Hebrews 12:1-2

"..let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:1-2

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Church Music - A Review

I just realized that I never posted this review I wrote at the beginning of October. Enjoy!

I have spent quite a bit of time listening to "Church Music", the newest release by the David Crowder*Band and thought I would post a song-by-song review.

Overall, the album is solid and displays the creativity and ever-changing sound of the David Crowder*Band. If you have enjoyed his music in the past, then you will find yourself pleased with this endeavor. If you are one of those people who are on the fence when it comes to Crowder's music, then this album might hit you in all the wrong spots. I am pleased with this album and find myself listening to and singing many of the songs quite often.

"Church Music" by the David Crowder*Band

1. Phos Hilaron (Hail Gladdening Light)
a. Song builds from nothing into an almost haunting melody before it melds into second song
b. Sets the mood for the album well

2. Allelujah, Sing
a. This song goes through several transformations before pounding the chorus through you - it's pretty great: “Alleluia majesty, Alleluia King of Kings, Alleluia, Alleluia, angels sing, Alleluia sing”

3. The Nearness
a. This is one of the anthems of the album
b. It has great lyrics
c. Has a rocking chorus that drives your body to movement
d. The difference of intensity and sound from chorus to verse to chorus is great

4. Shadows
a. The chorus has resonated in me since I first heard it: “When shadows fall on us we will not fear, we will remember, when darkness falls on us we will not fear, we will remember, when all seems lost, when we’re thrown and we’re tossed we’ll remember the cost, we’re resting in the shadow of the cross.”
b. This is a song that churches and youth groups could sing in corporate worship times
c. This song will lend itself well to creative visual interpretation (video, dance, drama)

5. Eastern Hymn
a. I like the way this song focuses on who God is to us and what He can give to us
b. Very catchy chorus
c. No real way to sing this with others

6. SMS [Shine]
a. Starts out very smooth and melodious and builds slowly to chorus
b. This is a song churches and youth groups will sing and should

7. The Veil
a. Electronica laden beginning
b. This song rocks from the start and uses brief instrumental pauses effectively throughout to add to the ever increasing buildup

8. We Are Loved
a. Trip Hop / Electronica / House music blend
b. Fun song
c. Makes you move

9. All Around Me
a. Simple piano throughout
b. A solid song for solitary reflection

10. How He Loves
a. The reason this song is getting consistent airplay on CCM stations is evident from the first listen
b. Starts simple and slowly builds into a crescendo just in time for the resounding chorus
c. The bridge is lyrically stout and it ends wonderfully back at the chorus: "And we are His portion and he is our prize, Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes, If His grace is an ocean we’re all sinking, And heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss, and my heart’s unraveling inside of my chest, I don’t have time to maintain these regrets, When I think about the way... That He loves us, Oh how He loves us!"

11. Can I Lie Here
a. The first song on the album I find to be kind of blah.
b. It’s a bit repetitious, but the lyrics don’t turn me off
c. I find that the song doesn’t seem to move very far from start to finish musically
d. It’s slower and follows much stronger, more resounding ballads on the album

12. Birmingham [We Are Safe]
a. Not a big fan of this song
b. Doesn’t flow well for me
c. Quite repetitious lyrically

13. Church Music – Dance [!]
a. Very fun
b. All about movement
c. The synthed over lyrics at the beginning sound cool, but cannot be understood

14. What a Miracle
a. While I like the lyrics of this song, the music just didn’t really move me much.
b. The final half of the song is like an explosion of sounds thrown in a blender.

15. Oh, Happiness
a. The funky intro immediately tells you this will be an interesting song
b. I can’t help but smile through the chorus
c. The lyrics are deep but are possibly lost due to the fun nature of the song
d. This song grows on you and bounces around in your head long after it stops

16. God Almighty, None Compares
a. I feel like this song is kind of all over the place
b. The tempo changes multiple times, while the melody is constantly morphing into something else
c. At 6 minutes and 50 seconds long, this song goes on forever.

17. In the End [O Resplendent Light!]
a. This song went nowhere for me
b. After 4 minutes you get to hear a bunch of random sounds that fade to a soft melody

I feel that the first 10 selections would have been called a complete album for most bands. Crowder has gone out of his way to give even more to his fans and I can appreciate that. However, part of me wonders if this album would have been better served if 3 or 4 of the latter songs had been scratched from the playlist. Yes, the album would have been shorter, but it still would have been 13 or 14 songs, with the majority of those being songs that moved me with greater ease. Again, this is a solid effort by the David Crowder*Band and I look forward to hearing more from them in the future.

Side Note - If you are looking for some Christian music for your iPod that you can workout to, this album has several great songs to add to your playlist.

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