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The Waiting Bibliography: (click on each album cover to view tracks and The Waiting lyrics)
The Waiting Biography
"We decided at the beginning that we wanted to make a record from a position of strength in Christ. We wanted to scream from the rooftops that we are full of joy; that we are happy and we are strong. I think we have done that. This record screams hope. It screams joy. It screams strength, and power and fun. And it doesn't just say it through the glimmer of hope during difficult circumstances that many of our previous records have done."
The man talking with the pride of a new papa is Brad Olsen, the frontman and primary tunesmith for the Atlanta-based foursome known as The Waiting. And the record he is bragging about is Wonderfully Made, an impressive ten-song collection of original songs that celebrate life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Produced by Bryan Lenox (Michael W. Smith, dc talk, SonicFlood) along with guitarist Todd Olsen, Wonderfully Made is The Waiting's first new album in three years, since their groundbreaking, Dove-nominated Unfazed, and their first on the inpop label.
Bolstered by critical acclaim, five #1 radio hits, and a pair of Dove Award nominations for Rock Album of the Year for their two previous projects, The Waiting celebrated the close of the 20th century by retreating to their native Atlanta for a period of introspection and inspiration. Now, with Wonderfully Made, The Waiting enters the 21st century in a decidedly more exuberant mood, ready to speak frankly about life, as it should be.
The result is an album full of songs that are at once every bit as introspective as you have come to expect from The Waiting, but that are brighter, richer, more light-hearted than ever before. "We did a large portion of this album at home in Atlanta," Brad explains. "When you get the guys together in that atmosphere it is going to be more relaxed."
"And we spent a lot of time digging down to the roots," Todd adds. "I think that is what is showing up here. It wasn't so much off-the-cuff songwriting as digging in and really getting at the root of who we are."
Despite the mood shift, the band still comes out swinging for the fence on "Wonderfully Made," the infectious title cut which was co-penned by Brad and Third Day's Mac Powell. Brad credits his current stint as youth pastor at his home church in Atlanta with giving him a little extra insight into the minds and temptations of the next generation. "Student years are tough years, and young people struggle with the lies they are constantly being fed," he says of the impetus for the song. "They struggle with a system that expects to fit them into its mold, even when they don't feel like they fit. We need to let young people know that they are wonderfully made, inside and out. And it is Christ in them that makes them worthy, so they don't need to struggle with feelings of unworthiness."
A remarkably upbeat album musically, for all its lyrical weight, Wonderfully Made investigates and celebrates the events of life-both good and bad-that make it worth living. From the awe-invested prayer "Every Word" (another tune co-penned by Brad and Mac Powell-they co-wrote four of the album's songs together) to the angst-ridden cry for mercy "Sleepless" the album grapples with complex emotions while compelling you to move-to-the-groove of some of the coolest music your stereo has tasted in years.
Simply put, The Waiting are communicators. Through a canny combination of brilliant songwriting, intuitive musicianship and deft production Wonderfully Made gently reminds you that while life is at times a messy affair, it is possible to live joyfully. And now I can see that Your love's not such a mystery, Brad sings in "Take Me As I Am." I don't have to be anything more than what's real.
That joy is evident on each of the ten tracks that make up Wonderfully Made. You can hear it in the tones of Brad's signature vocal stylings. You can feel it in Brandon's elastic drumming and Clark's rock-steady bass. You can sense it in the textures of Todd's swirling guitar riffs. Yet rather than being swept away by such evocative emotions, Wonderfully Made is anchored by the unyielding professionalism of producer Bryan Lenox.
"He really goes after, and will not quit, until he has the beautiful music," Todd says of his co-producer.
"The tracks that I sang for him have a life to them that I didn't even know I was capable of doing," Brad interjects. "He is so specific about what he wants, and he works you until he gets that specific thing. The concentration that it takes to do that is amazing."
The band is also quick to heap accolades on A&R director, Duncan Phillips (drummer for Newsboys). "He has been indispensible to us, pushing our cause and also not letting us put out anything that was not exactly right," Todd says. "His standard is so high - things that we might have let pass he wouldn't let pass. It is really good that we have that kind of support."
"Most of the days we were in the studio, Duncan was there, integrally putting in his opinion as we went along," Brad adds. "He is a strong musician and songwriter, so he obviously he had some pronounced opinions. It isn't the most common thing for A&R people from labels to be that involved for that extended period of time."
At two and a half years in the making, Wonderfully Made may be the album that finally defines The Waiting.
"You don't always feel the hand of Love weaving everything together until you look back on it," Todd says of the interval. "We definitely feel a sense of expectation. And I can look back now and see how God has been working on all of us in everything from our personal lives to character issues to our musicianship. This record really has our thumbprint on it. This is our best work ever. We feel very on-the-cusp and a little breathless - like we are on the bubble and ready to pop. But I don't think we feel everything we are going to feel, because when it is all over and done with, and we look back, that is when we are really going to see that strong hand of Love."