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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

In Christ Alone

  • reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 1 Aug
In Christ Alone
Sounds like … the worshipful inspirational pop of Twila Paris, Margaret Becker, Robin Mark, Michelle Tumes, Moya Brennan, Fernando Ortega, and others.At a glance … hymn-like melodies and lyrics are set to an ethereal inspirational pop style in this understated and pleasant debut.Track Listing There Is a Higher Throne
Across the Lands
Jesus, Draw Me Ever Nearer
In Christ Alone
Hear the Call of the Kingdom
The Power of the Cross
Beneath the Cross
See What a Morning
Speak, O Lord
O Church, Arise
Don't Let Me Lose My Wonder

Husband-and-wife duo Keith & Kristyn Getty aren't yet a household name, but chances are you're well acquainted with "In Christ Alone," a modern hymn co-written by composer/arranger Keith and fellow hymn-writer Stuart Townend—and probably the most famous hymn penned in the 21st century so far. It's one of the most-sung in churches across England and the United States, and has been recorded more than 200 times by names such as newsboys, Avalon, Natalie Grant, and many others. (My favorite version: Travis Cottrell's.)

Despite the Gettys' involvement in dozens of recordings over the years, they had yet to record an album of their own. In Christ Alone, the fitting title of the couple's stateside debut, fixes that. Produced by John Andrew Schreiner (Fernando Ortega, City on a Hill), the album gathers the couple's most beloved hymns. Admittedly, none are as recognizable as the title track, but many are just as corporate in music and theologically firm in lyrics.

The Gettys display a fascination with the cross, several tunes alluding to or referencing its atoning power. Of these, "The Power of the Cross" is perhaps the duo's next "In Christ Alone," a breathtaking reminder of Jesus' work at Calvary. Other themes include endurance until the glorification of the children of God ("Jesus, Draw Me Ever Nearer") and emboldening the Body of Christ to stand and be radiant until the coming of Jesus ("O Church, Arise").

All the tracks offer ageless, liturgical messages set to distinct Celtic melodies and an ethereal, meditative inspirational sound. It's a demure style, one that occasionally takes precedence over both melody and lyric ("There Is a Higher Throne," "Hear the Call of the Kingdom"), but that mostly serves as a conduit for these unassuming yet deeply affecting truths.

Certainly not all the songs on this album match the timelessness and grandeur of its namesake. But overall, In Christ Alone is testament that effective hymn writing—though something of a forgotten art in the last fifty years—is alive and well in the church today.

© Andree Farias, subject to licensing agreement with Christianity Today International. All rights reserved. Click for reprint information.