Prime Cuts: Light Up, We Believe, Wide Open Space
Overall Grade: 4/5
After three full-length albums and one Christmas single, Integrity Music has found it fit to release "LIFE Worship Collection." For casual fans, this is good news as we get to have most of this British church group's better known songs together in one package. This collection cherry picks four selections from their debut album "Dance Again," three from "Wide Open Space," and four from "Speak to the Storm." Though fans may quibble over why their favorite selection was not singled out, but safe to say, some of their biggest hits are represented here, including their signature tune "We Believe." To pique the interest of the connoisseur, two new songs are thrown in, including "Spirit of the Living God" and their recently released single "Light Up."
LIFE Worship is the worship team of LIFE Church in Bradford, England. According to their website, these songs were written by the team first and foremost for congregational worship. This means that songs here have a collective church feel as opposed to songs geared for personal reflection and mediation. This can be said about their signature hit "We Believe." "We Believe" has taken a life of its own especially after the Newsboys have broadcasted it across Christian radio turning it into GMA Dove Awards' "Song of the Year." What makes "We Believe" such an universal worship anthem sung across the globe is that the song is deeply grounded in theological truth articulated by the Apostles' Creed.
Rather than replicate their initial success with "We Believe," the team branches out to show their diversity. "Dance Again," a song about our hope in Christ despite our setbacks, is a big Chris Tomlin-esque ballad with a dynamic singable chorus. A song so powerful that you can't help but stand in ovation for Jesus. While many worship teams falter when they dabble with EDM and auto-tuning, LIFE Worship excels with "Wide Open Space." "Jesus' Blood" may not charter any new lyrical ground, but it has an anointing presence that captures our attention from the get-go.
The selections from last year's "Speak to the Storm" are frankly the weakest tracks here. "Great is Your Faithfulness," for instance, is a new composition, but the songwriters simply couldn't get away the sonic traits of the hymn of the same titular. The same can be said about the new offering "Spirit of the Living God." Though "Spirit" is again a brand new song, the song has strong resonances with Daniel Iverson's ancient chorus "Spirit of the Living God Fall Afresh on Me." Here is hint perhaps to the songwriters: please stay away from song titles that are already associated with well-known hymns and songs, that way you won't be tempted to borrow the hooks or lyrics of these famous paeans.
Current single "Light Up", however, is a gem. With a hook so prominent that you can't help but sing along, "Light Up" is superb Spirit-infused song about how the name of Jesus destroys the power of darkness. When the team sings: So let the darkness light up in Jesus' name/Let it all be still when You speak/Come with power, freedom, and tear down these walls, you can feel the debris of doubt and sin crumble all around. Yes, it's that powerful!
In sum, "LIFE Worship Collection" is a wonderful introduction to this UK worship team. Though it does have its warts, but there are also moments of brilliance too. "Light Up" by itself the worth the price of this entire collection, it truly is a gorgeous song.