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Just Jesus by NewSong Just Jesus by NewSong
What You Need To Know
Called by Avalon Called by Avalon
What You Need To Know
After a 10-plus year hiatus, Avalon releases their 14th...
Citizen of Heaven by Tauren Citizen of Heaven by Tauren
What You Need To Know
Fresh off a GRAMMY nomination for "God's...

Showing 1-10 of 23 |   View Next 10 Album and Book Reviews
New Sounds from NewSong | Posted March-01-2020
What You Need To Know

NewSong continues their history of faithful ministry in Christian music with the release of their latest album, Just Jesus.



What It Sounds Like

Just Jesus is a mix of pop, worship, and vocal band flare ("Glue"). NewSong faithfully sings the truths of our faith accompanied by impressive vocal arrangements and musicianship ("Down," "Story"). The album features some collaborations with rappers Tedashii ("Already Loved") and Ty Basel on ("Just Jesus"). These features showcase NewSong's ability to bridge the gap across genres and generations in their music and ministry.



Spiritual/Lyrical Highlights

"Story" is an inspiring song about trusting God's leadership in our lives. It calls us to willingly following Him, surrendered to the invitation to be a part of His plan. You wrote my story from beginning to end/Nothing surprises You it's part of your plan/You wanna take me where my heart's never been/I hear You calling me to join in/And I say yes



Best Song On The Record

"I Am Christian" wins best song on the record. It's a joyful and anthemic song about who we are in Christ, what it means to follow Him and His faithfulness to us as we walk with Him. It has a catchy hook that will get stuck in your heard and encourage you at the same time.



For Fans Of

AvalonHere Be LionsPhilips, Craig & Dean



Final Word

Songs like "I Am a Christian" and "Arise My Love" have become fan favorites as NewSong has performed them live on tour with WinterJam. With the release of Just Jesus, we all get to carry these songs and others with us in our daily lives. Just Jesus is a body of work in which each song carries a great message.



Buy the album on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify


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The Return of Avalon | Posted February-19-2020
What You Need To Know

After a 10-plus year hiatus, Avalon releases their 14th album, Called. Avalon is one of the first bands to sign with newly formed Red Street Records, founded by Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts.



What It Sounds Like

One thing we know about Avalon is that they can deliver vocals in a way that makes you believe every word they're singing. And, Called is no exception. They use their vocal talents and clever musical arrangements to put together a modern sound, where adult contemporary meets synth-pop 
("Called," "Closer," "Sacred Ground").



Spiritual/Lyrical Highlights

One of my favorite lyrical moments is in "Only Jesus." The song declares that, in the midst of an ever-changing world, the truth of Jesus is a constant in our lives. There is only one God/There is only one truth/There is only one name that saves me/There is only one King that my heart will bow to/My Savior, my Lord/There is only one Jesus.



Best Song On The Record

"Keeper of My Heart" adds a fun energy to the album. The song declares that no matter what we face, we can let go and trust the love, care, and leadership of Jesus in our lives. And the chorus is probably the most catchy piece of music on the album. It's also something you might want to sing out loud.



For Fans Of

Matthew West, Newsong, Here Be Lions



Final Word

Called is an adult contemporary leaning album with flares of worship, modern pop, and biblically solid lyrics. If that's what you're looking for, then Called is for you. You can check out episode 21 of our NRT Now Podcast for a conversation between NRT's Jake Frederick and Avalon about their new album. 



Buy the album on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify


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A Top-Notch Pop Album | Posted January-30-2020
What You Need To Know

Fresh off a GRAMMY nomination for "God's Not Done With You" and an RIAA certified gold single for "Known," Tauren Wells releases his sophomore album, Citizen of Heaven.



What It Sounds Like

I haven't been this excited about an album in a long time! Whether it's the topics the songs address, the crafting of the lyrics, the vocal performance, musicality, and production, or Tauren's passion and sincere reach for God that shines through each note--every song on this album is incredible. 



Tauren is known (no pun intended) for serving us music that is high-energy and fun but full of God's Word and presence at the same time. He does it again on Citizen of Heaven, perfectly balancing modern pop stylings with lyrics that are as biblically rich as they are honest and relatable.



This album is a perfect collection of both catchy tracks you can dance and snap your fingers to ("Like You Love Me, "Close") and worshipful ballads of prayer and trust in God ("Perfect Peace," "Done," "Carry On"). The album also has some powerhouse features from other artists: Bethel Music's Jenn Johnson on "Famous For (I Believe)", Kirk Franklin on "Millionaire (Good Like That)," Gary Levox of Rascal Flatts on "Until Grace", and even a sermon snippet from Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church on the prelude to "Close."



Spiritual/Lyrical Highlights

A standout song and lyrical moment on the album is "Until Grace." The combination of Tauren and Gary Levox's vocals singing about how God's grace carries us through things we wouldn't have made it out of otherwise reminds me of Psalm 27:13-14. "Yet I am confident I will see the LORD's goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD."



Best Song On The Record

This was a hard choice, but I'll pick "Millionaire (Good Like That)" for the best song. It's just plain fun. The concept is clever (The lyrics are: "If I had a dollar for every time they said God wasn't gonna come through, I'd be a millionaire"), the beat will immediately get you dancing and Kirk Franklin adds his unique flair and a Gospel touch that makes the song really special. The harmonies in the background vocals are pretty sweet too.



For Fans Of

Jordan Feliz, Stars Go Dim, Riley Clemmons, Dan Bremnes



Final Word

Citizen of Heaven is a top-notch pop album that will entertain you and help you connect with God at the same time. This one will be in your heavy rotation for months to come. 



Buy the album on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify.


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One Church, One Voice | Posted January-26-2020
What You Need To Know

In a unique collaborative project, Word Worship Music invites churches to lend their congregational voices to new worship songs written by Jennie Riddle, Meredith Andrews, and several other worship leaders and songwriters. The result is Volume 1 by The Church Will Sing.



What It Sounds Like

What I love best about this album is how prominent the live instruments are, serving the record's vision of the Church coming together to sing songs of praise. The sound of the album actually feels like a group of believers gathered in a room to worship together. There are electronic elements incorporated throughout, so the album still sounds modern, but that live, congregation singing together feel is exactly what this album is about and it comes through on every song.



Spiritual/Lyrical Highlights

"Together at the Cross" is a beautifully written song that reflects on the individual and community aspects of salvation. As individuals, God draws each of us to Himself from our different journeys and backgrounds and saves us we believe in Him. And all of us who have said yes to God's gift of salvation won at the cross are united into one family, one Church because of it. Standing in the chasm / Of a vast eternity/ A beam of hope from heaven down to dust / His love has spanned the distance / As far as west from east / And joins us here together at the cross



Best Song On The Record

The best song on the record is "Even Louder." For one, the song opens the album and the first thought that you are hit with listening to an album called The Church Will Sing is the beauty of the Church singing together. It's the perfect opener and sets the tone for the rest of the record. It also has a great spontaneous moment toward the end. Capturing these spontaneous moments for worship albums has become more popular, but there's always something special about believers singing the in-the-moment songs of their heart to God in worship.



For Fans Of

Here Be Lions, Red Rocks Worship, Life.Church Worship



Final Word

The Church Will Sing's Volume 1 is a great congregational worship album, but it's music and message are sure to translate into your personal times of worship as well.



Buy the album on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify


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Loving God and Loving One Another | Posted October-31-2019
What You Need To Know

The Porter's Gate is a collective of worship artists from various cultural backgrounds and worship styles who have come together to champion conversations and create art that fosters worship, mission and unity in the Church. Their second album, Neighbor Songs, is the result of that ongoing mission and conversation. Among the many vocalists featured on this album are Audrey Assad, Leslie Jordan, Casey J, Josh Garrels, Urban Doxology, Dianna Gameros, Lauren Goans, Zach Bolen, Latifah Alattas and Paul Zach.

  

What It Sounds Like

The diversity of backgrounds, Christian traditions and worship styles represented amongst the artists of The Porter's Gate is showcased through the diversity of musical styles in each song. On this album, you will experience hints of folk/acoustic ("Blessed Are The Merciful"), Gospel ("Teach Us Your Ways"), piano ballads ("Love Will Never Fail"), vocal arrangements that are reminiscent of liturgical worship styles ("Daughters of Zion") and more. Of particular note, is "The Earth Shall Know" featuring Urban Doxology, Casey J and Leslie Jordan, which has a reggae-inspired feel to it that adds so much charm and joy to an already great song. 



There's something about the arrangements, instrumentation, and mix that makes the album feel beautifully raw and organic, almost like friends gathered together for house worship. The sense of unity amongst believers–especially amongst diverse believers–is also evident in the way the artists sing and collaborate with one another to craft and share these songs.  



Spiritual/Lyrical Highlights

"Daughters of Zion" is a special song on this album. It expresses a humble, hopeful cry for God's justice and tender mercy toward the hurting and oppressed, and for His victory over wickedness. When will the truth come out? / When will Your justice roll down? / When will Your kingdom come / And evil be undone?



Best Song On The Record

"The Earth Shall Know" wins for best song on the record. It's thematically rich as the lyrics sing about the Church across every nation, tribe, creed and color unifying in worship of Jesus, proclamation of His name to our neighbors and care for one another's needs. It's also musically creative, incorporating elements of pop, soul, reggae and a pretty sweet horn section.



For Fans Of

David Leonard, Audrey Assad, Casey J, Ellie Holcomb



Final Word

Neighbor Songs is easily one of the most lyrically and musically diverse and engaging albums of the year. Born out of conversation, community, and mission, this album offers songs to the Church that highlight aspects of relating to God, one another and the world around us that are not often sung about in Church but are so vital.



Buy the album on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify


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Bold Declarations of Faith | Posted October-31-2019
What You Need To Know

Vive Worship is comprised of worship leaders and musicians from Vive Church based in San Francisco, CA, with additional locations throughout the U.S. The team releases Resonance (Live), a full-length live worship album.



What It Sounds Like

There are several aspects of this album that will draw you in. The fact that it's a live recording is a start. The exhortations of the worship leaders during the songs add a personal and engaging touch to the album. The team leadership of the worship leaders and vocalists is also great. It's really special to hear this album and truly feel that you are being led in worship by a team of people who worship God and led others into His presence on a regular basis. 



The vocals are mixed in such a way that even while featuring a lead vocalist, the other group members' voices and harmonies are still heard and highlighted in such a way that they contribute to the song just as much as the lead. Resonance (Live) combines elements of contemporary worship, Gospel ("Resonance," "War") and live and electronic instruments ("Walk On," "King of Dysfunction," "Future").



Spiritual/Lyrical Highlights

Part of Vive Worship's mission is to create songs that are "full of faith and bold in declaration about Jesus." That theme resonates in every song on the album. "Walk On" is just one great example: In joy and pain You always remain / I've got Your promise on repeat / Your love keeps chasing after me / There's faith, there's fear, Jesus You are near / We rise, we fall, the victory is Yours / I've got your promise on repeat / Jesus, I'm walking to Your beat



Best Song On The Record

"Heaven's Hand" and "Future" tie for the best song on the album. Both are high-energy, anthemic songs that capture the faith-filled declaration that drives the artistry and ministry of the band. 



For Fans Of

Planetshakers, Life.Church Worship, Israel Houghton, Elevation Worship



Final Word

Resonance (Live) is a diverse album full of soft ballads that will move your heart and high-energy praise anthems that will get you clapping and dancing. No matter the style, the lyrics will fill your heart and mouth with truth to bold sing in praise to Jesus and over whatever situation you face. 



Buy the album on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify


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Relevant and Rich Worship | Posted October-04-2019
What You Need To Know

Life.Church is a church movement led by pastor and author Craig Groeschel that's impacting the world, leading people in both local and online communities to become fully devoted followers of Christ. Life.Church Worship releases its latest project, God So Good (Live), a full-length album of original worship songs born from their church.



What It Sounds Like

Life.Church Worship has been contributing incredible songs to the Church for years, but God So Good (Live) stands out as the strongest release to date. Of particular note is the songwriting on this album, which I believe is some of the best we've heard yet from Life.Church Worship. This album gives you everything from upbeat and EDM tracks to make you dance ("Life To Me," "On Fire") to simple vocal and piano ballads to move your heart ("To God Be The Glory," "I Won't Move," "The Artist"). No matter the musical style, rich theological lyrics are woven into every song. I personally recommend the title track "God So Good" for worship leaders to incorporate into your song rotations, as well as "Life To Me" if you are looking for songs to connect well with youth.



Spiritual/Lyrical Highlights

I love the way "Grand Design" depicts God as Creator and Savior. These lyrics remind me of Psalm 33, which speaks about how God created not only the heavens and the earth, but He also created and understands the human heart. All the glory of creation / Everything is from your hand / Reaching down out of the heavens / All to sculpt the heart of man / Not in gold and not in silver / Nothing precious or refined / Across a universe of wonder / You make dust Your grand design



Best Song On The Record

It's so hard to choose one song from this amazing project as best, but "I Won't Move" is a really special moment on this album. Since the song is stripped down to just piano and vocal, it feels like you are listening as the vocalist simply sings a heartfelt prayer to God and we all get to listen in and be drawn into our own prayer as well.



For Fans Of

Passion, Hillsong Young & FreeElevation Worship



Final Word

God So Good (Live) is a gem of a worship record. The music is fun and engaging and the lyrics are both rich and catchy. Be sure to give this one a listen.



Buy the album on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify


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A New Sound of Worship | Posted September-04-2019
What You Need To Know:

E58 Worship releases their debut album, Make Way (Live)–a live worship experience recorded at their home church, Expressionn58 in Glendale, CA. Featuring lead vocals from several Expression58 worship leaders, the songs of Make Way (Live) carry the church's core values of creativity and experiencing and demonstrating the love of God.



What It Sounds Like:

E58 Worship fosters an experience on Make Way (Live) that makes you feel like you are right in the room worshipping with them. The album is instantly inviting and engaging from the first note, and will draw you in not only to listen but to engage in worship. E58 is a collective stacked with artists who are not only great vocalists, but passionate worshippers gifted at leading people in the praises of God. The opening song "Freedom" features Matt Sallee of acapella pop group Pentatonix on lead vocals. Also featured on the album are Wendy Vides, Sharon Piedt, Jeremy Fowler, Reeco Butcher, and Morgan Dahlgren. 



The musicality on the album facilitates the message and mood of each song well. There are particularly beautiful piano melodies and interesting chord progressions on this project that truly elevate the lyrics. There are also songs of high-energy praise ("Love Goes On"), faith-filled declaration ("Powerful") and tender worship ("Secret Garden").    




Spiritual/Lyrical Highlights:

"Filled With Heaven" has powerful lyrics reminding us that God isn't far from us. Because we are His children, we live in His presence and have access to Him at every moment. "I don't need to beg or plead / You're already near, already near / You're not far from where we are / You're already here, already here / So when You breathe out I will breathe in / I live in the fullness of Your presence / And I lack nothing in Your goodness / You and I are one and now I'm filled with Heaven"



Best Song On The Record:

Best song on the record is a tie between "Freedom" and "Love Goes On." "Freedom" serves as a great call to worship song, inviting us to acknowledge the presence of God and respond by singing His praise because His blood has made a way for us to freely worship Him. "Love Goes On" is a fun, upbeat praise song declaring the unfailing love of God.



For Fans Of:

Passion, Elevation Worship, Kaylee + Erica, Here Be Lions



Final Word:

Make Way (Live) is one of the best live worship releases we've heard this year. I'm glad the songs born of out Expression58 are being released into the world, and as you listen to this album you will be too. These are songs that will make way for you to experience God in worship. 



Buy the album on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify. Read our exclusive song-by-song interview with E58 Worship here.


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Sincere Worship and Encounter With God | Posted July-16-2019
What You Need To Know

Cleveland, TN based sister duo Kaylee + Erica release their live album, Heaven Is All Around (Live).



What It Sounds Like

Kaylee + Erica have created a sound that is the perfect blend of contemporary and Gospel influences ("My Soul Says Yes," "Speak Victory"), and overflows with a passion that comes from deep relationship with God and longing for His presence. Kaylee + Erica are passionate worshippers, stellar vocalists and great songwriters and all three of those elements are evident on every song. 



Of particular note is the way the instruments support and accent the lyrics and moments within the songs in such a way that they help your heart connect with God as much as the lyrics do ("Mountaintop," "Peace Reigns"). Every drum hit, chord change, build, break and melody line is intentional and serves a purpose in the song. The album also includes stirring renditions of known worship songs such as "To Worship You Live," "Shout to the Lord," "Draw Me Close", and a cover of Rita Springer's "Never Lost" that will stir your faith and leave you hitting repeat.   



Spiritual/Lyrical Highlights

"All of Creation" contains a particularly beautifully written lyric. It's a poetic declaration of the truth that God has created us and redeemed us so that we could know Him and praise Him with our lives. From dust we came, scattered and broken / You gave us a name, worthy, chosen / You took our shame and made us beautiful / We want to know You, Creator, Redeemer / Tell us all about Your deepest secrets / And we'll shout the praise of everything You are



Best Song On The Record

"Heart's Desire" is a standout on the record. With beautiful gospel-influenced chord progressions that bring the song to life, "Heart's Desire" is a raw cry of love for Jesus and desire for Him more than anything and the end of the song captures a powerful spontaneous moment of worship. Kaylee + Erica's heart for God shine through especially in the vulnerability of that moment and give us a special glimpse into the type of encounter with God they desire to bring people into through their music and ministry. 


 



For Fans Of

Elevation Worship, Hillsong Worship, Travis Greene, Tasha Cobbs Leonard



Final Word

In the Bible, the Psalms are filled with vulnerable songs of seeking God, praising Him, and declarations of faith and prayer with passion, longing, sincerity and vulnerability. Those are the types of songs Kaylee + Erica have crafted and the types of worship moments they have led us into with Heaven Is All Around (Live). More than simply offering good music to listen to, this album will lead you into a personal encounter with God. 



Buy or stream the album on Apple Music.


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Worship In Community | Posted May-19-2019
What You Need To Know

New Mexico-based worship collective from Calvary Chapel Albuquerque release their project, Breakthrough



What It Sounds Like

What's most striking about Breakthrough is the lyrics: they really are simply stories of believers walking through life with God and singing about their faith together, and that's what makes the album so powerful and such a pure expression of worship. ("What Are We Afraid Of", "Grace After Grace") The arrangements and instrumentation on Breakthrough do an excellent job of supporting and elevating the lyrics so that they stand out and draw the listener in. ("Breakthrough," "Just A Glimpse")



Spiritual/Lyrical Highlights

Battledrums describes part of their mission as inspiring the church to sing anthems that will help us live victorious lives, and "Emmanuel" is a song that perfectly captures that. The lyrics passionately proclaim that God is with us and that we are victorious in Him.



Best Song On The Record

"Edge of Heaven" wins for best song. It has an anthemic, drum-heavy bridge that connects with many when listening to the worship genre. More than that, however, it describes a longing for God's presence that is raw and sincere.

 

For Fans Of

Here Be Lions, Elias Dummer, Freedom Movement



Final Word

There's something powerful about worship songs that are born out of a local community of believers living life and pursuing Jesus together, and Breakthrough will draw you into the preciousness of that experience.



Buy the album on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify


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Showing 1-10 of 23 |   View Next 10 Album and Book Reviews

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