:)| Posted May 18, 2010
By all accounts, Stuart Townend is one of the greatest hymn writers of the age. He's drawn comparisons
with Wesley and Watts, both of whom I recognize by name only. Yet, ignorant child that I am, I do
recognize Townend's name off the credits of a song I've heard a few different versions of; "In Christ
Alone". It is indeed fitting that the album begins with one of the most beautiful, if not succinct, ways I've
heard Christ's life, mission, and the subsequent response of the singer described. Accompanied by a
choir, Townend's voice, while not incredibly unique here, carries the song well. There's also a nice little
recorder solo. The best other rendition I've ever heard of this song was by FFH.
In fact, the entire 1st half of the CD, ("In Christ Alone", "Beautiful Saviour" and "How Deep The Father's
Love For Us") is comprised of songs I've heard and enjoyed before. It's like a worship "Twilight Zone"
episode. (Okay, so I'm not completely ignorant. :) ) That's not to say it's tired and old. Rather, it's kind of
neat to hear the original singer play his own songs as he sees them. As these are hymns and not merely
introspective songs, the congregation in the background of some is a nice touch. For some reason,
"Speak O Lord" reminds me of a coffeehouse Christmas song. That would be the one low point, but it's
so close to the line that there's almost no point recognizing it as such. His prolific writing career has
garnered him at least 119 popular songs among churches, according to CCLI. You get what I'm thinking?
How do you choose just 6? (Aside from the top 2 [tracks 1 and 3], I mean.) For sheer poetry, there's few in
his class. If you want to know what I'm talking about, Google him.
The popularity of these songs may steer the casual listener away from buying this album, but if you've
never heard them before, or (like me) you're also a songwriter who appreciates what the original writer, if
gifted vocally, can bring to their own songs, check it out.