|One of the Top Albums of the Year | Posted October 30, 2016
~~Chris Tomlin is one of my favorite artists. We get the benefit of his music on the annual Passion releases as well as his solo albums. His worship songs are sung by an estimated 30 million people in churches around the world each week, leading some to refer to him as America’s worship Leader. This highly anticipated release is his eleventh studio album and first album of all new non-Christmas songs since 2014’s excellent Love Ran Red. Tomlin has stated that joy is at the heart of the album because of what Jesus has done for us.
Every well-crafted and performed song here is excellent. The album would be comparable to a "Greatest Hits" collection for most artists. It's one of my favorite albums of the year.
Below are a few comments on each of the songs on the Deluxe Edition of the album:
Good Good Father – This song was written by Pat Barrett and Tony Brown, and has been recorded by a number of artists, including Housefires. It is probably the most popular song that Tomlin has ever recorded, winning the 2016 Dove Award for song of the year. The single was released a year ago and is still near the top of the Christian charts. The song was also the inspiration for the children’s picture book of the same name co-written with Pat Barrett.
Jesus – Written with Ed Cash, this was the second single released from the album. This is a straight forward worship song about our Savior:
Who walks on the waters
Who speaks to the sea
Who stands in the fire beside me
He roars like a lion
He bled as the lamb
He carries my healing in his hands
Impossible Things – Danny Gokey, a third place finalist on the eighth season of American Idol, joins Tomlin on this song. He recently won the Dove Award for Christmas album of the year for his album Christmas is Here. The songs starts an infectious beat with Tomlin singing over acoustic guitar and drum. Gokey joins him on verse 2 which is from Psalm 23. Our God is with us, we will fear no evil because He does impossible things. This joyful song will be wonderful to sing in a worship service.
Home - Written with Ed Cash and Scott Cash, this song is about longing for Heaven, our ultimate home and where we belong. This is an upbeat, joyful song that opens with hand claps and is instantly likeable. It is based on Revelation 21 and will sound great in concert or a worship service.
God Of Calvary – Written by Tomlin, Matt Redman, Jonas Myrin, and Matt Redman, this is Tomlin’s favorite song on the album. The song takes us from the cross to the resurrection. It begins with what takes place on the cross at Calvary and then moves into a triumphant chorus. We are set free by His wounds and redeemed by His blood. Christ crossed the great divide for us. Redman provided the bridge, from which Tomlin takes the title of the album. He will never lose sight of the cross and Christ. The song then moves to Christ’s resurrection from the dead.
He Lives – This power ballad starts slowly with piano and synth and gradually builds. Christ rose from the grave to life. He lives reigning in power. He lives name above all names. He lives in me.
Glory Be – This is an upbeat praise song version of the Gloria Patri. It’s a song from his lips from the time he rises about the Trinity.
Glory be to God, the Father
Glory be to God the Son
Glory be to God the Spirit
All Glory to the One
Come Thou Fount (I Will Sing) - Like he did with “Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)” Tomlin merges a classic hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”, written by Robert Robinson in 1758, with some new lyrics. He starts with the hymn over acoustic guitar. The new section is about how God’s mercy yet pursues us, His mercy never fails. Till the day we die we will sing of Him. Features some good backing vocals.
Yes And Amen – This song is also featured on Housefires III, and was written by Nate Moore, Chris McClarney and Tony Brown, the latter of which co-wrote “Good Good Father” with Pat Barrett. He is faithful and all of His promises are yes and amen. Features some good backing vocals. This is one of many songs that will sound good in corporate worship.
All Yours – This is a worship song about the God of creation. God reigns over all of creation, it’s all His, the earth, sky, the day, the night and every breath we take. All creation praises him – the mountains, oceans, everything is His. This song reminds me of Abraham Kuyper's famous quote "There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!" It features a good drum beat as the song builds to a worshipful chorus.
First Love – This is a duet with Kim Walker-Smith of Jesus Culture. It starts with piano and acoustic guitar and slowly builds. Jesus is still our first love and all we are is His. He is our anchor and guiding light and greatest joy. Musically, this is a bit of a departure for Tomlin.
Deluxe Edition Only:
The God I Know - This praise song opens with guitar and drums and builds with a good beat. He sings of God’s goodness and mercy. God will make a way, whatever comes, whatever we face. He is strong to save. He is the Lord and conquered the grave. He works all things for our good (Romans 8:28).
God And God Alone – This song was also included in the Passion album Salvation’s Tide is Rising released earlier this year. It is written by Jason Ingram, Jonas Myrin and Tomlin. It opens with an acoustic guitar. It is sung to the Lord that He is forever God and God alone, and forever seated on His throne. Nothing can separate us from the amazing love of the God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:39). Every knee will eventually bow down to the Lord.
Kyrie Eleison – This wonderful song features the vocals of Matt Maher, Matt Redman and Jason Ingram. Their voices merge well on this song that begins with piano and synths. Lord have mercy and Christ have mercy, hear our cry. Let us kindness to lead us to repentance (Romans 2:4). Who is this God who pardons all our sins, so ready to forgive? He delights to show His mercy.
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