Album Review: Rise Up! by The Rizers

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What if Ke$ha, Nicki Minaj, and Gwen Stefani made a kids' album with Relient K and Owl City? It would probably sound a lot like Rise Up!, the new album by Washington-based cartoon band The Rizers.

The Rizers are a few musicians from Mars Hill Church who have created a bunch of scripture memory songs from the NIV, set to synth-heavy, current dance sounds with a punk aesthetic. The "band" is Gracie, Matty C., Ayo, Mei Mei, and Johnny Danger. Like Gorillaz, The Rizers are a made-up cartoon band with invented personalities for each member. The website has a short bio for each of the bandmates, and includes a focus on each of their gifts and character strengths. This sets up some good role models for kids to see the fruits of the Spirit in action. Here's an example--bassist Johnny Danger's profile: "He's an 'I Am A Third' kind of guy: God first, others second and himself third. Favorite things: Hawaiian pizza, football, lifting weights, chocolate milk and hanging out with his friends."

The songs themselves vary from the funky pop of "Glory, Glory, Glory!" to the Caribbean feel of "I Can Do Everything!" to the pop-punk breakdowns of "Trust in the Lord!" (my personal favorite). Rise Up! brings the kinds of sounds kids go crazy over. Topics include humility, God's glory, the trustworthiness of Scripture, and Jesus' love for children. Some of the songs will work great to spark a child's curiosity in the gospel, like "Glory, Glory, Glory!" and "A New Creation!"

As a bonus, the cd includes "Rizers Theme Song", a song from the band's last release, Meet the Rizers!

Rise Up! is a great album, it's a welcome addition to our collection of kids' worship songs to use on Sunday, and it's music kids will actually want to listen to at home. Get the cd (and kids' tee shirts too!) or download the album on iTunes and Amazon.