Heaven & Earth (Bonus Track Version)
Phil Poet, worship leader, musician, genius, all words used to describe worship leader Phil Wickham. But the best words to describe his newest album "Heaven & Earth" would be: Heavenly, ethereal, worshipful,...
David Crowder*Band As much as it pains me to say this, chances are very good that you will not like this CD on your first listen, if ever. However this worship album, is possibly one of the best worship albums ever put together!...
Heaven comes to Earth with Wickham's newest. | Posted December-07-2009
Poet, worship leader, musician, genius, all words used to describe worship leader Phil Wickham. But the best words to describe his newest album "Heaven & Earth" would be: Heavenly, ethereal, worshipful, surreal. Following in the footsteps of David Crowder Bands' "Church Music", Phil continues to re-define worship music with this Electronica/80's Rock hybrid. For those looking for the Derek Webb-esque sound of his first album, this is certainly not for you, but those fans of "Cannons" and the aforementioned Crowder will be treated to musical candy.
The album opens with the beautiful "Eden", a piano and synth heavy rocker. It is a recollection of Eden, and puts very plainly "I want it like it was back then, I want to be in Eden!" The next track "Coming Alive" is sure to have you bobbing your head and tapping your feet. The title track continues the trend of the first two songs, but it maintains the flow wonderfully and isn't repetitive. The only throw back to the folksy style of his first album is "The Time is Now". It is an acoustic guitar driven (but still synth heavy, and even has some funky banjo thrown in for good measure) ballad and is a pleasure to listen to, extremely fun (I cannot emphasize that point enough), and still fits in perfectly. "Hold On" is a space age rock song that is unlike anything I have ever heard from Phil. "Safe" features MercyMe frontman Bart Millard, and is the only song on the album that I may skip on return visits. Don't get me wrong, it's good, and lyrically it's a true stand-out, but it's just a little too normal compared to the rest of the album. The rest of the album follows with the same kind of charisma and beauty that graced the first 5 tracks. "Cielo" is the only other song that really stands out from the rest of this phenomenal album. The lyrics, vocals, and instrumentation are heavenly to say the least. It is easily one of the best on the album.
I would love to classify this album as groundbreaking in the world of Christian music, but other artists like Family Force 5, And Then There Were None, Krystal Meyers, Plumb, and David Crowder Band already broke that ground with all of their most recent offerings. But this album is just as good if not better than some of those recently mentioned projects, and you would be a fool to skip out on this fantastic release. This is sure to be a major contender for awards from Doves to Grammys. One of the best of 2009 for sure!
Pick it up on Nov. 17th and check him out on tour now with Chris and Conrad in a city near you.
WARNING... you may hate this CD | Posted September-22-2009
As much as it pains me to say this, chances are very good that you will not like this CD on your first listen, if ever. However this worship album, is possibly one of the best worship albums ever put together! It is groundbreaking and sadly controversial. As an employee at a small Christian bookstore in the North East, I hear alot of opinions about music, and in the nearly 24 hours that this CD has been on the shelves, I have heard more negative feedback about it than say Derek Webb's new (and more legitimately controversial) album, which I have heard a fair ammount of negativity around also! The general consensus is that "It's Techno, Dance, Electronic yuck! Not WORSHIP!" And as DCB redily points out, anything showing admiration and praise to our Savior and Creator is considered worship in His eyes. NOW that I have that out of the way, I would like to tell you why you WILL like the album.
Church Music, is a genuine and heart felt Electronic/Techno/Rock worship project that is sure to stun even some long time DCB fans. The songs on the album are sewn together with precision and is truly a delight to listen to. The album features guest vocals from five of Christian rocks most angelic voices, Lacey Mosley (of Flyleaf fame, and she brings a bit of Flyleaf along with her, her signature scream is subtly slipped into "The Nearness") and the four very talented young ladies from the band Eisley. And if for any reason their bands crash and burn, the ladies would be a very welcome addition to DCB in my opinion. The vocals as a whole from DCB members and non-members alike are ethereal. Musically the band has never been better, take The Nearness as an example. The song is a complex and up-tempo wonder that is tied together exquisitely.
From beginning to end (an epic 70+ minutes), Church Music delivers the goods, and again, in my opinion, is one of DCB's best albums, one of the best of the year for sure, and one that history will look on favorably.
Nothing Short of Revelatory | Posted September-09-2009
Desperation Band heralds from Colorado's New Life Church. With multiple live recordings behind them, and a relatively avid fan base, the band now releases "Light Up The World", a studio project that is superb! This is my first listen to Desperation so forgive me if I seem a little ignorant of past works. While I would be completely ignorant to overlook the very stark allusions to Hillsong United, I would like to, for the sake of giving a fair review. The album includes 14 songs that can be heard on regular CD players, 2 MP3 files, and a Video when inserted into a computer.
The album kicks off with an instrumental track that really sets the mood for what is to come impeccably! the album continues with justice themed anthems, "You Hold It All" and "Be The Change". As a matter of fact, the entire album centers on the theme of Global justice, both local and across nations. No doubt this theme is inspired by the terrible tragedy that occurred at the church nearly 2 years ago. The rest of the album is a mixed bag of up tempo anthems and slow prayerful ballads. All executed superbly!
The sound of this album is amazing, and expectantly so considering its a studio recording. Every wail of a guitar, rumble of a bass, and beep of a synth is distinguishable and layered perfectly. Vocals shine from both male and female worship leaders, and the lyrics are rousing in places and contemplative in others. I can not say enough good about this album.
This band is sure to give label mates, Gateway Worship, Hillsong United, and Klaus a major run for their money! This is the must have surprise of the Summer! Truly a must own!
Not just buisiness as usual here | Posted May-26-2009
Hillsong United returns after a two year hiatus from new musc with "Tear Down The Walls - Across The Earth". But how does it measure up against previous releases? I fear that in some peoples eyes, it may fail to meet expectations. How else could you top last years epic "I Heart Revolution"? You don't. And the members of HU know that all too well. So we are treated to a serious set of 12 truly great worship songs that dont try to beat any former HU albums, but almost totally departs from it!
The Album kicks off with the electro-rock anthem "Freedom Is Here", a good song but pales in comparison with whats to come. "No Reason To Hide" is a rather unconventional rock anthem that could make its way into the ever diversified church worship circuit. Just everything about it is right. "More Than Anything" follows suit with an unlikely sound, but infectious still.
"King of All Days" slows the album down a bit with beautiful lyrics and a church ready sound. "Desert Song" the previously released Brooke Ligertwood (formerly Fraser) penned song explores our prayers in all times of life, from Battle and Fire to times of Harvest... this is a truly wonderful song. "Oh You Bring" is another light tune that is simple but powerful. This song is one of my only dissapointments with the album because of something that I just can't put my finger on. It isnt horrible, but it just doesnt seem to hold your attention either. "Tear Down The Walls" is nice enough, and is the only other song where I take issue. It rings in at an epic 10+ minutes, but doesnt reach the same level as say "Saviour King". Its still a nice song, and keeps the flow of the album well.
"Soon" is the only other Brooke Ligertwood penned song on the album, which under normal circumstances would be relativley dissapointing, but this song is so wonderful it deserves a paragraph of its own. Lyrically alone it is not a departure from other HU material, HOWEVER it is the sound and presentation that makes it so genius. The sound of a solo Piano and tender female vocals has not been heard very often on the HU stage during any of their previous albums. Usually a guitar heavy, riff driven band delivers this VERY delicate song with ease and prestige. The song could have come off of one of Ligertwood's albums, but steers the band into uncomfortable territory, and I hope to hear more intimate songs like this on future projects.
The rest of the album does not require me to ramble on, but can be summed up in a simple word, Wonderous. I truly loved the rest of the album. From, "You Hold Me Now" to "Yours Forever". Pure worship and praise that will give new HU listeners a good listen and Current HU fans alot to love.
This album is just a pleasure to listen to, and if this points to new things to come, I can't wait!
Fun Music To Roll Down The Windows And Turn Up The Music | Posted May-20-2009
Family Force 5's "Dance Or Die" (released last year) was a criticaly praised album of 80's style synth pop/rock with the signature FF5 Krunk flare. NOW the band returns (or maybe THEY dont) with "Dance or Die With A Vengance", a GREAT remix album that is sure to find is way to many a car CD player, iPod, and club this summer. It Features remixes by superstars, and "indie" favorites alike, Including, but not limited to: David Crowder Band, Relient K, 3OH!3, and members of FF5 themselves.
The Record kicks off with what was first a slow head bobber, to now a heavy handed dance tune. Then one of my favorites from both the origional album, and this one, "Get Your Back Off The Wall". Remixed by 3OH!3, this song soars! This is a must have even if you dont get the whole album! The Album Continues on the same note untill Matt Theissen from Relient K remixed "The First Time". This is a slow alt-hop song that is strange compared to the rest of the album, but works alone to be good. "Wake The Dead" and "Radiator" dont stray to far from the initial recordings, but have noticable enough differences.
The final three songs on the album Including the all new "Ghostride The Whip" (more on this in a second) and the previously remixed "Rip It Up" and "How in the World", are where I get mildly concerned/excited. Here is why: "Ghostride" is an immaculate rap song in the tradition of Kanye West or Lil' Wayne, BUT therin lies the problem... its VERY sound alike.... it sounds like a hybrid of two songs off of Kanye's "808's & Heartbreak". The use of Auto Tune and near identical Lil' Wayne style vocals, is aggrivating if you have heard any of Kanye or Wayne's music. BUT It also seves as a good Alternative. The Last two follow suit and are good for what they are, but also seem to frusterate a bit...
I bought the album and LIKE it... and I would reccomend it for sure, but if you are looking for something fresh... get "Get Your Back Off The Wall" but leave the rest.
Strong freshman effort, Sure to spawn follow-up.. | Posted May-06-2009
Chris and Conrad, Worship leaders from Tampa, FL. dazzle on their first album. From the upbeat anthem "You're The One", to the pleasant "I'm At Home", the duo takes your ear drums captive. High marks include "You're The One", "Always There", "Love Revolution", and "Who I Really Am". As strong an effort as this is, the Hillsong United cover "Lead Me To The Cross" hardly enhances the origional, and may get lost in the shuffle with other High profile Covers of the same song that are arguably better.
This album will enhance any music lovers collection, and may cause some to hear a more upbeat version of "Shane & Shane".
"In The Hands Of God" is a nice enough send off.... | Posted May-06-2009
"In the Hands of God", the fourteenth album from gold selling artists "newsboys" is a nice enough CD to send off current front man Peter Furler. The high profile exchange of power from Furler to former DC Talk member Mike Tait has been the buzz of the music community for a good month now. Musically the CD is everything we all know and love about the newsboys; catchy Dance Pop/Rock tunes, and then some; the edgy and triumphant "No Grave" comes to mind. However lyrically, the album falls a little short. But lets not dwell on the little negative when there is rejoicing to be had! The return of guitarist Jody Davis is welcome and the addition of Superchick producer Max Hsu was a stroke of genius. Some of the album is auto-biographical to the newsboys journey and legacy, where other parts are sheer newsboys nostalgia. It took me a few listens to enjoy the album for what it really is and I truly appreciate it! So while it may not grab you on your firt go, it will eventually, so dont give up.
In The Hands of God is sure to be a must have this summer, and with instant classics like "No Grave", the albums namesake, and the Hillsong United cover "Lead Me To The Cross", its sure to be a Single machine. Pick it up at your local Christian Bookstore, if for no other reason than to own a piece of newsboys history.
"10" Years Of Great Music. | Posted April-03-2009
"10" is a celebration of the 10 years of music since "I Can Only Imagine" released in 1999, and it is an album to praise. It features 12 of MercyMe's #1 hits and 3 all new recordings. The CD shows the bands wide range over the years in both style, and spiritual maturity. With classics like "So Long Self", "Word Of God Speak", and new hits "God With Us" and "Finally Home", any long time fan, or newcomer will be impressed with the collection. The new recording of "I Can Only Imagine" however is the shining achievment of this album. The arrangment features the London Session Orchestra, and is a near perfect 5 min. of music. The album falls flat with its two, 100% new, songs. The first "Only Temporary" has wonderful lyrics, but are lost in the upbeat bluesey sound, while the second "10 Simple Rules" really is borderline embarassing. It would sound more at home on a "Silly Songs with Larry" album than a Grammy award winning adult contemporary one.
In all its a nice set on the CD, and the DVD is worth the money for its near Dozen music videos/live performances, and the GMC's "Faith and Fame" piece on the band.
Mandisa finds "Freedom" from the mediocre | Posted March-16-2009
"Freedom" is the title and recurring theme on Mandisa's sophmore album. She even dedicates the album to those "...chained by addictions, failures, or circumstances..." With a message of hope and love beyond all understanding, Mandisa's album could have been cliche or contrived. But in the gifted hands of the team of songwriters (Matthew West & Cindy Morgan to name a few), producers (Chris Stevens & Brown Bannister), and Mandisa herself, the album soars beyond her freshman effort and escapes the sophmore slump like only a true diva could do.
The album kicks off with the fun R&B/Pop tune "My Deliverer". This is a fun song that is sure to turn anyones sad day into a brighter one. "How Much" answers the question (to our best human ability) of how much God loves every one of us. "He Is With You" is a reminder of Gods constant companionship.
"The Definition of Me" is the lyrical equivalent of "True Beauty" from her first album, but musically couldnt be more different. With guest vocals by Blanca Reyes from Group 1 Crew, and an Urban/Hip-Hop beat, this song is an encouragment to Girls and Women of all ages shapes and sizes, that what is on the inside is "the definition of me". "Not Guilty" is a sort of court room drama portraying our final testimony before the LORD.
The middle of the album lost me every time. I enjoy the lyrics, but the music is just so standard that I lost interest. But the beautiful and emotional "Broken Hallelujah" steps in and saves the day. This heart felt piano ballad is one of the best songs on the album and is sure to be a single soon. "Freedom Song" and "Dance, Dance, Dance" are slight oddballs on the album, but not bad songs. The first being a Gospel/R&B style that is fun and even reminiscent of greats like CeCe Winans, and the second a mild techno dance song that is enjoyable to say the least.
The closer is a beautiful ballad about life in Heaven and how "You Wouldn't Cry" for me today. It reminds me of "If You Could See Me Now" but seems to surpass it in certain respects.
I loved this album and HIGHLY recommend that you pick one up at your local christian bookstore come March 24th.
"And Then" there was a great album! | Posted March-16-2009
And Then There Were None's (ATTWN) debut album, Who Speaks For Planet Earth? is an outstanding effort from the new Tooth and Nail band from Salem, NH. Taking their cue from recent dance rock efforts by, Family Force 5 and Krystal Meyers, ATTWN takes it a step (or two) further and the result is a collection of 11 Club ready dance anthems that are sure to get you dancing! While the names of the songs are reminiscant of bands like Underoath, long and leaves you wondering what they have to do with the song, the lyrics are rather thoughtful and poetic. Songs like "Hospital" and "Atmosphere" are fun dance anthems on the surface, but if you dig deep enough there is an intelligent and intellectual core. "Reinventing Robert Cohn" deals with temptation in a tactful way, but is Radio friendly to the Christian media and also the Mainstream market.
The bands Punk roots shine through on the entire album, both vocally and musically, "Action Is The Anecdote" starts off as a punk ballad, but quickly transforms into a dance/electro ballad, complete with layering in crowd noise for a great effect. "The Alamo" & "Insozzz..." are the only places on the album I have any quibbles, and that is only because they are toned down and not as fun as their predecessors. Oh, did I mention there is a cover of Richard Marx's "Right Here Waiting"?
While ATTWN is no Daft Punk or Moby, they sure are making a name for themselves. Give them a chance, and they may quickly become your favorite Veggetarians.