Sounds like … acoustic pop with hints of Shawn Colvin, Sheryl Crow, Jewel, and Margaret Becker
At a Glance … a soundtrack for parenthood, this feel-good project from one of Christian music's finest songwriters celebrates the adventure of a lifetime.
We've Been Waiting for You, subtitled "The Parenthood Project," is the sixth CD from Canadian singer/songwriter Carolyn Arends, known for her intelligent, poignant insights into the human condition. Here, the human condition happens to be parenthood-everything from pregnancy ("Moving"), to the delivery room (the title track), to wise words for a growing child ("Be God's").
The mother of two young children, Carolyn has written about parenthood for several years. Two songs, "We've Been Waiting for You" and "Even the Wallflowers," originally appeared on 1999's This Much I Understand, and they've been redone for this project. The former, a lovely ballad with Carolyn at the piano, is Arends at her literary best, crafting an analogy between the processes of birth ("Let me hold you close, I know you're frightened / Go ahead and cry, I understand") and death ("When I have to leave I am pretty sure that I'll be frightened / But even if I cry, please understand / I will know I'm not alone / When my room is ready I'll go home"). You'll smile and cry at the same time.
The CD begins, appropriately, in the womb. "Moving" is a happy toe-tapper about a mom's giddy feelings about the life growing inside her. "Come Anyway" is a touching invitation to her baby to enter the world even though "it's a scary place." "The Thought of You" begins with Carolyn's four-year-old son, Benjamin, banging on a tambourine and pleading to "get some music going!" Mom obliges with the CD's most fun tune, sort of a Beatles/Beach Boys hybrid on which she sings, "You gotta hurry 'cause it's getting worse and I am gonna burst / So come on, baby."
"Don't Forget Where You Came From" is a sweet reminder of God's love and care, "Your Father in Heaven" is an encouragement to always turn to the Lord, and "Be God's" is an exhortation to "be yourself, be at peace, be God's."
There are also two terrific covers-Bob Dylan's "Forever Young" and Carole King's "(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman." While the former was supposedly inspired by Dylan's son, Jakob, the latter wasn't written from a parent's perspective. But just as some secular love songs can translate into "vertical" lyrics, "Natural Woman" succeeds wonderfully as a parenting song: "Now I'm no longer doubtful of what I'm living for / And if I make you happy I don't need to do more / 'Cause you make me feel like a natural woman."
"Forever Young," covered marvelously, concludes the project with Dylan's timeless words: "May your heart always be joyful / May your song always be sung / May you stay forever young." What parent wouldn't want such a blessing for her child? Likewise, any parent will be blessed by We've Been Waiting for You, a warm and sensitive soundtrack for the adventure of parenthood.
Carolyn also wrote a companion book, also titled We've Been Waiting for You. The CD and book, well-written and beautifully illustrated, make excellent gifts for new or expecting parents. Both are available at www.carolynarends.com