Steven Curtis Chapman, "Beauty Will Rise"

86 Billboard Rating

There's no denying that songwriting is among the most cathartic professions. And never has a writer's pain sounded more achingly raw than on Steven Curtis Chapman's new album, "Beauty Will Rise," a collection of songs written about the death of his 5-year-old daughter. (Maria Sue died in 2008 after her brother accidentally hit her with a car in the family's driveway.) The new set examines unfathomable grief, but also celebrates an extraordinary young life. On the song "Heaven Is the Face," Chapman looks forward to seeing his daughter someday in heaven, while on "Just Have to Wait," he sings, "I can't wait to watch your brother's face/When he can finally see with his own eyes/That everything's OK." The track "Questions" asks, "Who are you God?/'Cause you are turning out to be so much different than I imagined/And where are you God?/'Cause I am finding life to be so much harder than I had planned." The lyrics are heartbreaking yet hopeful. Though he's been tested, Chapman's faith remains strong and shines through on songs like "Our God Is in Control," "Faithful," "I Will Trust You" and the comforting "Jesus Will Meet You There."-Deborah Evans Price

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