Members: Jon Neufeld, Tim Neufeld, Gordie Cochran
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Two years after the release of Starfields eponymous debut, brothers Tim and Jon Neufeld, bassist Shaun Huberts and drummer Gordie Cochran waste no time getting to the point on Beauty in the Broken. On My Generation, the lead track, they cut through the noise, the media clutter, the surface images, the shallow posturing.
My generation is aching for real.
Taking a title that resonates through the decades of popular music, the four members of Starfield find the defining characteristic of their generation. That audible ache for honesty and relevance resonates throughout the entire album all the way to Shipwreck, where the yearning becomes more intimate in the albums final, whispered line, Your life in me, changing who I am to who I need to be.
The band is best known for the well loved songs Filled With Your Glory and Revolution from their 2004 self titled release produced by Matt Bronleewe. When it came time for recording the follow up to the critically acclaimed record, Starfield teamed up with Bronleewe (Michael W. Smith, dc Talk, Plumb) for a second time while also enlisting the talents of GMA Award-winning producer Ed Cash (Chris Tomlin, David Crowder Band, Steven Curtis Chapman). The end result is a record that firmly establishes Starfield as a significant voice for this generation.
As Starfields songs continue to speak to todays world in an honest and relevant way, the bands own story shines through. Like shards of glass that catch the light and refract it in eleven brilliant, different directions, Beauty in the Broken reveals a band that strives for transparency and vulnerability in its music. My Generation, along with songs like Everything Is Beautiful and The Hand That Holds the World, examine the many facets of these ideas from the cultural to the individual, from the universal to the personal, from the generational to the eternal at the same time illuminating the spirit of a band in the process of becoming who it needs to be.
When we began writing songs for Beauty In The Broken, our goal was to make a corporate worship record An album for the church, explains Tim Neufeld, the groups primary lyricist. However, as we got deeper into the process of music and lyric, we couldnt get away from our need to first address the often nagging disconnect between us and God its tough to march right into a song like Great is the Lord without first acknowledging the distance that exists between us and God. At the end of the day we felt like Beauty In The Broken was an incomplete worship record without songs like My Generation, Captivate, and Shipwreck that fess up to the pain, condemnation, and doubt that often get in the way of true intimacy with Jesus.
The result is a collection of songs that outline a journey, he continues. There are days where I feel close to God and a song like Glorious One is an honest response to Him. There are other days when a lyric like Im so messy and distracted / undisciplined and tactless / here on the inside, makes a lot more sense to where I am at.
Beauty in the Broken takes Starfields mission a step further. With songs that grapple with touchstone issues like alienation, identity and the quest for fulfillment, Starfield begins to speak for a generation that is dying for love, crying for truth. Beauty in the Broken points Starfields listeners to God during their most public times and their most private ones, offering songs for the service as well as songs for the self.
One of the first truths we had to face was that the generation we sing about is not defined by age, Jon says. The literal generation that Im a part of is in their mid-20s leaving college, beginning careers, and getting married. Were dealing with rejection issues, carrying the weight of big decisions, and finding ourselves struggling to include God in our daily lives. But these issues are not unique to 20-somethings theyre shared by teenagers, by people in their 30s, 40s, and beyond.
With that in mind, Starfields Generation is not their peer group rather, it is a generation of people who recognize there is an ache in their lives that can no longer be filled with just going through the motions of relationship. It is a generation surrendered to the process of allowing God to draw beauty from their brokenness. And its a generation that understands a lifestyle of worship requires action outside of the church walls.
At some point in their spiritual journey, believers have to live just as passionately as they believe. As a practical way of extending their hand as an act of worship, the members of Starfield have become involved with relief organization World Vision in El Salvador, traveling to the Latin American nation in early 2006. Here in the US, Starfield also supports the teen-evangelism organization Dare 2 Share Ministries. Both ministries focus not only on the spiritual life but on services that make real, practical improvements within communities. Whether through those organizations or other efforts, the members of Starfield encourage their fellow worshippers to not only know real but to live real.
That kind of tangible proof of spiritual truth may be the only kind that matters to an aching generation that will otherwise try to build its own reality from the splintered pieces of the world around them. The truth is that while those pieces may reflect the reality theyre seeking, they cant reveal the complete picture and true beauty that God has reserved for those that will earnestly seek after him.
We all ache for God, but if we dont know God we use created things as substitutes for God material things, knowledge, relationships, sex - all of these things are good and if were looking we can see God in them. But if we dont know how to piece them together we will inevitably try to take these broken pieces and substitute them for the Creator. And the created will never fulfill us.
My Generation deals with that in a corporate sense, Jon says, as an anthem that speaks for more than just the individual. These are the things my generation cant come to grips with. The rest of the album attempts to pose an answer.