Music Review: Tenth Avenue North, "The Light Meets the Dark"



Tenth Avenue North has enjoyed stellar success as a new artist in Christian Music.  Their debut CD Over and Underneath crossed the 200,000 mark in total album sales and skyrocketed the group to headliner status among concert-goers and music lovers. 

They garnered a Dove Award in 2009 for Best New Artist of the Year, as well as a 2010 Dove Award for Song of the Year, for "By Your Side" - plus a nomination for 2010 Group of the Year.  In addition, Tenth Avenue North is one of the few debut bands that has experienced enough momentum to headline its own tour, the "Inside and In Between" Tour, with only one album under its belt.

So when you hit the top on your first go-around, where do you go from there?  The group's answer is their sophomore release, The Light Meets the Dark.

Lead singer Mike Donehey said this about the project, "The whole concept of the record is to be a sort of "next step" from the last record.  [In the first record], the whole goal was to beat the gospel into people's heads.  And by that we mean, the idea that we are far worse than we ever give ourselves credit for. But at the same time we are more loved and accepted than we dare to dream….Hopefully that next record is the next step, where if you actually believe the gospel, it starts doing things in you."

The issues mirrored in the songs reflect an all-encompassing process of how God comes into the broken aspects of our lives and changes the heart, tears down the walls, reshapes our priorities, and replaces our faults with the security of His love in believers. 

The production value for The Light Meets the Dark is polished and sophisticated.  It continues Tenth Avenue North's signature post-modern Adult Contemporary sound but it delivers a smoother multi-dimensional character; with silky background vocals and compelling instrumental textures.  Catch the addition of strings and piano on some numbers!  Check out "Strong Enough to Save" which has all these elements in place.  

One seminal theme that does continue in The Light Meets the Dark is Tenth Avenue North's proclamation of God's love and favor in the form of grace, not as a result of our works to gain His approval. 

So you thought you had to keep this up
All the work that you do so we think that you're good
And you can't believe it's not enough
All the walls you build up are just glass on the outside

So let them fall down
There's freedom waiting in the sound
When you let your walls fall to the ground – we're here now

This is where the healing begins
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you're broken within - The light meets the dark
The light meets the dark

It's a timely message wrapped in mature songcraft, given to a culture that grows more ignorant of God's nature.  If you spend any time with lead singer Mike Donehey, in person or in concert, you get a sense that the guy means business when it comes to proclaiming God's love.  The Light Meets the Dark is a great vehicle for this, and a great CD. 


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