Delivering On Promise
Posted December 15, 2017
By JJFrancesco_NRT, Staff Reviewer
When you have a live album titled For Unto Us: Christmas Worship Live From London from a worship leader with as much credibility as Paul Baloche, you shouldn't be surprised when it delivers exactly what it promises. Start to finish, this is 10 of his best Christmas-themed worship standards performed live in the genre's signature contemporary style. There is less concern with making musical surprises than with honest and straightforward praise to the newborn Savior.
Some of the songs show Baloche's signature move of combining well-known worship choruses with popular carols, such as "Joy to the World" and "Our God Saves." "For Unto Us" takes a lesser-covered song and blends it with the signature "Open The Eyes of My Heart," which feels a bit more natural than some other choices could have been.
If you're drawn to this classic contemporary style of worship, Paul Baloche's live Christmas Worship album will be a treat to play on repeat. The songs are simple and relaxing, and draw focus to the real reason for the season. In an age where commercialism tends to be so rampant that even the religious side of Christmas tends to become a part of the sale, it's hard to fault something so heartfelt and straightforward that doesn't overstuff on musical bells and whistles. To reorient somebody's attention on the focus of our affections, it's effective and commendable.
As a standalone musical project, the project may be limited in its appeal to those who are firmly fans of the staple praise and worship sounds. Those weary of what the praise genre typically offers may not connect as well with the project. While every now and then a melody change or instrumental accompaniment offers something to catch the attention, the forthright delivery of many of the tracks may not be for those looking for something experimental.
When the project delves into the songs we haven't heard as often, it works the best. "Christmas Offering" is a good example of this, as is the shining quiet of the closing track "Peace on Earth." The latter is a strong way to close out the project and may stand as the best cut from the album. Appropriately going for an intimate and contemplative finish instead of a rousing choral grand finale, the song stays true to the album's themes while also providing a more memorable musical finish.
The Bottom Line: Fans of praise and worship will find much to love in this Christmas offering from a veteran worship leader.
For Fans Of: Hillsong Worship, Matt Redman
Song to Download Now:
"Peace on Earth" (Get it on iTunes here.)
View All Music And Book Reviews By JJFrancesco_NRT | View JJFrancesco_NRT's Profile