Various Artists “Heaven is for Real: Songs Inspired by the Film and Best-Selling Book” Soundtrack Review

Heaven is for Real

Prime Cuts: Heaven in Me (Darlene Zschech), See You in a Little While (Steven Curtis Chapman), Lifesong (Casting Crowns)

Faith-based movies are making a refreshing resurgence this year:  first we have the apologetic "God's Not Dead," followed by the Biblically based "Son of God" and "Noah." Now, opening over the Easter weekend is "Heaven is for Real."  Endorsed by Sony Pictures, "Heaven is for Real" is inspired by the book of the same titular written by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent.  As far as sales are concerned, the book's numbers are beyond astronomical.  Within the first three weeks of its November 2010 release date, "Heaven is for Real" debut at #3 on the New York Times bestseller list.  By January of 2011, there were already 200,000 copies in print.  It later hit #1 on the same prestigious book list and it remained in the top 10 for many weeks.  In preparation for the film's release, the book is currently the #1 best selling non-fiction paperback in the country. 

"Heaven is for Real" is a modern day story of Lazarus.   It tells the story of a little boy by the of Colton Burpo who died during an emergency surgery in 2003.  Somehow in the miraculous mercy of God, Colton was spared from the grasp of death and he returned back to life.  Colton goes on to describe his brief stint in heaven before he was called back to earth again.  In his description, he did talk about his meeting with jis miscarried sister, whom no one had told him about.  And he even met his great grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born. Colton even claimed that he personally met Jesus riding a rainbow-colored horse and sat in Jesus' lap, while the angels sang songs to him.  He also says he saw Mary kneeling before the throne of God and at other times standing beside Jesus. 

As far as the soundtrack is concerned, instead of having the songs contour around the unfolding of the movie's narrative plot, the songs pick up the major themes emanating out of the movie.   Of the 10 songs on the disc, 2 of them were recorded specifically for the movie, while the other 8 are gathered from already released music by today's biggest selling Christian artists.  Of the two new songs, Hillsong's matriarch Darlene Zschech is the soundtrack's gem.   A newly self-composed worship ballad, "Heaven in Me" finds Zschech crooning softly before exploding into a dynamic bridge of worship calling to mind Zechech's soaring "I Will Wait." The other new entry is Read You and Me's "Heaven."  Of note is the cameo appearance of Colton Burpo in the song. 

The rest of the songs are all previously released material.  Most disappointing is that all of them are narrowly lifted out of the contemporary Christian music genre with nothing from their Gospel, Southern Gospel or even secular counterparts.  And all of the rest of the songs come from white male leading voices.  If heaven is about people of every tribe, language and tongue, why were there no more variegated voices?  Other than such a blunder, Steven Curtis Chapman's "See You in a Little While" is extremely poignant considering the recent loss of his daughter.  Also worth listening are Casting Crowns' anthemic "Lifesong," One Sonic Society's rendition of Matt Redman's "Never Once," and Third Day's hit for the heart "Born Again."

Tags : heaven is for real Soundtrack Darlene Zschech Heaven in Me

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