Matt Redman
Where Angels Fear To Tread
Sparrow/Worship Together

Many will disagree with me, guaranteed, but I say the uninspired, at times boring, Where Angels Fear to Tread, by the often over-worshipped U.K. worship leader Matt Redman, signals an end to the trend of praise and worship music selling so well in the contemporary Christian music market.

It was Redman and another artist with a distinct accent (Darlene Zschech from Australia) who got non-denominational churches all over the globe so excited in the mid-to-late 1990s with well-written, novel praise and worship songs like Shout to the Lord and The Heart of Worship. But that was then, and this is now. And in the music business -- where money matters -- Christian or not, it's time for a new trend. Praise & worship has lost its luster. Sorry. It has. It's all starting to sound the same.

That's not to say that praising and worshipping God has became passé. No, the industry itself is settling for the same old same old because it's a proven seller. You will undoubtedly buy Redman's new disc because you actually like bland, overproduced corporate pop rock. Fine. And lots of worship leaders will incorporate some of Redman's new songs, like Lord, Let Your Glory Fall and Amazing into their repetitive repertoires.

We have Zschech and Redman to thank for the trend which found seemingly every contemporary Christian artist from Michael W. Smith to Rebecca St. James jumping on the praise and worship bandwagon, saturating the market with too many simple choruses and the same annoying (some would say "cheesy") synthesizer drum beat that permeates today's corporate Christian radio playlists to no end. Frankly, lots of artists -- including Anointed, Jaci Velasquez, Clay Crosse and Zoegirl, to name a few -- have recently lost the inspiration, anointing or sonic vibe that made them originally stand out. Add Redman to that list.

Faith healer Benny Hinn suggested that "the Church" needed to get back to hymns when he made an appearance in Buffalo, New York, last year. Perhaps old hymns done in a new way should be (or will be) the next trend to take hold in the contemporary Christian world. We'll see.