Tuesday, December 11, 2007

the Best in Worship

Worship music to me is something that is kind of on a different playing field than your average album. Secular music can focus on a broad range of topics, at times being very insightful and positive, while Christian music usually contains a ton of Christ-centered themes and a small share of worshipful moments, but there is something to be said for music that created solely for the purpose of bringing worship to God.
It is for this reason that I’ve decided to just list 5 worship albums of the past year that I would encourage everyone to check out apart from the Top 20 album list I’ll be releasing on Wednesday. Worship music is designed solely to bring glory to God and to turn all of our focus towards the Creator, and I don’t know who I can just look at it on a solely artistic standpoint and place it on a list next to Linkin Park and Relient K.
On the other hand, from the Psalms to many of the classic hymns, worship music has been some of the most artistic and awe-inspiring works that mankind has ever conceived. It is not a genre that should be that business that it is today in which artists simply throw a shallow Jesus love song together without really putting any depth and purpose behind their words.
These five albums are great examples of what worship music could and should be. As the genre continues to be watered down by less than impressive acts, it is encouraging to see others taking worship to a great new place creatively and artistically and discovering new ways with which to praise our savior.

1. The Glorious Unseen-Tonight the Stars Speak (Tooth and Nail/BEC)
Such a great collection of songs here, from the deeply personal cries of “Hear Our Prayers” and “Burn in Me” to more accessible songs such as the beautiful cover of the Crowder classic “O Praise Him” and the awe-filled ballad “Tonight the Stars Speak”
The lyrics are honest and heartfelt, and it is musically, soft spoken wonder. It doesn’t take too many artistic risks, but TGU still develop an original sound that sets them apart for some acts.
Some of their songs, including the excellent track “Forever Holy”, “Meet Us Here” and “Where Your Glory Dwells” would work well in a congregational setting, while the hit single and poignant closer “Close to Your Heart” and well as many other tracks work better for personal reflection.

2. David Crowder Band-Remedy (Sparrow) David Crowder Band has proved time and time again to be pioneers in the genre of worship music. Whether its producing fresh new music that is compatible for churches all across America or tackling an innovative and epic project like A Collision, they continue to find new ways to lead us in worship.
Remedy is not the risky endeavor that A Collision was, but its simplicity is really its charm. Not that DCB doesn’t continually stretch themselves as a band and incorporate a million creative elements throughout this album, but it definitely has a more accessible sound.
From the breathtaking and hard hitting opening “The Glory of it All”, to the aggressive/synth heavy “Can You Feel It?” there is a wide spectrum of ground covered on this album. The lyrics continued to inspired and passionate. Crowder’s love for God continues to be apparent, and through his music, it becomes contagious.

3. Hillsong United-All of the Above (Hillsong)
This band continues to impress, creating the best corporate worship music that you can find available today. From the mission-minded tracks “Solution” and “Point of Difference” to some of the most beautiful worship songs of the years (“Lead Me to the Cross” “Hosanna”), this album proves their continued evolution.
While they are not the likely to try anything to experimental, their sound continues to be fresh and original, standing ahead the rest of the pack.
You should definitely check out their EP, In a Valley by the Sea that they released later in the year as well.

4. Desperation Band-Everybody Overcome (New Life Worship) Another worship band that tends to release a ton of great original material, Desperation Band’s latest album has become one of my latest favorites.
While they succeed greatly on upbeat anthems such as “Light of Salvation” and “I Know”, the worship filled moments such as the ones experienced on the title track lead us all into a great place.
While they are more likely to include a clich├ęd lyric than any other band on this list, they are still a fresh voice in worship music that continues to think of new ones to express our love for God.

5. Hillsong Live-Mighty to Save (Hillsong) The title track alone makes this a worthy investment. The lyrics of “Mighty to Save” are so bold and passionate, creating an anthem of sorts for believers.
Although this collection was actually released in 2006, I didn’t discover until this year and it features such a great list of songs from Hillsong and Hillsong United that I had to recommend it.
Tracks like “Oceans Will Part” and “At the Cross” are especially beautiful, as is yet another great rendition of “From the Inside Out.” This album will absolutely lead you into a great time of worship.

Liberty University Campus Praise Band-Uncover
While they only included 2 original songs in this collection, the campus praise band at Liberty University features a wide variety of songs on this album that range from “Come Thou Fount” to “Holy Moment” and a fantastic version of “In Christ Alone.” This is a group of truly talented musicians who are leading a campus of 10,000 into worship on a weekly basis, and doing a great job.

No comments: