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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Our Love Is Loud

  • reviewed by Andy Argyrakis Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2002 1 Feb
Our Love Is Loud
Sounds like … live modern worship similar to what you've heard on recent studio releases from Chris Tomlin, Charlie Hall, and the David Crowder Band. At a Glance … Our Love Is Loud features slower and more drawn-out worship songs that stray slightly from the normally rock-driven Passion series.

The Passion worship movement has grown beyond founder Louie Giglio's wildest dreams over the last few years, with 700,000 albums sold in the recording series, well-attended national tours, and the offshoot label sixstepsrecords as a few milestones. The most prominent artists to come from the Passion community include Chris Tomlin, Charlie Hall, and the David Crowder Band, all of whom recorded and released their own solo projects within the last year. The three ringleaders united once again for a Passion tour last fall, which ironically kicked off on September 11. Even though they could have unpacked the tour buses and held off their traveling jaunt due to the nation's tragedy, Giglio insisted they continue. "The next seven weeks found us before 35,000 young seekers of God, refusing to allow our worship to be thwarted by men of terror," he said. "It proved to be a God-ward journey of hope and victory in the midst of one of our nation's darkest hours."

Pressing on was worth it, as those on tour would soon discover. College students across the country were adamant about spreading the word and came out in droves to support the events. Clearly the Passion sound is most appreciated in college circles due to its blend of modern rock and acoustic pop. Plus, worship leaders (Tomlin especially) have proven over the last year to put artistic excellence at the forefront of their mission as well.

At times, that vision continues on the series' latest live recording, Our Love Is Loud — although it's safe to say that if you've followed the series even slightly, there won't be many surprises on this project. This live album starts out on a subdued note and doesn't begin to rock out until the seventh cut on the disc. On one hand, such a slow, mostly acoustic opening sequence sets up an introspective theme, but on the other hand, it lacks the excitement that could draw listeners in sooner. Tomlin begins the set with his take on Tim Hughes' "Here I Am to Worship" and shortly moves on to the brand-new worship composition "Famous One." It's a fairly straight-laced blend of acoustic and electric guitars with a consistent drumbeat that frames the repetitive, yet anthemic chorus quite nicely.

Charlie Hall picks up where Tomlin leaves off, starting with the simplistic "Prepare the Way," followed by the chilling "Sweep Me Away" and the hand-clapping accompaniment to "Madly." However, it isn't until his next cut, "Psalm 126," (the disc's seventh) when the band really pumps up the volume and elevates the album's somewhat-sluggish pace. That tune includes electronic sound effects over a series of samples and rhythmic guitar and drum combinations. The David Crowder Band follows Hall with their contributions, including "Wonderful King" and the title cut. Their relatively average sound lingers around at first, while the audience's enthusiasm enhances the Sonicflood-flavored "Our Love Is Loud."

Tomlin returns to close out the concert with three appropriate selections, starting with a solo version of the City on a Hill cut "God of Wonders." (The well-known original version of course featured a duet between Third Day's Mac Powell and Caedmon's Call's Cliff and Danielle Young). His voice bears a slight resemblance to Cliff Young's, while the song's inspirational sprit is preserved and even amplified thanks to the live setting. The covers continue with Delirious' "My Glorious," including a joyous sing-along by those in attendance. "Dance In the River" closes out the disc with an introductory loop of choppy Delirious-meets-Simple Minds guitars. There's no doubt it's the disc's most energetic cut, but the minimal lyrical content (other than a few rounds of "We're gonna dance in the river") makes the tune sound too much like a rocked out high school cheer.

I'm guessing that faithful followers of the Passion movement will quickly swoop up this project and add it to their permanent collection, while less-fervent fans will write off Our Love Is Loud as being just one more title in an overflowing pool of worship material. Either way you look at it, there are several moments that float on memorable majesty while other segments sink from the weight of the same old sound you've come to expect from the worship-music movement.