Prime Cuts: Jesus Loves Me, Jesus This is You, Greater
Chris Tomlin has had a double shot of happiness lately. On 7th October this year, Chris and his wife Lauren welcomed the addition of their new baby Madison. Now Tomlin will see the release of his brand new worship album "Love Ran Red." This is his 9th non-Passion event solo studio album coming hot on the heels of last year's Billboard 200 #1 smash debut "Burning Lights." Though this new record contains mostly formerly unreleased material, "Love Ran Red" feels like a "greatest hits" package. Every entry here is so power packed with potential that it's a challenge to decipher which would be the next single. More importantly, "Love Ran Red" is going to continue Tomlin's pandemic streak of worship staples ready to serve the church worldwide adding to his already burgeoning canon of songs such as "Our God," "How Great is our God," "Jesus, Messiah" and "Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies)."
20 years ago, Chris Tomlin took a step out of faith in offering his voice, his worship leading acumenm and his songwriting to God. And over the years, God has had opened enormous doors for Tomlin. Stepping into his role as one of the worship leaders at Louie Giglio's annual Passion Conference, Tomlin has been on the front line of all the conference's live releases since 1998. Together with his own solo releases, Tomlin has garnered 9 #1 songs, sold over 3 million records, and received 32 GMA Dove Award nominations, 5 Grammy nominations and 3 Billboard Music Award nominations. Produced once again with longtime friend and collaborator Ed Cash, "Love Ran Red" finds Tomlin co-writing with fellow worship leader Matt Redman, Hillsong's Ben Fielding and other notable scribes such as Jonas Myrin, Jason Ingram, Ben Glover and Matt Armstrong.
Preceding the album's release is the single "Waterfall." Though "Waterfall" is by no means a ropey effort (in fact, it's a challenge for Tomlin to craft a dud), it sounds more like a tailored for radio over-glazed contemporary pop darling than his signature seismic worship arousing anthems that we have come to expect as Tomlin's lead single from a new album. Thus, the disappointment shows when "Waterfall" only stalled at a mere #8 position on Billboard's Christian Song chart. Much better is the second single "Jesus Loves Me." Not a remake of the children's ditty of the same titular, Tomlin takes one of the most rudiment teachings of Scripture that Jesus loves us and turns it into a smothering worship ballad. With the cinematic use of strings, the opening of "Greater" feels like you are transposed into a movie where God is the star and his wondrous ways are the movie's plotline.
With slabs of richly textured words that give affirmation to who Jesus is, "Jesus This is You" has a creed-like feel that calls to mind Hillsong's "This is What We Believe (The Creed)." Incorporating some elements of EDM, "Psalm 100" has Holy Writ set to an infectious disco beat. The album titular "love ran red" is a line taken from the song "At the Cross." Avid fans of the Passion conference will remember Tomlin first introduced the song on this year's Passion's worship release. C. S. Lewis would definitely be proud of "Roar" a song that utilizes the Biblical trope of Jesus being the lion of Judah. In a milieu where worship music has often been criticized for its lack of literary richness, "Roar" ought to silence such critics. "Love Ran Red," in short, brims with so many stellar worship songs that it's legacy in terms of serving the church's praises is going to run long and deep.
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