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Music Inspired by the Motion Picture

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 1 Feb
Music Inspired by the Motion Picture
Sounds like … some of the most popular hymns performed by some of today's best-known pop, gospel, and country artists, including Chris Tomlin, Natalie Grant, Jeremy Camp, Smokie Norful, and Martina McBride.At a glance … this album has little to do with the Amazing Grace movie, but it's nevertheless a worthwhile collection of contemporized hymns by several of today's most popular Christian artists.Track Listing Amazing Grace—Chris Tomlin
It Is Well—Jeremy & Adie Camp
All Creatures of Our God and King—Shawn McDonald & Bethany Dillon
Holy, Holy, Holy—Steven Curtis Chapman
Fairest Lord Jesus—Natalie Grant
I Need Thee Every Hour—Jars of Clay
Just As I Am—Nichole Nordeman
Were You There?—Smokie Norful
Rock of Ages—David Crowder & Marty Stuart
My Jesus I Love Thee/'Tis So Sweer—Bart Millard
Nearer My God to Thee—Kierra "Kiki" Sheard
Great Is Thy Faithfulness—Avalon
How Great Thou Art—Martina McBride

Some accept "inspired by" soundtracks at face value as cinematic tie-ins. Others regard them as marketing ploys. Having seen Amazing Grace twice, I can whole-heartedly recommend it as an excellent film about the efforts of Christian abolitionist William Wilberforce to end slavery in Britain. I can also say that this album of Music Inspired by the Motion Picture Amazing Grace has precious little in common with the movie beyond the title track and the cover photo.

Featuring several of the biggest names in Christian pop, gospel, and country, the hymns in this collection were chosen because they're supposedly "close to the heart of Wilberforce." Which is perhaps another way of saying that these are hymns Wilberforce probably might have enjoyed as a music fan—even though several of them weren't written in his time, and most of them are set to pop/country arrangements.

Nevertheless, motivations have no bearing on the album's quality. Though some of the tracks were previously released on other projects, most are new recordings, including Chris Tomlin's reworking of "Amazing Grace" from See the Morning, with newly added soulful backing vocals that help evoke the film's themes. A beautifully ethereal rendition of "All Creatures of Our God and King" by Shawn McDonald and Bethany Dillon is both electronic and sparsely acoustic, and while Natalie Grant's cover of "Fairest Lord Jesus" may be too modern for traditionalists, the programmed Euro-pop production is undeniably cool.

Really, most all the tracks range from good to excellent. But you should be aware that a similarly styled WoW Hymns collection is on the horizon, which includes contemporary versions of nearly all the hymns on this project, including five of the very same tracks. I can't imagine anyone wanting to buy two albums so comparable, and WoW ultimately offers more bang-for-buck. This one's still worthwhile, provided you know what you're in for—a collection of contemporized hymns, not an album of music featured in the Amazing Grace movie or a meaningful response to it.

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