Altitude by Lifesigns

| |

The title track on Altitude, the third album from Lifesigns, a band led by British keyboardist and singer John Young, is a 15-minute exploration of the thoughts and feelings of a drone pilot who destroys a target in a military operation. The music ebbs and flows as Young sings, “As far as my eyes can see, clear as daylight. It spreads out in front of me now.” But as he gently sings “target destroyed,” we learn that, despite the pleasant music, the pilot is not OK. We hear the refrain, “I could be so much better,” multiple times over the course of this track as various instruments take turns exploring different melodic ideas. Young’s clear, compelling voice draws us in.

The theme of wanting to be better than we are comes up multiple times over the remaining tracks as Young explores what it means to want more from life. He sings about falling in two of the songs, of asking to be saved in another and of being rescued from rough seas in one more. Throughout, though, Young does this with a strong sense of melody and virtuosic instrumental performances from all members of the band. Despite the heavy themes, this is an album that is uplifting. Young’s music, and his lyrics, contains hope that shines through in both the vocal and lengthy instrumental passages. Altitude can only be purchased through the band’s website,, but is well worth exploring.

About the Author

Robert J. Keeley is professor of education at Calvin College and director of distance learning at Calvin Seminary.