Ten years ago, then-Essential Records folk pop artist Bebo Norman released one of his best projects, Myself When I Am Real. When Bebo first debuted, his music was considerably more stripped-down and folk-based than people have probably come to know him for in recent years. By 2002, Myself When I Am Real was probably the most accessible Bebo’s music had ever been to date and it was still pretty true to his intimate and honest folk roots. In between this album and his latest, Lights of Distant Cities, there have been five more Bebo albums, coupled with a home label migration to BEC Recordings, with most of those albums having an increasingly more pop and contemporary sheen leaking in and overtaking the sound Bebo had originally been known for.
Currently, Bebo is married with children, but for years, loneliness was something that plagued the heart of this young man seeking the heart of God. Even with a family, loneliness is something that can affect a believer, and Norman’s transparent and emotional songs have been some of his best. “Beautiful You” begs “Please don’t go away, please don’t leave me here, I know if you don’t stay, my heart will disappear. I need beautiful You.” Then the worshipful “Great Light Of The World” cries, “Oh great light of the world fill up my soul / I’m half a man here so come make me whole / Oh great light of the world come to impart / The light of your grace to fill up my heart.” It’s just a gorgeous picture of brokenness and a prayerful honesty acknowledging our need for a Savior! These are just a couple of the many highlights on Myself When I Am Real – an album that remains one of Norman’s career best!
– John DiBiase
Myself When I Am Real (2002)
Click here for our review of the album.
Our synopsis: “Accessible folk pop with transparent and honest lyrics that acknowledge a lonely heart and the need for its only remedy – our Savior!” (Recommended by JFH’s John DiBiase)
Perfect For: Transparency, Quiet Times, Worship, Encouragement
Song Highlights: “Our Mystery,” “Beautiful You,” “Great Light of the World,” “Back To You,” “So Afraid”
So, what are your thoughts on and experiences with the album Myself When I Am Real? Do you recommend it? If so, why?