BarlowGirl has always represented an interesting dichotomy; tender-hearted, beautiful young women who aren’t afraid to take an aggressive, almost warrior-like stance when it comes to spreading the gospel and serving God. That fiery obedience reverberates throughout their latest release, Love & War.
“There’s just an urgency to this album,” says Alyssa Barlow. “We’ve always wanted to raise the banner and to really let people know who God is, what He’s doing and how He’s moving. It’s always been something on our hearts, but with this album there was this underlying current of ‘the time is now!’ The time is now to rise up and to get what God has for us. The time is now to rise up and learn what it means to be loved by God, to learn what it means to be set apart, to learn what it means to embrace our destiny and embrace our calling to the extreme. That is the thread running through all of these songs.”
Since releasing their self-titled debut in 2004, Rebecca, Alyssa and Lauren Barlow have continuously inspired fans with such intimate portraits, as their sophomore set, Another Journal Entry and such bold challenges as 2007’s, How Can We Be Silent. Nominated for ten Dove Awards, the songwriting siblings have written and recorded such landmark hits as “Never Alone,” which became Radio & Records’ Christian Song of the Year in 2004 and helped earn BarlowGirl best-selling new Christian artist status. Their poignant hit, “I Need You to Love Me,” topped the charts for thirteen weeks in 2005, making it the longest #1 single in Christian Radio Weekly Chart History.
However, repeating or surpassing such success never occurs to the girls when they begin a new project. The focus is always on sharing what God has placed on their hearts. They continue to do just that with Love & War. “I think there are two continuous messages that we are trying to get across on this album: One is that time is short and we don’t have time to not follow the Lord,” says Becca. “We don’t have time to do the things we desire to do. It’s time to be bold and follow the calling God has in your life. Nobody can feel that calling but you. God is waiting for you to step up and grab hold and say, ‘okay God wherever you want to take me, I’m going to go.’ The second message is that it’s all about being in love with the Lord and about that relationship with Him. If we don’t have that relationship with Him, we can’t have the boldness.”
The themes of love and war are seamlessly intertwined on this new collection. “There are battle songs about standing up for what we believe in and knowing what God is calling us to do and then there are a lot of songs on this album about love,” says Lauren. “The reason why we fight is because we love. We fight to do what God is calling us to do because we love God and we want to do the will of God. We really view our walk as Christians as love and war and that is kind of the dynamic of the album, exploring the two extremes.”
BarlowGirl has always been known for being bold and transparent, but the group feels this is their most personal effort ever. “Our Worlds Collide,” or “Sing Me A Love Song,” really paint a picture of BarlowGirl’s spiritual walk. Both songs display what their journey with God is really like and what it really means that He has their hearts. It will take the listener deeper into their love for God and their contentment with every moment of the journey.
The album’s lead single, “Beautiful Ending,” is a shimmering ballad that perfectly showcases the sisters’ gorgeous vocal blend as well as their emotionally weighty word play. “You see great people in history that have followed God passionately and have dedicated their entire life to Him. When you get to the end of their lives and you see the end of their story and somehow it’s like they lost their first love,” says Lauren. “They lost the passion with God and it was so sad to see that they just fall away from loving Him. We said ‘God, we never want to lose you. We never want to lose our first love. We would rather not have this ministry. Could we lose seeing you in the midst of serving you all the time?’ We never want that to happen. That’s what that song came out of.”
BarlowGirl is performing “Beautiful Ending” on their current tour and say people of all ages are being moved, particularly parents. “The biggest response we get is from fathers. The economy has been really hard on them. They are really desperate for God to just show up in their lives because of losing their jobs,” says Becca. “That song has really encouraged them to have that beautiful ending. Our hearts are for the whole family unit, so it’s been awesome to see the dads really embrace this song.”
The most challenging song for BarlowGirl to write was “Tears Fall.” The beautiful ballad focuses on BarlowGirl’s pro-life stance, as they have been attempting to write a song in regards to the abortion issue for two and a half years. It is a very sensitive subject, but BarlowGirl felt that God wanted them to present the truth. The truth is that we as the church can’t be scared to say, “hey one has been killed.”
In recording Love & War, BarlowGirl once again worked with longtime producer and friend Otto Price. “The guy is the most creative human being I’ve ever met in my life,” diverse and I think that really encourages us to try different things. It’s quite the creative experience working with Otto.”
On Love & War, the sisters have crafted their most lyrically bold and musically adventurous album to date. From the effervescent pop of “Come Alive” to the achingly beautiful “Tears Fall,” the collection covers a diverse landscape sonically and emotionally. Six years into their musical ministry, the members of BarlowGirl remain as passionate as ever about serving God and sharing the love they feel for Him and for each other.
“I couldn’t imagine making these memories with anyone else,” says Lauren. “It’s so cool. The other day I was thinking about how wonderful it will be when we are older, and have our families and our kids, and we’re going to be able to tell them about the memories we’ve made together. I’m just so blessed to be able to live this life with my family. I love it!”
Love & War reflects that passion for ministry as well as a respect for their platform. “The majority of this album, for all three of us, was really about embracing the call and embracing our destiny to a whole different level,” says Alyssa. “I think all three of us feel like we’ve grown up. We feel like this is our coming out CD. It’s like something happened to us that we can’t totally put into words yet, but we’ve grown up. I’m excited to see what God is going to do next. We’re ready for whatever He has to bring.”