“It’s been twelve years, the bus is still rollin’” and yet Audio A showed no signs of slowing down. Worldwide continues the band’s tradition of making solid, clean music, with an uppity edge ever since Audio Adrenaline way back in 1992. Worldwide was followed up two years later by Until My Heart Caves In, their last album with Mark Stuart as lead vocalist.
Worldwide (2003): 12 songs, 40 minutes
To start off the record, Audio Adrenaline tells us why they sing, “we’ll do it twelve more years from the rooftop screaming / ‘til the whole world knows You’re King” and “Church Punks” reminds us that God can use all of us, even the church punks. “Leaving 99” is a beautiful illustration of the parable of the lost sheep, “Worldwide: Two” encourages us to practice what we preach and help others in need and “Start a Fire” reminds us that change can start with one person’s determination to follow God’s will. “Dirty” does a great job demonstrating that we need to step out of our comfort zone and get “dirty,” but . . .
. . . I think Mark Stuart takes the metaphor a little too far when he says “Let’s get used . . . Let’s get foolish / Let’s get free.” It’s really a paradoxical illustration; being dirty makes us think of sin, not breaking out of our daily grind. In that way, I think it can be perplexing to listeners. “Miracle” says that God “ruined my life,” most likely in relation to how the world looks at life, but it could have been related in a less-confusing way.
Though their last several albums have sounded more or less very similar, the band mixes it up a little bit on this album. They incorporate Tyler Burkum a lot more into the lyrics, include more laid back songs, and have some interesting melody-line guitar licks. “Church Punks” gets a little heavy and you can hear the strain on Stuart’s vocal chords (possibly the reason for more Burkum vocals). “Worldwide: One” and “Dirty” stick to the more traditional Audio Adrenaline sound. “Go and Be” is reminiscent of “Hands and Feet.”
Overall, Worldwide is a decent album. The different sounds that the group experimented with paid off, as “Pierced” and “Leaving 99” became some of the Audio A’s big hits. Personally, I like the vibe of the “Worldwides,” as they are definitely rock-based, fun, and upbeat; trademark Audio Adrenaline. They didn’t go big on the traditional sound this time around though. I appreciate their progressive effort, but personally I think they do the rock thing better.