A Welcome Addition| Posted October 16, 2014
It was just 2004 when Texas born worship leader Chris Tomlin made a name for himself with his Platinum-certified album Arriving, including a relentless series of songs the global Church has permanently stapled into their weekly Sunday morning set lists, not the least of these being "How Great Is Our God."
A slew of critically acclaimed releases followed Arriving and set Chis Tomlin on the path to what has become worldwide stardom. While slapping him with superstar status is far from the Christian ideal, let's face it: when even those opposed to the Gospel know who you are and acknowledge the effects of your work, it's safe to say you might be making an impact on culture.
Achievements aside, Tomlin's greatest successes within the last decade stem not from his professional accolades but rather his personal ones. Now married with two daughters, his roots remain humble, and when he's not traveling around the world spreading the good news through music, you'll find him faithfully leading worship on Sunday mornings at Passion City Church in Atlanta, GA.
Worship always has been and always will be his heartbeat, and with his latest project Love Ran Red, he affirms this calling all the more.
It's clear right away that this album is far more dramatic in tone from previous offerings. Opening track "Greater" fuses his particular style of acoustic simplicity with the more progressive sounds of dynamic orchestration. It sets the tone for the rest of album, and does so in a well-crafted fashion.
Lead singles "Waterfall" and "Jesus Loves Me" carry the anthemic draw Tomlin's greatest songs are known for. These are two that sure to find themselves soon sinking into churches across the nation, maybe even across the world.
With a title like "The Roar," one might expect something lyrically vivid and descriptive such as Daniel Bashta's "Like A Lion" (frequently attributed as Newsboys' "God's Not Dead"), but Tomlin instead takes the same concept of God's ferocious love and channels it towards a softer approach: "When I couldn't see and my strength was failing me, I heard the roar of the Lion of Judah, I heard the voice that calms the raging sea."
While selections such as these do a good job of presenting how strong of a congregational leader he is, I feel that his greatest moments on this project come when the focus is less vertical/vertical, and more inward/upward.
"Boundary Lines," worshipfully still, possess an authenticity you don't see often in his songwriting. It's also one of the less produced tracks on the album, drawing out the raw energy all the more: "The boundary lines have fallen in welcomed places / The Lord is mine, defender and my shield."
With his most lengthy offering to date, Chris Tomlin delivers some of the strongest songs of his career. Granted, while there is nothing about Love Ran Red that stands out as particularly groundbreaking, the material presented is incredibly rich, and continues his ever evolving melodic experimentation. As a longtime listener, I feel as if he's getting braver and more personal in his songwriting approach. I hope this is a trend that continues with his future work. As powerful as his worship leading is, I know many listeners would love to hear more of the heart behind these modern day hymns. Love Ran Red will go down as yet another success in the Tomlin legacy, and it is a much welcomed addition.
Song To Download Now:
"Boundary Lines" (Get it on iTunes here.)