Probably most of the people who pick up this album will know about the incredible tragedy the Chapman family faced back in the spring of 2008 when of their daughters was killed in a tragic accident. I remember thinking after hearing about the tragedy that Chapman’s next album would likely be much different than previous efforts.
“Beauty Will Rise” is a raw emotional journey that will bring images to your mind of tragedies that have occurred in your own life. The emotion that Chapman puts into these songs makes them resonate on an incredibly deep level as he struggles with emotions and the implications of death and grieving on his faith. It is very difficult to give an adequate review of such a personal album. Most of the songs are slow and contemplative and often have a less produced sound as most of the songs were not recorded in a studio but on a tour in hotel rooms and empty stadiums. This only adds to the emotional impact of the songs as they sound like Chapman could be playing the songs in your own living room.
This is not an album you want to listen to over and over but it is one you will turn to when you face struggles in life. Chapman was able to craft an album that plays out much like the book of Psalms in that it is brutally honest in its questions but always finds the answer in God.
In conclusion, the album definitely is surrounded by a shroud of sadness, but Chapman does not let the sadness give way to hopelessness. Each song that deals with loss and grief ends with a note of hope. The final song on the album, “Spring is Coming” is a hopeful anthem about the bleakness of winter giving way to the beauty and hope of new life that comes with spring. The song is a fitting ending for an album that, while often tinged with grief and questions, always finds grace and hope in Jesus.
I think it is fitting to close out a decade of war, terrorism, financial disaster, and fear of pandemics with a note of hope. My friends, spring is coming and Jesus wins.