Prime Cuts: One Day (When We All Get to Heaven), Greatest Hallelujah, Redemption Ground (Featuring Madison Cunningham)
Overall Grade: 4/5
Racism does rear its ugly head in our worship music. It's the white elephant few worship leaders and pastors care to address. You don't have to be a music expert to know that the sounds of praise in an African American church is vastly dissimilar to what is being sung in a white or American-Asian church. Matt Redman, God bless his heart, takes a bold Gospel step to breach this tacit divide with this new record. Redman has taken the first step to enhance the Gospel streaks in his music. He does this in a trio of ways: first, the songs on "Glory Song" adopt a more "looser" Gospel-ish ad-lib impromptu than his previous efforts. Second, there are more hand claps, choir shout-outs, R&B grooves, and generally the songs are far longer than the average "white-centered" worship songs. Third, Redman has brought in Gospel artists, such as Kierra Sheard, Guvna B, and Tasha Cobbs, to sing with him, a fairly uncommon fleet on a worship record.
Crisscrossing genres does free Redman up to be more expressive and experimental. Whilst his former album "Unbroken Praise" was a tad too safe and formulaic, this time round Redman lets loose. The title cut "Gospel Song," for instance, integrates EDM pulsating beats, a rousing Gospel choir, and Redman's signature pop anthemic together in a way that sounds refreshing. Likewise, "Gracefully Broken" is the poster song of worship that defies genres. Tasha Cobbs Leonard doesn't just pay a courtesy visit. Rather, coming midway, she takes hold of the song and drives us right into the choir loft with her hollers and shout-outs. Kierra Sheard, on the other hand, is no less subdued. She comes in towards the end of "All Glory" with a host of choir voices blasting this dynamite of a song up to heaven.
This doesn't mean that "Glory Song" has completely departed from Redman's ever-reliable template of worship songs. "Greatest Hallelujah" is consummate Redman. The slow build-up to the Everest high type of a chorus with lyrics that is fixated on giving our all in worship, "Greatest Hallelujah" ranks highly with some of Redman's classics such as "10,000 Reasons" and "The Heart of Worship." Nevertheless, "Greatest Hallelujah," which clocks in at over 7 minutes, could have been even better if the ending wasn't elongated that much. "Redemption Ground," which features the relatively new artist Madison Cunningham, is this album's theological nerve. Overflowing with so many quotable lines, this song allows us to understandable the working outs of the Cross in ways that are astounding.
"One Day (When We All Get to Heaven)" is the absolute best song on the album. Featuring the piano as the major instrument, Redman moving sings about how heaven is the "greatest vision of grace." By incorporating the hymn "When We All Get to Heaven" into the song's chorus, there's something familiar about this new song that makes it is so endearing. While "One Day" is the album's apex, there are a few tracks that bother on the record's trough. "Questions (You Are Faithful)" and "Your Ways" both start off promisingly, but by the time the choruses start, the songs just disintegrate.
Not every song on "Glory Song" may be awarded an A+ grade, but this is still an important record. This album is a testimony that racism need not segregate our worship. And let's hope Redman is the first of many that will make such albums to show that our God loves people of all colors and backgrounds.