I Could Sing of Your Love Forever: Two
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2001 1 Jan
Extra Extra! Modern worship music makes a huge impact in Christian music! Discover the music that has inspired millions of young believers with these compilations.
If the success of modern worship has caught you by surprise, then the press releases for these two new compilations are all you need to know. If you want to hear 25 or 30 of the best-loved modern worship songs out there, these two albums are a quick way to familiarize yourself. Inspired by the runaway success of the WoW Worship series (all three volumes) and the similarly flavored Songs 4 Worship series, I Could Sing of Your Love Forever was created last year to focus solely on the modern worship movement, whereas the other two focused more on contemporary worship in general. If you're curious about the difference, it's a subtle one—modern worship is generally more guitar-rock based, while contemporary worship includes both modern worship and adult contemporary-styled praise songs. Because the first one sold so well, we now have I Could Sing of Your Love Forever: Two, featuring 25 more of today's best modern worship on two discs. Not to be outdone, the creators of the Songs 4 Worship series have come up with Open the Eyes of My Heart, a two-disc set featuring 30 of today's best modern praise and worship.
Other than the number of songs included, is there much of a difference between the two? That depends on what you're looking for. Remarkably, both compilations share a number of songs, though different versions of those songs (except for "Meet With Me" by Ten Shekel Shirt, which is exactly the same on both). Both recordings also share such modern classics as "Come Now Is the Time to Worship," "Let Everything That Has Breath," "Open the Eyes of My Heart," "Breathe," "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever," and "Forever." Of course, for the more discriminating, not all performances of the songs are equal. For example, the original version of "Come Now Is the Time to Worship" appears on I Could Sing … 2 (as it did on WoW Worship Blue), but an awkward and overlong version of the song is featured on Open the Eyes … . In this regard, I Could Sing … 2 features the better and/or original versions of the aforementioned songs.
On the other hand, I Could Sing … 2 is a far more repetitive and dated recording. The two discs are divided between studio and live tracks, and the studio disc contains no less than three songs by Delirious (and a cover of another one of their songs on the live disc). One of these is the title track … which also appeared on the previous I Could Sing of Your Love Forever collection (though that was the SonicFlood cover of the song). Speaking of SonicFlood, their cover of "I Want to Know You" is also included, as is Matt Redman's well-known "The Heart of Worship" (though this one is a different electronic version). All these songs were featured on other compilations, not to mention the original albums they appeared on. How much can a worship song be milked? The live disc also features several tracks that were featured on the WoW Worship series, and half of the disc draws material from the popular Passion recordings (also released by Sparrow). The first I Could Sing … album nicely complemented the WoW Worship series. It was like the edgier little brother to that popular compilation. This sequel is a tired retread of already recycled material—it's the best of the best of compilations. Again, if you're completely new to modern worship, you probably won't mind. But there are far better compilations available.
Open the Eyes … fares much better, despite the few inferior versions of some songs. This compilation has the advantage of featuring a lot of brand new versions (and indeed new songs) that haven't been heard on other compilations … or anywhere, since many of the source albums have yet to be released. Especially intriguing to me were Garry McDonald (and his British progressive-pop song "It's Time") and the 7:22 Worship Band, which seems to be just a cover band, but a very good one. The compilation also features Rita Springer, Lincoln Brewster, and others who aren't normally featured on other worship projects. This makes Open the Eyes … a far more interesting resource for worship directors already knowledgeable in modern worship looking for something new. There's a consistent feel to the compilation—edgy modern pop/rock, compared to I Could Sing … 2 which often sounds like the usual songs from the Passion recordings and Vineyard Music (which they are). Really, the only other problem with Open the Eyes … is the repetition of key artists on the compilation. The producers included three songs from Lincoln Brewster's Live to Worship album. There are also three songs from the 7:22 Worship Band, and two each from Ten Shekel Shirt, Darrell Evans, and Rita Springer. Still, since Open the Eyes … offers five more songs than the other compilation, I guess one could think of these as bonus cuts rather than missed opportunities to debut more worship artists.
Overall, I favor Open the Eyes of My Heart over the new I Could Sing of Your Love Forever: Two collection. However, I recommend checking out the original worship projects these songs appeared on before these compilations. I understand financial restrictions and the desire to capsulize the cream of the crop, but sadly a lot of great worship songs get ignored because record labels fail to support a worship CD as well as they do compilations such as these. If you're seriously into the modern worship genre, then Sonicflood's debut and Delirious' Cutting Edge project (as well as anything else by Delirious) are required listening, as are the ever-popular Passion worship conference recordings. From Vineyard, Winds of Worship Vol. 12: Live From London and the two albums