Prime Cuts: Pour It Out, I Delight, Faith Sees (featuring Todd Delaney)
Overall Grade: 4/5
Finally there's a worship album that goes beyond the standard tropes and the recycled cliches. Enlarging the lyrical radius to encompass more of Scripture than the usual "I praise you Lord" rhetoric, this album is a breath of fresh air. On David and Nicole Binion's "Glory of Eden," we are exposed to more Scripture than the majority of worship albums. When has a worship team ever sung about the ark returning to Jerusalem as the Binions have in "Bringing Back the Ark"? When have we ever heard of a song that connects the creation story to the new creation reality as we we hear on the title cut "Glory of Eden"? And when has the Biblical account of a woman breaking the alabaster jar of perfume at Jesus' feet take on such a personal application as in "Pour It Out"? In short, this is a Scripture-soaked record. But this is only half of the album's beauty. The way the Binions write, lead, teach, and sing through these songs make these songs a powerful experience to behold.
"Glory of Eden," released via Integrity Music, is David and Nicole Binion's third album, following on the heels of last year's "Dwell: A Worship Experience" and "Dwell: Christmas." In keeping with their preceding two efforts, this record was recorded live at TBN Studios in Dallas, TX with an intimate audience of 350 people. In terms of the number of tracks, this album leans towards the generous side, offering 18 tracks (though 5 of them are either reprises or spontaneous worship moments). Not only are the tracks numerous, the list of guest vocalists is legion too. Making it a all-genre worship affair, they have also included the vocal contributions ofTodd Dulaney, Maranda Curtis, Travis Greene, William McDowell, Steffany Gretzinger and their own daughter MDSN.
The album opens strongly with hymn-like "Tell of Your Glory." With an inviting soundscape that effortlessly draws us in, you can feel the dynamic atmosphere of worship bursting forth right from the first track. With their infectious "oooh ooh" opening and such a captivating melody, "Your House" ought to find its way into many worship song sets in the near future. Meanwhile label mate William McDowell joins the Binions to declare that "we are people of your presence" in "Bringing Back the Ark," a song based on 2 Samuel 6. "Faith Sees," which features the vocals of Todd Dulaney, deserves mention because the lyrics are liberating. Often our eyes fail us in times of distress, grief and pain. The song tells us that if we were to view through faith's glasses, these setbacks become opportunities of trusting God. For those of us suffering from a deficiency of faith, this is the type of songs we need to have on repeat.
Some of the ballads on this record are in a class of their own. "Pour It Out," which is based on the story of the woman with the alabaster jar, puts us in the lady's shoes. The song urges us to pour out all that is costly before Jesus in an effort of self-surrender. Coupled with Nicole's heartfelt vocals, this is one of the best worship ballads released this year. The synth-driven ballad "Yes (Obedience)" continues this theme of surrender; this time with the Binion's daughter MDSN handling the vocals. The title track "Glory of Eden" deserves an award by itself. This song gorgeous captures the story of the two gardens: the original Eden and the new created Eden. Meanwhile, "I Delight" has a throwback 90s praise and worship vibe that is endearing.
Nevertheless, like their previous two efforts, at 18 tracks, there are far too many songs. This means there are also fillers. Some of them even run over the 6 minute mark, making this a very long and at times tedious effort to listen all the way through. Some of these fillers even get reprised! Even the reprisals linger for far too long. Yes, one understands that worship can't be rushed. But on record, the album sounds endless. Seriously, with some deft editing, this album would have been even tighter and better. Sometimes less is more.