Steven Curtis Chapman brings to his craft - and to our ears - the well finessed interplay of pure foot-stompin' energy and reflective Christian faith. His music was always good. This 1999 release catches the artist at a time when he was elevating his game.
Fortunate the ears that hear.
The title track 'Speechless' is convincing precisely because Chapman seems not to be telling an old tale for the thousandth time but rather narrating his own trek higher up and deeper in. This, nothing else, is what explains the particularly appreciative nuance of his loyal fan base. They come back time and again, aware that Chapman will not be where he was. But neither has he forgotten where he came from, who he is, and that others are listening in.
It may be just my impression, but the band sounds tighter, more revved-up, more bought-in than ever. Yet Chapman has always inspired the musicians he fronts.
Chapman is not the servant of a tame religion. If he colors himself speechless in the title track, in 'Great Expectations' he professes to be near to places 'that I know so well", then:
'But dare I go where I don't understand And do I dare remember where I am I stand before the great eternal throne The one that God Himself is seated on And I, I've been invited as a son Oh I, I've been invited to come and ...
Believe the unbelievable Receive the inconceivable And see beyond my wildest imagination Lord, I come with great expectations'
This artist's narrated experience is dynamic rather than static, derivative rather than self-generated, horizon-moving rather than consolidating. Like the Psalms, in the track just cited Chapman moves from 'I' to 'We've been invited to come.' As an artist - the ancient biblical poets understood this well - Chapman is aware of the vocation of giving away his personal experience in order to provide words and, in his case, melodies to the worshipping community.
Chapman has always been a master of rhythm. This album is no exception, giving us as it does the complex and beguiling 'Next Five Minutes'. This track would leave its close listener bored or weary if it did not flow rhythmically with such organic ease, a perfect cooperation between drums and acoustic guitar laying down a track adequate for Chapman's voice to dance around it with an almost perfect storm of glee.
Yet Chapman is able to slow it down with similar dexterity, as the mournful ode to a lost child shows ('With Hope'). Chapman inserts an orchestral interlude called 'The Journey'--there's actually an *oboe* in there--before shutting things down with 'Be Still and Know', an altogether fitting bookend to the opener on a CD that is after all called 'Speechless'.
The biblical theologian Walter Brueggemann titled one of his works 'Abiding Astonishment'. The title could do double duty here. Worship, astonishment, speechlessness, exuberance, and finally solemnity and stillness. Steven Curtis Chapman has lost not a step.
The Journey is well worth it Apr 5, 2006
Easily his best album. I love the instrumental piece titled "The Journey." Two other great Christian releases are Delirious's "World Service" and D. C. Talk's "Jesus Freak." Lifehouse's self titled third album is also quite excellent.
still the best Sep 23, 2005
This album is awesome. I love the song Dive. This song kinda reminds me one of the songs that I used to sing in my church youth group. He always sings how a true christian (or should I say disciple) should feel. Especially in the song The Change. I saw him in concert in California. I was sixteen years old. The feeling that I had while I was at that concert was the best. I own all his albums. He never disapoints me. He is the main reason I listen to Christain music.
Take a leap of faith... Sink or swim I'm driving in Sep 4, 2005
I love this cd. It has great praise and worship music. Speechless has both great lyrics and rhythm. I love all of the songs on Speechless. Steven Curtis Chapman has such a soulful voice. I play them during daycare hours. My daycare toddlers love the music too.
My Favorite Jun 16, 2005
Steven Curtis Chapman is my favorite Christian artist and this album is my favorite from him. Speechless could have been a greatest hits album from beginning to end.
Anyone giving this a bad review doesn't know how to appreciate good music.
By the way, it's spelt "gangster" and "the" and "mouth". So pull your pants up and go back to school. (refering to earlier review)