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Hiding Place

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 Oct
Hiding Place
Sounds like … the softer, easy listening AC pop of Fernando Ortega, James Taylor, Michael Card, Paul Baloche, or Barry Manilow as applied to contemporary worshipAt a glance … though not unpleasant or unwelcome to longtime fans of Moen's work, Hiding Place doesn't generate enough sparks to set his work apart from more creative and inspired worship albumsTrack Listing Hiding Place He Never Sleeps Sacrifice of Praise All the Earth Fresh Fire With a Thankful Heart Lead Me Through the Night Hear Us From Heaven Break Through Revelation Song Psalm 23 Still / Be Still and Know

Don Moen has been making music for more than 30 years, leading worship on every continent but one (Antarctica awaits…), and selling more than 5 million copies of his albums. He also happens to be a Dove Award winning songwriter ("God Is Good All the Time" and "Thank You Lord" remain his best known) and the President of Integrity Music, not to mention a husband and father of five.

Yet in light of all that, his twenty-first album, Hiding Place, is also his first studio recording after a long string of live worship projects. Hard to believe, but Moen doesn't let the production or polish affect his delivery, prompting lines to the "audience" as if he were still leading worship in concert. Except for cleaner instrumentation and a lack of crowd response, it could almost pass for one of his previous efforts.

Which is somewhat problematic. Moen's mellow adult contemporary approach to worship music is homogenous, distinctive only in that it sounds dated and quieter compared to most worship music today. The simple title track—a minimalist ballad that runs more than seven minutes—gives the album a sluggish start, and it's not until the fourth track (the upbeat and congregational friendly "All the Earth") that things begin to liven up with more memorable songs. Most of the tracks are conventional expressions of thankfulness and praise that fail to differentiate Moen's work from other more memorable worship writers.

Not to say that the music isn't pleasant or effective for what it is. "Lead Me Through the Night" (co-written with Integrity veteran Paul Baloche) is an effective ballad about finding refuge in the Lord, and there are also good covers of Jared Anderson's "Hear Us From Heaven" and Reuben Morgan's "Still." Hiding Place will satisfy longtime supporters of Moen's music, but unlike Baloche or Chris Tomlin, the album isn't quite interesting or creative enough to inspire broader audiences.

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