Prime Cuts: Rule in My Heart, Love Takes Over, End of Me
If you are familiar with the works of the individual worship leaders (namely Tim Hughes, Beth Croft, Tom Smith, and Rend Experiment), there will be a ring of familiarity to this record. Save for two new songs, "Love Takes Over" features 9 of the favorite songs from these worship leaders, many of them lifted from each leader's latest solo releases. Soul Survivor, for the uninitiated, is to the UK what Hillsong Conference is to Australia and what Passion Conference is the States. It is simply a Christian conference where over 20,000 young adults and teenagers from all over the UK congregate to worship God. "Love Takes Over" is a recorded on site at the Soul Survivor event in Shepton Mallet (UK) this August.
The album comes in two configurations: the regular album (physical and digital) which includes 11 songs and the Digital Deluxe (available on iTunes) includes 11 songs and 5 videos. Since we have only been serviced with the regular version, our review will only be confined to this 11 track version only. Beth Croft, who is arguably becoming the face of Soul Survivor, gets the lion's share here. Together with Tom Smith, Croft gets to be the lead singer on 4 cuts here. The first being the album opener and current single "Love Takes Over." An effervescent pop offering with a light EDM underpinnings, "Love Takes Over" is infectous, bubbling and bright. "Rule in My Heart," which is also the title cut of Croft's latest album, is easily the album's cynosure. Calling for an abandonment of our sinful urge to usurp God's sovereignty, worship has never sounded more Biblical and heartfelt than on this gorgeously-written ballad.
Croft is also privileged to be featured on one of two of the album's newer piece. "The Way" takes on an EDM persona where Croft exalts the sovereign ways of God. Tom Smith gets to lead "This is Living," a cover first recorded by Hillsong Young & Free. Smith doesn't do much in terms of adding any creativity to the song. As for the rest of the Smith's songs, they all come from his recently solo released EP. "Dynamite," as the titular indicates, is an explosive exemplar of EDM-induced worship at its best. However, Smith's best worshipful moments come with "End of Me," the doctrine of self-denial has never been more succinctly put than on this stellar number.
Worship Central's Tim Hughes gets to feature two of the latest songs from his latest release "Pocketful of Faith." The title cut "Pocketful of Faith," as intimate and emotional as it is, just doesn't function well as a congregational singalong. A tad better suited for the event is Hillsong-like guitar-clouded "Hope and Glory." "Boldly I Approach (The Art of Celebration)" is undeniably one of Rend Experiment's signature worship ballad, but here the team sounds more or less in auto-pilot mode. If you are familiar with the works of each individual worship leaders, there are basically no surprises here. If you are not and you want a "greatest hits" collection of sorts from these wonderful leaders, this is a great introduction.