- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2008 1 Sep
- Sing, Sing, Sing
- Jesus Messiah
- You Lifted Me Out
- God of This City
- I Will Rise
- Praise the Father, Praise the Son
- God Almighty
- My Deliverer
- With Me
- Exalted (Yahweh)
- All the Way My Savior Leads Me
He's one of Christian music's best-selling recording artists with several radio hits and Dove awards to his credit. He's also one of the world's most revered worship artists, excelling at writing songs for the church that are easy to pick up yet hard to forget. When you put it all together, it's no wonder that Chris Tomlin has become one of the biggest artists in Christian music, but such success makes it easy for fans of worship and Christian pop to lose perspective through raised expectations.
Tomlin's fifth studio recording
Truth be told, there's validity to both sides of that debate. Even the first radio single "Jesus Messiah" has drawn mixed reactions, some calling it another catchy Tomlin classic, with others saying it sounds exactly like his past work, little more than an excuse to build a song around the word "Messiah." Personally, I see it as overly familiar, yet an accessible ballad that beautifully explains the Son of God's sacrifice.
Other songs are similarly mixed. "Sing, Sing, Sing" is a song of praise similar to plenty other driving rockers from modern worship in the last decade, particularly Tomlin's own cover of Jon Abel's "Awesome Is the Lord Most High." Yet lower it several keys (like most Tomlin songs) and the average contemporary worship service will readily embrace it. The same could be said of "You Lifted Me Out," a catchy rocker based on
For those wanting something sonically different from this worship leader, Tomlin and longtime producer Ed Cash do kick the sound up a notch in some spots. "Love" is a musical highpoint with an African Children's Choir bringing something different to the mix, adding up to a joyous anthem with some meaty verses about the nature of love: "It heals the sick, comforts the weak/Breaks the proud, raises the meek/In this life no guarantees, but there is love." There's also "God Almighty," which relies on a cool rhythmic hook carried by drums, piano, and strings—maybe not the sort of thing the average church will replicate, but the song offers one of the Tomlin's strongest choruses to date with lyrics borrowed from "Holy, Holy, Holy."
Speaking of which, Tomlin seems at his best on
I'd be remiss in failing to mention "God of This City" as another highlight, a hopeful and timely anthem by Irish worship band Bluetree, previously heard on the Passion album of the same name. Stylistically it resembles the writing of Redman, grounding worship in realities of the world we live in. But that said,
If I sound like I'm on the fence, it's because I am. This album is not as good as Arriving or See the Morning, but perhaps things would be different if