Introductory Note: In appreciation of Petra’s fortieth year in music and ministry, I am ranking their albums from least best to greatest. You can read my opening post here.
Washes Whiter Than (1979, StarSong Records)
Lineup: Greg X. Volz, Rob Frazier, Bob Hartman
Their previous effort, “Come and Join Us,” has been called by Bob Hartman a compromised album because the title was supposed to be “God Gave Rock and Roll to You” and the band capitulated on a lot of the sound of the album. Well, honestly, I prefer that one to this, their third effort, which takes on a decidedly softer sound than their previous effort or over any other Petra album until “Double Take.”
That said, the lyrics from Bob Hartman are solid. The album begins with “I’m Thankful” and is reflective upon the love of Jesus which has overcome our bad choices and rebellion against Him. “Why Should the Father Bother?” is probably the most noteworthy song on the album and for good reason, as it is a lyrically strong effort pointing in the form of question to the sheer absurdity that God would love sinners such as you and me. Why? Because of what the Son has done. It’s the best song on the album.
The rest of the album is, at least to me, pretty nondescript, mellow music. I’m wondering if magic was a big deal in the evangelical culture at the time because there are two songs with “magic” in the title – “Magic Mirror” and “Magic Words.” Nevertheless, to me nothing else in the album really stands out, so I cannot go any higher in my ranking.