John McKivergan - 'Why'
Reviewer: Vai Thomas & Staff
One of the hallmarks of Christian Rock music is its unparalleled ability to intertwine anthemic melodies and dynamic arrangements in order to uplift the Divine. It's reliance upon the Book and moral themes also contribute towards the songwriting. These two traits, put together, and by the adept musician, have always given a stupendously powerful effect that is bound to linger in the minds and lives of the listener long after the first listen. And these traits, and much more, are very much found in American Christian Rock artist John McKivergan’s track, titled ‘Why’.
Written in the key of D minor, "Why" is a resounding number – the opening number, in fact, of McKivergan’s debut album Where Divinity Meets Humanity. The song possesses the quintessential qualities of a Christian Rock number. Lyrically themed upon finding one’s purpose in life, upon striving to put God first in one’s life in order to be a better person, the songwriting in tandem with the instrumental arrangements are amalgamated quite nicely. The writing and performance reflect the emotional quotient and drive the afore-mentioned themes hitting the mark with lines such as “Using Your gifts to help others thrive is no doubt why I am alive” and “Following Your wisdom from idea to song being, touched hearing it helped someone along” – straightforward, full of raw sentiment and thankfully devoid of metaphor. The number makes no bones about directly incorporating the fact that it has been written through divine inspiration and serves to be a prayer for one to use one’s talents constructively. Arrangement-wise, "Why" immediately captivates with its resoundingly dynamic power chords on the electric guitars with echoes of Hillsong and Jeremy Camp. The choice of key itself aligns seamlessly with its lyrical themes, creating a sonic landscape with assistance from the piano, drums, and synths, spearheaded by electric guitars and vocals. It has been rendered with a dynamic graph with all the lows and highs in amplitude hitting at the right spots, be it during the contrast at the bridge and chorus or the instrumental solo by the electric guitar which adds its own touch in order to uplift this number. What eventually carries the song from being a good one to being a great one however is the towering vocals which are at once precise in terms of diction and rendered with honesty and power. The song’s structure, while embracing elements of traditional rock through its guitar riffs, drum patterns, and piano coloring, manages to achieve that fine balance between staying true to form for the listener’s sake while evolving into a rousing and creative prayer in its own right. It's down-to-earth characteristic for which the mix has to be credited as well, allows each instrument to occupy its own space, creating a cohesive yet nuanced sonic experience.
At a duration of four minutes and fifty eight seconds, "Why" is a stunning winner and the aptly rousing opening number to McKivergan’s album, which not only pays homage to the anthemic tradition of Christian Rock, but also serves as a contemporary embodiment of the genre’s enduring appeal, thanks in no small measure to its unique trait of being an anthemic prayer as well as individualistic appeal.
About John McKivergan
John McKivergan is an esteemed songwriter known for his Christian Rock and Contemporary Christian music. Collaborating with talented musicians, vocalists, and producers, John brings his heartfelt and faith-filled lyrics to life. His compositions are published and distributed on various music platforms, internet radio, and social media. Check out more songs by John McKievergan.