For King and Country’s newest studio album, “What Are We Waiting For?,” is their fifth full work release of their career. This album contains thirteen original songs with guest singer appearances of Tori Kelly, Kirk Franklin, Dante Bowe and Sleeping at Last. This album is also the only one in their repertoire that does not have a title that is directly tied to one of the song titles in the album. The brothers commented that they did this intentionally because they want listeners to receive the album as a whole instead of a collection of songs that are categorized under one title.
The album has an overall chill vibe. There are no upbeat songs to belt in the car, but the musicality is evident in all of the songs on the album. “Relate” in particular, was released as a single before the album and went straight to the No. 1 spot shortly after its release. You might recognize it from the NEXT student dance routine in RUSH if not from the radio. The message of this song is beautiful and brings out the overall themes of the album: unity through loving our differences. There is a powerful repetition of questions that have power to unite people through common struggles: “What if we’re all the same in different kind of ways, can you, can you relate?”
The instrumentals behind the lyrics draw the listeners in with driving drums and cymbals clashing in the background. The duo uses silence really well in this song as they have strong chords or drum beats hitting the breaks in such a way that it punctuates and adds new force to the lyrics.
“Unity” is another relaxed vibe song that has a subtle intensity. The guest artist in Bowe adds a little variety to the album and depth of soul to this song. Again, the Smallbone brothers of the band use their talent of leveraging questions to challenge people. The lyric, “I’m hoping on the stars through the tree tops that you’ll be there for me,” is sung with such meaning it is hard to describe. One of the Smallbone brothers sings this line with a question that remains unasked in the last few words of the line, almost as if he is asking with his voice instead of words.
Near the end of the album, the song “Shy” talks about not backing down in the name of love. The track behind the lyrics utilizes echoes and cool combinations of electric percussion. The steady beat of the song remains consistent to the rest of the album with a steady beat that punctuates the more important phrases while aided by synth and vibrato on guitar.
The lyrics in this song are the ones that are most closely tied to the title of the album. The song repeats the mantra of “I’m not going to be shy and I won’t back down this time,” it’s like a call to action for themselves to do as they should in support of the people around them. It says in one part that, “you’ve been waiting on my long enough,” reminding the listeners subtly that after being reminded of what they need to do and some truths about humanity, it is time to move and act. Answering the question in the title in an indirect way.
Even though the album packs a punch with themes and calls out people in a non-confrontational way, most of the album sounds the same as the next song. Maybe this was done on purpose to help solidify the idea that the album is one entity and should be consumed that way. However, it leaves the listener a little bored. The tone and messages of the songs are hidden a little by the almost calming percussion and backing tracks. There were moments where the beats were so easy to predict that, it was easy to tune it out.