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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

The Noise We Make

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2001 1 Jan
The Noise We Make

Few people will recognize Chris Tomlin by name, but many will recognize his music from his contributions to the Passion conferences and recordings. Unfortunately, this situation leads to a lot of tracks on The Noise We Make that we've already heard before. But maybe that's forgivable in order to establish Chris as an accomplished artist and songwriter. The title track is a solid-rocking praise song, though the exact same version can be found on The Road To One Day. As good as the majority of the song is, I think the "You are worthy/holy" chorus gets a little too repetitive for its own good. But for the most part, it's one of the more exciting praise songs out there. Another well-known favorite is "America," the call for national revival and blessing that also appeared on the One Day Live and WoW 2001 recordings (though this is a new studio version). Fans of the Better Is One Day Passion album will recall "Be Glorified," another upbeat praise song. And the album closes with a hidden track of what is arguably Chris' most well-known song, "We Fall Down," performed live in another language (I'm not sure, but I think it's an African language).

For those unfamiliar with the aforementioned tracks, Chris' style treads between folk-pop (a la Caedmon's Call) and driving rock reminiscent of Joshua Tree-era U2. There are plenty of other new tracks to demonstrate Chris' range. Delirious' classic "Happy Song" finds its way on this album in a slightly more Americanized country style. The first single from the album, "Forever," starts off sounding a bit like U2 and leads worshippers to sing praise for God's unending faithfulness and enduring love. If "Captured," a song that's instrumentation gives it a folksy grassroots feel, sounds a little like a PFR song, that's because it was written by PFR's Joel Hanson. I personally love it when old and new worship music merge together, so my favorite track on the album is "The Wonderful Cross" (as in "When I Survey … "). It happens to be Chris' favorite too, and it features worship leader Matt Redman on the verses with a Chris Tomlin choir (through the magic of overdubbed recording) on the new refrain. The album closes with "This Is Our God," a gentle, comforting acoustic track based on a passage in Isaiah.

Contrary to other recent worship releases, The Noise We Make is a pretty good album, filled with mostly original praise songs and a few repeats. I think there's clearly enough evidence to show that Chris is one of the better young worship leaders out there. I just wish he would have kept the covers to a minimum. The only problem I see is that the primary fans of this album will be fans of the Passion albums, so they'll already have many of these songs. They'll probably want to pick this up anyway, in order to check out the other tracks. Though I can't rave about this first album, The Noise We Make offers enough to pique my interest for future songs and recordings from Chris Tomlin.