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Rescue: Live Worship

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2005 1 May
Rescue: Live Worship
Sounds like … the AC pop feel of Michael W. Smith's Worship album, with the contemporary stylings of Paul Baloche or Travis Cottrell, and some of the modern worship qualities of DeliriousAt a glance … there are more strengths than weaknesses on NewSong's first live album and worship recording, suggesting that they may have found their new callingTrack ListingBlessed Be Your NamePsalm 40Welcome (talking)You Are Holy (Prince of Peace)Wonderful MakerHow Great Thou ArtMorning Time (talking)Before the DayYour Favorite Name Is FatherI'll RiseMichael Reflects (talking)RescueEvery Day's Another Day (Journey to Eternity)My GloriousArise My Love

Five years ago, Third Day satisfied fan demands for both a live album and a worship album with the release of Offerings. NewSong accomplishes the same with Rescue: Live Worship, the group's first with Integrity Music after parting ways with Reunion Records. Generously packed with 75 minutes of music, the CD was recorded at First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Georgia; a DVD with additional songs will also be available.

Worship isn't a far stretch for this oft vertically focused AC-pop group; an impressive live remake of their hit "Arise My Love" proves that much here. Nevertheless, it is striking (if not surprising) how well suited NewSong is to performing live worship—at times, this album is about as strong as Michael W. Smith's best-selling Worship project. Though there are some by-the-numbers covers of "Blessed Be Your Name" and "You Are Holy (Prince of Peace)" that sound too similar to those by other artists, tracks like these help anchor the concert experience in some familiarity. They succeed more with a uniquely stirring, piano-based arrangement of "How Great Thou Art" that astonishingly compares to U2 or Delirious. Speaking of Delirious, NewSong's rocking cover of "My Glorious" is faithful to the original's spirit, and in some ways improves on it.

NewSong also performs enjoyable arrangements of two newer, less familiar songs for the church: the Redman/Tomlin collaboration "Wonderful Maker" and Desperation Band's "Rescue." And the album's five new originals aren't too shabby either—the best are the relatable ballad of devotion "Before the Day" and the band's upbeat take on "Psalm 40." Really, the disc's greatest shortcomings are the talking segments, which are at least brief and smartly separated into their own tracks, though they might have been better saved for the DVD in exchange for an extra song or two.

An album like this requires a different kind of creativity than originality and inventiveness—it's a matter of writing catchy pop melodies with worshipful expressions that audiences can relate to. Despite the group's crossover success with "The Christmas Shoes," they've always been best at creating for the church. Skeptics going into Rescue expecting another bandwagon recording may well come away deciding that NewSong should be doing worship music full-time.

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