Various Artists “Passion: The Essential Collection” Album Review


Prime Cuts: Our God (Chris Tomlin), 10,000 Reasons (Matt Redman), Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies) (Chris Tomlin)

With the greatest propensity to leave the church, college-age students are the most viable victims to the subtle temptations of the world.  Many have just left home for the first time; unequipped to face their new found freedom many could not resist the booze, the drugs, the casual sex and the party life of college life.  Thank God for the vision of Pastor Louie Giglio.  Instead of watching many of these young adults race along the broad road of destruction, Giglio wanted to bring the Gospel to them.  What a better in-road into than to create a party that is saturated with passion for Jesus!  Each year at the Dome Stadium in Atlanta, thousands of young adults would gather to hear God's truth proclaimed in word and music set in a partying setting.  The live worship music at these conferences are so raved about that it was recorded and released as albums.  Many of these records have not only hit the pinnacle of Billboard's charts, but these albums have also functioned as platforms to launch careers of many contemporary Christian artists.  Over the years, Hillsong United, David Crowder, Jami Smith and Tim Hughes have all graced the Passion stage.  

After 21 live albums comes "Passion: The Essential Collection."  This is essentially a retrospective that comes in a CD + DVD box set.  The CD comprises of 15 of their biggest songs (no unreleased tracks), while the DVD comprises of seven music videos and four messages from Louie Giglio. If one takes a look at the CCLI song chart at what are the most popular worship songs played across the US, one would find that at least 40% of the chart comprises of songs by the worship leaders associated with the Passion Conference.  And most of their biggies across the years are here from earlier entries such as "Holy is the Lord," "One Thing Remains" to more recent congregational favorites such as "Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies)" and "10,000 Reasons."  So, what makes the Passion songs such a tour de force as far as church worship music is concerned?

First, their songs here are entirely God-centered.  Our culture may promulgate "sex sells."  But in reality, "God sells" too.  Whether or not we care to admit it, all of us have God-shaped hearts that longs for God.  And when we come to church, we are tired of hearing about our weaknesses and failings.  We want to hear and sing about a God who is much greater than us.  Songs such as Chris Tomlin's "Our God" services just the right vocabulary when Tomlin sings:  "Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other." Second, unlike many other worship bands that thrive of recycled guitar hooks and predictable chord changes, Passion are industrious enough to make sure their melodic structures are never Xeroxed. Rather, they are extremely memorable.  How many of us have left our worship services but the tunes to songs such as "You Never Let Go" and "Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)" are still on repeat in our heads?

Third, never one to resort to the platitudes of the vague, none of Passion's lyrics ever hover around the general.  Rather, they bring out vignettes from Scripture and life to ground the songs in faith and relevancy.  Take Matt Redman's "10,000 Reasons" as an example.  The song which deals with the centrality of worship functions on two temporal veneers: the first is the chronicling one's day from morning to evening.  And on a deeper level, the song deals with how worship ought to be our calling from one's youth to one's septuagenarian years.  So, if you have never own a Passion album, this is a good place to start.  It has all their most notable songs here led by some of their favorite worship leaders such as Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, David Crowder Band, Kristian Stanfill, Charlie Hall and Christy Nockels.



Tags : passion passion the essential collection review passion album review passion greatest hits review passion 2014 passion new album Chris Tomlin david crowder band Matt Redman Christy Nockels kirsitan stansfill kristan stansfill charlie hall

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