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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Back to You

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 Aug
  • COMMENTS
Back to You
Sounds like … worshipful pop and soft rock reminiscent of classic AC Christian artists like Susan Ashton, Clay Crosse, Avalon, Chris Rice, and Steven Curtis Chapman, plus a few tracks similar to Sonicflood, James Blunt, and Paul SimonAt a glance … it's another hit-and-miss worship collection from Spring Hill, with several songs too overproduced or too forgettable, but Back to You does have its share of bright spots tooTrack Listing I Choose You You Are Good Till the Whole World Knows Hallelujah To Christ I Give My All Arise Amazing God Cry No Condemnation Dust Back to You I Will Stand A New Song Bring Glory Not What My Hands Have Done

There's a bit of a catch-22 when it comes to making worship albums today. Live recordings demonstrate songs for the church in a practical setting, but they're not always embraced by radio, making it harder to market the songs. Studio albums, however, tend to be overproduced pop/rock, sometimes veiling the song's potential for corporate worship.

Since early 2005, Spring Hill Worship has done reasonably well at balancing the two, but tends to gravitate toward AC pop between the writing styles, vocal performances, and overall production. Back to You is no exception, though songs like "I Give My Christ My All," "Arise," and Anadara's "You Are Good" seem to have enough pop accessibility to work effectively in private or public worship. Joe Beck's "Dust" is especially magnificent, with a sound reminiscent of James Blunt and thoughtful words about mankind's relationship with its Creator, but the wide vocal range makes it too impractical for a congregation.

Others are more forgettable. There's a fine rendition of John Waller's "I Choose You," originally heard on Point of Grace's 2004 album of the same name, but it still feels like a good worship song that's half cliché. And though "I Will Stand" and "Till the Whole World Knows" aren't unpleasant, they seem blandly interchangeable with hundreds of other worship songs from the last twenty years.

Which is why the Messianic tone of "Cry," Tom Lane's refreshingly unadorned "A New Song," the gently twangy hymn feel of the title track, and Detour 180's inspired "Hallelujah" chorus succeed—they stand out with distinctive arrangements and memorable tunes. Billy Sprague's "No Condemnation" (based on Romans 8:1) is particularly delightful with a congregational friendly melody and a celebratory style akin to Paul Simon or Jimmy Buffett, and Buddy Greene's "Not What My Hands Have Done" wonderfully adapts a hymn text by Horatius Bonar to a knockout blues-gospel arrangement. Another hit-and-miss worship collection from Spring Hill, but it should generally satisfy core worship music enthusiasts.

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