An encouragement to Miley, Katy, Taylor, Britney and Lady Gaga. Mandisa has crafted a near masterpiece of pop that could serve as a soundtrack for all who seek recovery from our fallen state.
Label: Sparrow Records
Length: 11 tracks/41 minutes
Miley, you are getting lots of attention, albeit for reasons that you may regret some day. You have a monster following, Lady Gaga, but where are you leading? I wonder, Katy, without any condemnation from me, if you remember your first love. Of course, I’m not speaking of a guy, but the God you sang about before your rise in popularity. Taylor, you are a class act, even when you sing about relationships that don’t work out. I’m sorry, Britney, that the chaotic time you went through became a spectacle.
Even though you all standout in the world of pop music, for me, Overcomer, by Mandisa exceeds your work in a crucial way. In short, it’s because it is God-haunted. Mandisa’s faith in Christ permeates the lyrics, offering truth and hope, which our world needs more than ever.
Overcomer may never get the same attention as your releases. Your works will out-sell hers, but this surpasses in glory because she extols the God of glory. It adds a dimension missing from a lot of music, much like putting God at the center of marriage deepens it.
As I listen to the title track, I can sense God’s strength supplanting my weakness. It’s remarkable that no matter where we find ourselves, he pursues us to close “The Distance.”
“This shouldn’t be complicated/This isn’t that hard to see/It’s not about what I do for you/It’s what you’ve done for me,” Mandisa sings in “Back to You.” The music conveys some of the joy found in that realization. Believing in what Christ has done gives us the hope that we will see him “Face to Face.”
I write to encourage, not condemn. Just as in “Joy Unspeakable,” Mandisa begins it this way, “This is not another song about all we’ve done wrong/We already know/I think it’s time for us to find the freedom and trust of letting go.” It’s ironic that it’s through surrender that we know true liberty. As hard as it might be for me to submit to others, it can provide rest and protect me from making mistakes. Jesus said come to me, and I will give you rest.
Though it runs counter to our culture, it’s wise to keep oneself pure for a future spouse, as on “Praying for You.” Otherwise, say hello to needless heartbreak. Someone may say it’s too late, but we can begin again right where we find ourselves. Even when we fail, as we all do, “What Scars are For,” looks at past wounds as reminders of God’s faithfulness. It’s not that he inflicts them; he heals us. “They teach me that my brokenness is something that you can use/They show me where I have been/And that I am not there anymore/That’s what scars are for.”
“Where You Begin” is such a great reminder that God starts when we come to the end of ourselves. On “Dear John,” one friend tenderly affirms to another that there is freedom on the other side.
With all the fame and accolades that you enjoy, I hope you won’t dismiss the work of a former idol contestant. She has crafted a near masterpiece of pop that could serve as a soundtrack for all who seek recovery from our fallen state.
The production is impeccable. The music rivals anything on Top 40. It’s immediately accessible but it has depth. Best of all, it deals with the spiritual, which is the real root of our problems.
Maturity does not come easily. Overcomer is like a roadmap to follow.