Gungor

March 22, 2010 — 6 Comments

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gungor

Gungor is the future sound of worship music. What is Gungor you ask?  Gungor is the last name of Michael Gungor, leader of a worship band out of Denver, Colorado who has been on a formative, spiritual journey since being Dove-nominated for his songs “Friend of God” and “Say So”.  Michael has struggled, like many of us worship leaders, with what can result from simply singing songs on a Sunday morning.  He says,

“If leading worship is just about bringing a group of people into a room so we can get goosebumps and sing songs together, there’s not much value in that. But if leading worship is a means to an end, that we leave this place as a different kind of people, as part of a new humanity that God wants to create – the people that are caring for the widows and orphans, that aren’t bound by the systems of this world but becoming free, becoming fully engaged in our world – then that matters.”

This type of profound, deeper understanding of worship comes through in all of Gungor’s lyrics.  In their latest (and greatest) album, Beautiful Things, Michael and the band sing songs not just about God, but thoughtful and meaningful songs about the Creator.  Michael describes the album as “an expression of hope that God will make beautiful things out of the dust in our lives, that God will somehow use us, use our obedience and love, our feeble human effort, and build Himself a kingdom.”  Michael has a keen use of progressive language that is difficult to find in the market and his heart, that yearns after the hope found in Christ, is memorable and contagious.

Beyond the honesty and desire to see new life and freedom “sprung up from this old ground”, Beautiful Things is an album that simply sounds fantastic (which is the only criteria for these Music Monday picks).  From sounds that will remind you of the ambience of Sigur Rós, to rocking hard like Muse, to the intimate, banjo backing tracks of Sufjan Stevens, the diversity of sound leaves the ears feeling happy.

The album is also extremely worshipful. By this, I mean that there is a reverence for God in songs that declare “Holy is the Lord, the Earth is yours and singing” to deeper, catchy lyrics like: “I don’t know what you’ve been told but heaven is comin’ down to the world”.  And this is what Gungor does.  They explore a lot of aspects of faith that other Christian artists don’t.  Every statement of theirs is loaded.  When they say “Heaven is coming down to this world”, they are implying that we should not just have a “life-after-death” focus and approach here on Earth (like is subconsciously taught by many Christian leaders), but that we can actually bring Heaven to Earth.  As Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is near” and represents a fundamental shift in theology and thinking that Michael taps into.  Gungor’s focus on social justice (sorry Glenn Beck), the majesty and mystery of the Lord, and the Kingdom of God shows the band’s theological maturity.  Even their cover art shows beautiful flowers springing up from all sorts of chaos (bombs, fighter jets, etc.).  My favorite lyric on the album is:

Only good things can ever come from you
Even your judgment is righteous and true

Awesome.

The final two items of praise I will share is that this is an album.  Many popular worship CD’s are focused on the singles – songs that are not connected in any sort of way (conceptually or musically).  Gungor, however, weaves together each song conceptually, but is also a free-flowing album.  It makes for a continuous worship experience that many worship CD’s miss out on.  Finally, Gungor makes music that is still singable for corporate congregations (well…at least sort of).  For some of Gungor’s songs, the songs would be very difficult to replicate or be able to be sung by large groups of people with a short window to learn the songs.  I think the learning curve would be too great and some of the technicality and variety of instrumentation would make it difficult for the “musically un-inclined” to replicate.  However, songs like “Higher”, “The Earth is Yours” or “People of God” could definitely be sung by congregations.  I’ve also thought that many pieces of their songs could be taken out and tacked on to other songs.  Part of the (good) problem is that Gungor makes creative music, but it makes it hard for evangelical worship bands to replicate with rotating volunteers (but I digress…).

You can pick up the physical copy here at Amazon, or just download the .mp3 version of Beautiful Things. This is a CD for fans of more popular worship music (i.e. Chris Tomlin, Paul Baloche, Kristian Stanfill) or for people who normally can’t stand worship music.  Also for fans of Robbie Seay Band, John Mark McMillan, or David Crowder.

Check out the songs below:

Title track of their latest album: “Beautiful Things”

“Dry Bones” – the first track on Beautiful Things

Call Me Out – This is a catchy/funky/fun song that shows some of the creativity of the band.

Higher – Would work for congregational singing.

Jonathan Sigmon

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6 responses to Gungor

  1. Holy crap! This is great stuff. I just saw their video for “White Man” and that brought back the IMG “Jesus Loves the Little Children” version. 🙂

  2. Awesome post, bro! Could not agree more. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and showing some love!

    PS – your blog is so dope! Definitely adding it to my google reader!

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