Prime Cuts: Majestic, Christ the Lord is Risen Today (He is Not Dead), You Alone
The depth of one's worship is intrinsically bound up with the quality of nourishment one imparts into his or her soul. With senior pastor Mark Batterson (writer of best sellers such as "The Grave Robbers" and "The Circle Maker") as the gatekeeper of the Washington DC's National Community Church's spiritual food intake, you probably wouldn't expect their worship team to churn out emaciated spiritual songs filled with platitudes of clichéd triteness and superficially thin concepts. Rather, what we have here with NCC Worship's debut album for Integrity Music "You Alone," is a judicious piece flourished with rich theological truths garnered from Scripture yet ear-warming enough that gets congregations singing along.
Despite being touted as a ten song album, "You Alone" is essentially a five song EP. It is a bundled project featuring five polished studio recordings and then having them repeated again, this time in an intimate, acoustic, stripped down live setting. On the studio recordings the team has enlisted the help of Kyle Lee as co-producer. Avid music fans would know that Lee has had worked on some high profile records, such as those of Michael W. Smith, Hillsong UNITED, and Mandisa. Lee certainly brings a pop-centric gloss to the first half of "You Alone."
Now let's get to the songs: "Majestic" kicks the album off on a great start. Throbbing with an adrenaline rush of energy, the sprightly "Majestic" aids us in putting on our faith-glasses to see the handiwork of the Divine Artist in all of creation. Again keeping God at the cynosure is the title cut "You Alone." "You Alone" has a retro vibe to it calling to mind a hybrid of a hymn and one of those worship songs from the 80s. While "Eternal One (Psalm 145)" teleports us back to the present on a galloping dance beat giving the words of the Psalmist a contemporary edge.
The old hymns are still the best when it comes to articulating theological truths of the resurrection. However, because many of them were different from a different milieu as us, they can come across as aloof and distant. On "Christ the Lord is Risen Today (He is Not Dead)," NCC Worship has taken the Charles Wesley hymn and they have added a new chorus to it, making the Easter message come alive again with immediacy yet retaining the hymn's theological richness.
Just like the books of their senior pastor, NCC Worship's "You Alone" is a treasure trove imbued with deep theological truths and rich insights. These are songs you want to keep them in your ipod. They are songs you will find yourself returning to again and again.