points us to the God who is infinite, finding new ways to express her thoughts and allowing us to share in her journey. We should all be thankful for that.
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