Prime Cuts: He Loved Me, At the Cross, In Your Presence
How can a choir which started out with only 9 members go on to sing at the US 2013 Presidential Inauguration? How can a group who do not even read music get to sing at the Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, and Madison Square Garden? How can choir music, which some have even deemed as passé, go on to win 9 Grammy Awards and multiple Dove Awards? The answer is find in the titular of their latest release "Pray." Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, now a 280-voice team, is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year with an album that gives expression to what has been the powerhouse of this singing team. Centering around the theme of God's sovereignty accomplished through prayer, this record returns to the traditional sounds that first brought them to the dance as well as the themes that have been igniting their passions this year.
"Pray" follows 2013's highly successful "Love Lead the Way" with 14 new songs recorded live. Those who adore the choir's earlier works like "High and Lifted Up" and "God is Working" will swallow up album opener "Praise Him" in a heartbeat. Introduced by some delightful sounding flute before the gorgeous outburst of a full 280-people power sound, "Praise Him" will get you standing and singing in a flash. Featuring a flamenco-sounding guitar with flourishes of a Jamaican-island sway, "Sing" takes to heart the words of the Psalmists to "sing a new song to the Lord." However, as good as the first couple of songs are, to have with 4 similar-tempo songs running back to back with the third song "All Power" running over 7 minutes can feel like a never ending anthem.
So much better is when the tempo changes with the fifth track "He Loved Me." Starting off soft, simple and heartfelt before we are engulfed into a tsunami-styled outbreak of sky-reaching notes is this pulverizing ode about Christ's love. Worship has never been more heavenly than on this A+ ballad. Similarly powerful is "At the Cross" a song so well-served by the dynamic mass choir sound. If you love to be swept away by soothing sounds of orchestrated strings undergirded by a delightful invitation to enter God's throne room, don't miss out on "In Your Presence." "Come to Jesus," on the other hand, has a Southern Gospel quartet charm that is itself a must-hear.
Other than a tad too many fast-paced songs all lumped together at the beginning, there's not much to complain about when it comes to "Pray." If you want to discover the power of true greatness, let this CD led you to pray.
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