Prime Cuts: Marvelous Things (Featuring Kari Jobe), For the King, What a Good God
Overall Grade: 4/5
You can always count on Paul Baloche to deliver a good worship album. Never yielding to the temptation of singing at an insanely high octave or repeating the tagline of a song endlessly in order to incite passion and excitement, Baloche has always keyed his songs in solid theology and easy-to-sing melodic structures. This is why, after a couple of decades, Baloche's songs such as "Open the Eyes of My Heart," "Your Name," "Our God Saves" and "Above all," are still making the rounds in countless worship sets across the globe. Moreover, his understated tenor never needs to be caricatured in order to get attention. Rather, the years of leading worship, has taught him how to nuance meaning and nuances in his vocal mannerisms that he comes across as genuine and effective. This is why other than Darlene Zschech, Baloche is the only worship artist from the 90s that is still recording and making records for Integrity Music.
"Behold Him" is Baloche's 22nd album for Integrity Music and it doesn't disappoint. To generate freshness and in an effort to stay contemporary, Baloche has partnered to co-write with a red carpet of today's best worship leaders and scribes, including Kim Walker-Smith (Jesus Culture), Kari Jobe, Matt Redman, Chris Brown and Steven Furtick (Elevation Worship), Leslie Jordan (All Sons and Daughters), Amanda Cook, Mitch Wong, Mia Fieldes, Jason Ingram and Ben Cantalon. Set opener "What a Good God" is particularly meaningful to Benton Brown, who co-wrote the song with Baloche, after loosing most of his possessions via a flood. To be able come out of such a catastrophe and still sing "What a good God/Bringing me back to life/Opening up my eyes/God of every blessing/Standing by my side" is awe-inspiring.
Rightly causing the initial buzz for the record is the lead single and title cut "Behold Him." Co-written by Baloche and Mitch Wong (Planetshakers, Tauren Wells), "Behold Him" has a king-sized chorus that dramatically draws us into God's presence. Such an experience itself is nothing short of breathtaking. Meanwhile, Paul Baloche, Rita Baloche and Jason Ingram have crafted a gem with the ballad "Marvelous Things." Though Kari Jobe's vocal contribution could have been more prominent, it still doesn't belie the song's glowing resolve to magnify Christ. Rita Baloche returns as the sole composer of the upbeat "For the King," which boasts an extremely catchy chorus in the veins of "Our God Saves."
Former All Sons and Daughters' Leslie Jordan perfectly complements Baloche on the worship ballad "I Am Thankful." Listening to how the two leads blend together to sing of the faithfulness of God across creation is sublime. Matt Redman's co-write "Nothing Like Your Love," a brand new exposition of God's love with a throwback lyrical affinity to the beloved hymn "The Love of God," is okay without being exceptional. The same can be said about "Heaven is Where You Are." Despite the co-writing credits of Baloche with Elevation Church's Steve Furtick and Chris Brown, the titular (which seems more suited for a secular love song) doesn't seem to connect with the rest of the song.
Though this is not a perfect album, it still has lots of gorgeous moments to warrant the album's excellence. Worship leaders looking for new songs to include in their setlist will do well to check out this album. And worshippers who long to hear about God and his greatness unhindered by other polytechnic fluff will find lots of worshipful moments here.