Chris Chris Tomlin is the poet laureate of worship music in the first decade of this century. Bold? Over-hyperbolizing? Not really. With five songs currently in the top 25 used by the American church, it's undeniable....
Roots Run Deep
Jadon A worship leader in Southern California and Christian recording artist with a growing support base, Jadon Lavik is no stranger to the hymns. He was inspired to record Roots Run Deep by his traditional...
This Is Our God
Hillsong Worship The most breathtaking moment on Hillsong's 17th live recoding is the final few seconds of the album. If you were there at the Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia, you would have seen the worship team leave...
Here We Go Again | Posted September-12-2008
If there was any question, the group's name is fitting. Carolyne, Jordan and Caroline, all teenagers dedicated to spreading the good news, have churned out an infectious sophomore release that is sure to take Radio Disney by storm. The songs are instantly sing-along-able, relevant to the (pre-) teen groups with references to Miley Cyrus and using abbrevs on "BFF." Right out of the gate, this young ensemble bombards you with power chords and effervescent vocals on "Here We Go Again." Their newest project highlights pureNRG, right down to the last synth pump and kick drum. The wholesome pop group covers classics like "Footloose" (heard on their previous album) and "Aint No Mountain High Enough" (perhaps the best track on Here We Go Again). This trio is the perfect tween alternative to secular pop sensations, with their glorifying lyrics and positive message. A kicking sophomore release for pureNRG.
My Paper Heart | Posted September-12-2008
Francesca is one among many musical Battistellis. Her family was heavily involved in the arts and Broadway growing up, which likely influenced her soulful, inspired and honest vocals. Battistelli's musical lineage is deeply rooted in jazz and R&B, which is blaringly clear on songs like "Unpredictable," where her syncopation nears perfection. She gravitates toward that jazzy, push-and-pull vocal styling throughout My Paper Heart, and it works. Songs like "I'm Letting Go" channel the piano-stomping Sarah Bareilles (catchy chorus and all), and her voice reaches sweeping heights on "Beautiful, Beautiful."
My Paper Heart touches on clearly universal themes of trust and venturing into the unknown, but Battistelli takes each song by the reigns, making them both intimate and relatable. Her weathered vocals convey the heartbreak and resilience she sings of on the title track. She sings with a passion well beyond her years, and it's clear that she'll be singing strong for years to come. Truly an excellent release.
This Is Our God | Posted September-12-2008
The most breathtaking moment on Hillsong's 17th live recoding is the final few seconds of the album. If you were there at the Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia, you would have seen the worship team leave the stage with only the name of Jesus displayed on the screen. Then you would have kept singing for two minutes in spontaneous praise. The final track "Everything" is a slow burning, yet explosive, worship anthem that closes with that unprompted worship moment caught for us to share. This is Hillsong. this is what they are about and why their music has touched millions around the globe. Passion isn't a name for them; it's their entity.
So yes, 17 releases, why do you need another one? The answer is that Hillsong leads the charge in everything creatively and musically related to music in the devotional arts. And yes, This Is Our God is in every way equal or better than all their previous work. Plus on this release the proverbial leadership torch has been passed from Darlene Zschech to Reuben Morgan and Joel Houston. The musicality may intimidate the kid-and-a-guitar leaders among us, but it will inspire them to higher musical excellence: you need to sit and work with these songs.
The choice to go live is not exactly one you can complain about, because what's the point? That's how the Aussies roll. So love it or hate it, you get slightly washed out mixes. But that is also the basis of their strength. You can tell there was very little post-recording and the integrity of the night has remained intact.
As far as songs for your service of worship, it is tough to pick a couple. Every one is spot on for passionate calls to praise, but here are the ones that are undoubtedly worth your attention: "Your Name High," "This Is Our God," "With Everything," and the simple yet striking in its lyric power, "You Are Here." When the thousands of voices gathered to proclaim these words "The same power that conquered the grave / lives in me. And your love that rescued the earth / lives in me," the earth must have stood still for a moment.
Roots Run Deep | Posted September-12-2008
A worship leader in Southern California and Christian recording artist with a growing support base, Jadon Lavik is no stranger to the hymns. He was inspired to record Roots Run Deep by his traditional church upbringing in Washington and has done so out of a "deep reverence for the hymns." The reverence is apparent. Roots Run Deep is raw, emotive and-what's the word?-ah yes, authentic. With a bit of a departure for previous releases, Lavik focused on elegantly spare arrangements of piano, acoustic guitar and vocals, focusing on the heart of the hymns. The entire album is dripping with the richness of earthy vocals and raw acoustic guitar. "Come Thou Fount" is an organic standout. "Wondrous Love" is upbeat, Jack Johnson-y, and even though it's a bit more produced, Lavik's crooning drives the song forth in praise. The earthy sound really captures the album title-Jadon Lavik taps into a raw musical talent to deliver the hymns in the purest sense. Roots Run Deep is the first step in a great direction for Lavik.
Hello Love | Posted September-12-2008
Chris Tomlin is the poet laureate of worship music in the first decade of this century. Bold? Over-hyperbolizing? Not really. With five songs currently in the top 25 used by the American church, it's undeniable. One reason is that his music is completely straightforward. No strange turns into musical experimentalism or adventurous melodic strains. This is what works for congregational offerings today, and Hello Love is Tomlin's best effort, yet.
With Ed Cash's attention to production detail and Tomlin's clear emotional binding to the offering of his songs, worship leaders and radio stations both have something to celebrate. On a nobler plane, as far as worshipers go, there are at least four tunes that hearing them feels like you are hearing a song already etched on your heart. Tomlin calls us all to join him in lifting "the name of Jesus" in the major-chord, kick-beat driven, hip-pocket, instant emotion rouser "Sing, Sing, Sing." Then there are the others you already know, "Jesus Messiah," the radio single that is likely already on your set list, and "God of This City," you likely heard this one on the most recent Passion release by the same name. This powerful anthem was written by the techno-worship outfit Bluetree for the city of Belfast in Northern Ireland, and Tomlin will now bring it to the attention of people around the world, undoubtedly helping it become the cry of thousands of churches for its anointing and proclamation God's redeeming power.
Since his Arriving Tomlin has continued to push his music beyond the realms of just Christian easy listening and into smoldering cries of exaltation that speak to communities around the world. He is emotionally glued to the meaning of his music, and Hello Love proves that he will continue to bless God's people for years to come.