‘She Waits’ album review
album: She Waits
artist: The Gray Havens
genre: alternative pop
release date: October 5, 2018
star rating: five out of five
review by Levi Yager
The Gray Havens have recently graced us with what may very well be their best album to date. She Waits is a brilliant work of art that explores the hope and joy of heaven and the implications of that idea. In fact, you could say it’s sort of a heaven concept album.
Nearly every song on She Waits is a gem. To begin with, the title track opens the album by creating a beautiful, poignant atmosphere for the listener with delicate keys and gentle, subtle strings. It’s wrapped in lyricism about expectancy for a life to come; the “she” here is waiting through trials for the dawn of realized hope. There’s a wonderful ebb and flow to this song that hooks right into your emotions. Also, the falsetto vocals are a great highlight on this track.
Next, “See You Again” picks up the pace and gets things rolling. It’s essentially an anthem for anyone who’s lost someone in this life and is yearning for an afterlife where they’ll be reunited. The steady, low-end percussion provides an outstanding rhythmic aspect to this song. Its conclusion is pretty interesting, as the song fades so quickly that it basically vanishes. It may be a tool used to touch on the theme of this current life’s impermanence.
Pretty much everything that follows is pure gold. “High Enough” flourishes a hip-hop flare that rapper Propaganda expertly adds some heat to, and “Storehouse” even has a bit of R&B flavor that brings a lot of soul.
She Waits ends with “Forever” and the mostly-instrumental finale “Morning Light.” The former expands on the topic of eternity that’s been weaved throughout the album; it even brings up the inevitability of death – and what lies beyond. “Forever” features the triumphant chorus of, “Forever is in my soul – it’s in my veins. I think we know that the future’s gonna be so bright – when you turn my way, it’s gonna fill my eyes.” As a whole, it acts as a jubilant proclamation near the end of the album. Then, “Morning Light” is the closing track that ties everything up marvelously by bringing to mind the entrance into a better, everlasting future. It also references the morning light mentioned in the earlier, charming song “Gone Are the Days.”
As a whole, She Waits is probably The Gray Havens’ tightest batch of songs yet, as far as the general vision and execution. It’s also worth noting that the production on this record is fantastic; it gives the songs a crisp sparkle that perfectly fits the album’s overall approach. She Waits is definitely a musical journey worth taking. It’s emotional at times, and it has a nice balance of somber and joyful moments that can easily resonate with the listener. If you’ve been waiting to check it out, now is the time.