Monday, March 14, 2011

PASSION: HERE FOR YOU (in bullet points)

Passion's newest live worship record was released last week.

Like most Passion projects, there are moments of profound inspiration as well moments that feel like more "staples" from the giant worship collective.

Instead of writing a full-on review, I've posted some of my initial responses as I've listened through the CD. I've grouped them into both positive and negative categories. At the end of the post, I'll give my basic "take" on the project as worship resource for the local church.


  • Melody rules. Quite a few songs that aren't as strong lyrically still soar and succeed because of great melodies.

  • One tune skillfully adds some Mumford & Sons flair without revealing itself as a copy. Makes for probably the most unique song on the project.

  • For a Tomlin-heavy project, there's a welcome lack of dotted-8th electric guitar delay. I like delay a lot, but Passion's figured out to make anthems happen without being formulaic.

  • The most theologically rich, moving moment of the whole album is Lecrae's guest appearance on David Crowder's "Shadows." Add a zealous prophet with a high view of God's sovereignty to already strong song? Yeah, I'm down with that.
  • Lyrics matter. The record suffers death by cliche. Lots of phrases that are too easy and seem like "filler." Melodies are good, but you gotta' say something real, too!

  • Enough with the octave jumps, gang. It's a great dynamic technique but it gets way overused here.

  • Thematic consistency seems less priority. The last few Passion projects have had strong, linear philosophical direction. This record feels a bit more thematically random.

  • Where the heck is Matt Redman? Sure, he's on there a little, but Matt's songs have historically been some of the brightest spots on Passion albums.

Like many live projects, these songs rely too much on the giant crowd to propel the songs forward. Most of us don't play to huge stadium crowds of people who are exuberantly invested in every song. That doesn't mean the songs can't work in the local church, but these tunes will need adjustment to fit into most congregational singing. I don't think it's a CD that will easily or quickly become a resource for local church teams. There's good stuff here - probably 3 or 4 tunes - but they'll take some tweaking.


Robert Conn said...

I've only listened to a few songs but I agree so far. These songs (while great) appear to be very 'anthem-like' meaning they require lots of crowd "ohs" and "ahs." Stuff that sounds great with 3 thousand people but might sound a little longing with 30.

I was also struck by the amount of Tomlin influence on this album. Even songs that weren't necessarily his... had him at the forefront.