Prestonwood Worship “Songs of the People” Album Review

Prestonwood Worship

Prime Cuts:  You Cover Me, Your Love is Our Favorite Song, Let the Redeemed

Progressively, worship songs have become more like individual solo performances with the mandatory clappings tagged at the beginning and ending of each song. Even the lyrics of many of these offerings have become so "me"-centered that they become more like testimonial paeans than the church's collective expressions of worship.  Prestonwood Worship seeks to rectify such an inclination.  These newly crafted songs are geared specifically for the church in enhancing her vocabulary in corporate worship.  Thus, instead of having the spotlight just shine on the individual worship leader, Prestonwood Worship has brought back a 500-voices strong choir.  And more than just the execution of songs, the words of these 13 newly crafted songs have a more congregational pseudo-hymn like thrust to them giving us substantially more meat to chew on than just the pedantic "I love you Jesus" platitudes.

Prestonwood Worship is the music ministry of the 42,000-member Prestonwood Baptist Church, which has two locations in the Dallas area.  They are arguably the largest Southern Baptist Church in US right now.  The project features all new songs from Prestonwood's worship team led by Michael Neale along with Prestonwood's renowned mass choir and special guests Paul Baloche and Michael W. Smith.  Neale, for those uninitiated, is a Dove Award winning songwriter who has co-written "Your Great Name" (Natalie Grant), "In a Moment" (Rebecca St. James), "Rise" (Michael W. Smith), "Mercy Tree" (Lacey Sturm), and "Saved the Day" (Philips, Craig and Dean).

"Songs of the People," the title cut and the album's opener, sets the tenor for the record.  Co-written by Michael Neale and Paul Baloche, "Songs of the People" is a fervid collective prayer from the church that is not narrowly individualistic yet it takes into accounts the whole array of needs. Songwriters would do well to take a listen to "Your Love is Our Favorite Song." A song that has such an inviting melody that even the most tune-deaf pew member would feel compelled to worship along.  Not are the songs here broadly encompassing, but they are also eruditely substantial.  "You Cover Me" is one of those few songs that can take the theological notion of Christ's imputation and make it so perspicuous and affecting without sounding like a scholarly monograph. 

"Let the Redeemed" brings back the prominence of the choir; something you don't hear of too often these days in worship music.  The way Prestonwood Mass Choir trades vocals seamlessly with Baloche is a treat in itself.  The same can be said about the Rick Briscoe-led "Grace So Marvellous," which has such a deftly rafted hymn structure that the song could easily rival the best works from Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley.  However, Michael W. Smith shows up only at the closing track of the record "We Are Alive" which is a tad on the non-descript side.  

Nevertheless, "Songs of the People" lives up to its titular.  This is an album made for the church: these songs invite church members of all stripes, be it gender or age or race, to join in to worship. In short, if you want to hear what collective woship sounds like, give this CD a listen.



Tags : prestonwood worship prestonwood church Integrity Music Paul Baloche Michael W. Smith you cover me michael neale Prestonwood Worship “Songs of the People” Album Review prestonwood whip new album prestonwood worship news

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