Prime Cuts: Your Cross Changes Everything (Matt Redman), Holy Ground (Melodie Malone), Worthy of Your Name (Sean Curran)
Big is an understatement when it comes to this year's Passion Conference. With 55,000 young adults packing the Georgia Dome, the world's most renown speakers (such as Christine Caine, Beth Moore, and John Piper among others) prancing the stage, and the best of contemporary worship artists (such as Kristian Stanfill, Brett Younker and Melodie Malone, Chris Tomlin, Crowder, Matt Redman, Christy Nockels and Hillsong UNITED) leading worship, Passion has almost exhausted the word big. Such enormity also brings a sense of predictability. As one can expect, the music that accompanied such a juggernaut of a conference is loud, bold, bright, and anthemic.
Before we expound on the album proper, it's fair to say a word by way of introduction of the disc. Each year, Passion Conference has made a tradition to capture its worship and release it subsequently as a worship album. "Worthy of Your Name," released by sixsteps records, is the fruit of this year's conference. Of the 11 songs (13 if you buy the deluxe edition), most of them come from the regular Passion worship team such as Kristian Stanfill, Brett Younker and Melodie Malone. Regular guests such as Crowder, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman and Hillsong UNITED do get a cut each. Gone this year from the track list is the perennial favorite Christy Nockels. Rather, in Nockels' place is Sean Curran.
Speaking of Curran, he does get the upper hand as he sings lead the album's best song ---the title cut and new single "Worthy of Your Name." Waxing both poetry and well-thought out phrases, "Worthy is Your Name" is a rich theological compendium giving fresh vocabulary to the greatness of Jesus. Here are a couple of samples: "on the day that you rose/the darkness ran for cover" and "holiness with human hands/treasure for the traitor." Matt Redman sparkles with a raw and fervent fire as he sings one of the best Easter songs this year "Your Cross Changes Everything." Melodie Malone who has often given stunning performances in the past, never fails to impress. Drawing us into God's throne room, she sings the pensive ballad "Holy Ground."
Nevertheless, not all are impressive. In the past, Chris Tomlin used to introduce new worship classics from the Passion platform but this year he does a phone-in version of "God of Calvary" (where a much better version can be found on Tomlin's "Never Lose Sight" album). "Rule" (which was originally from Hillsong UNITED's "Zion") is not the best song for the Aussie band to be introducing to the audience. The song never mentions God or Jesus by name and it just doesn't have the congregational focus to be sung at a conference of such nature.
Kristian Stanfill, who gets to sing lead on 4 cuts, is a hit and miss. "Glorious Day" and "This We Know" are akin to the conference's disposition, they are thumping loud and grand. But they are also pretty pedantic, formulaic and anonymous in their melodic characters. "How Great is Your Love" and "Heart Abandoned" are a tad better. They present Stanfill in his more contemplative moments and we get to hear more of his heart. The latter, which calls to mind Hillsong Worship's "I Surrender," is destined to make it into the worship of countless churches in time.
If you like worship music that is as big as this year's Passion conference, you won't be disappointed. But big also functions as a double-edged sword, in the sense that it also brings along predictability.
Tags : passion passion worthy of your name album review Kristian Stanfill Hillsong United Crowder Chris Tomlin Matt Redman passion worship passion new album passion conference Louie Giglio John Piper melodie malone Christy Nockels sean currin