Change Your World
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2005 1 Nov
- You Are Here
- Call Upon His Name
- You Know My Name
- Never Give Up
- Change Your World
- Where Would I Be
- Glorify Your Name
- Sing Over Me
- You Are Holy
- Agnus Dei
Her name has become synonymous with worship over the last decade, due to her leadership at Hillsong Church in Australia and standards like "Shout to the Lord" and "Worthy Is the Lamb." World-famous, yes, but Darlene Zschech would argue that she's no superstar. She certainly has the makings of one as a gifted songwriter, vocalist, and performer, though aside from some work singing commercial jingles, Zschech has always focused her time and talents in praise of God and his goodness.
Which is why her first solo album, 2003's
The same is true for
A great example is the first radio single, "Miracle," an upbeat programmed pop song reminiscent of Avalon with a slick world music hook. It's about using our lives as an offering to make a difference for Christ's kingdom, yet while it's more horizontal in scope, it's no less worshipful than similarly themed hymn "Onward Christian Soldiers." By the same token, it's possible that "You Know My Name" was written to be more personal, but it's no more so than some of the Psalms or a worship song written by Rebecca St. James.
There's no question that worship plays a significant part in Zschech's life, so we can accept that "My Yesterdays," "Glorify Your Name," and "Captured" sound like typical Hillsong ballads. There's also an interesting cover of Michael W. Smith's "Agnus Dei," the only song on the album that she didn't have a hand in writing. By far, the album's strongest track is "Call Upon His Name," a catchy and beautifully written modern day hymn similar in tone to Twila Paris, and easily one of the best worship songs Zschech has ever written.
Really, only two of the twelve tracks fall outside the worship music category. "Never Give Up" provides simple words of encouragement to a funky programmed pop track reminiscent of early albums from Rachael Lampa or Cindy Morgan, and thus not particularly distinctive. The title track is a dramatic pop ballad inspired by mission trips and the shocking Rwandan genocide of 1994, offering hope to the hurting. The album would have benefited from some more songs like this, applying Zschech's faith to the world around her. However, the song's production is surprisingly dated, more like what you'd expect from late '80s Margaret Becker.
That very production is both a strength and weakness here. Aided again by longtime friend and collaborator David Holmes,
Still good for what it is, this falls somewhere between Hillsong's straightforward corporate worship style and the earlier inspirational pop stylings of Twila Paris, Rebecca St. James, and Margaret Becker. How much more interesting it would be if Zschech stepped further outside her comfort zone to offer songs with more musical variation about faith in everyday life. Perhaps one day, we can look forward to day Zschech changing her world artistically.