Prime Cuts: Still in Control (Mack Brock),I Will Not Fear (Derek Johnson), Revival (Chris McClarney)
Overall Grade: 4.5/5
"Church (Vol. 1/Live)" sounds like a greatest hits collection for a couple of reasons. First, the record is choke full of singles: the majority of these songs sound like stand alone hits. Second, many of these songs are already stand alone hits. Instead of writing new and untried songs, various worship leaders have decided to re-cut their best crafted songs live. This is all in tenure with the spirit of the album. As the titular indicates, this album is not another effort for the team to reinvent the wheel or chart more radio hits. Rather, this is a 9-song recording where various Jesus Culture leaders bring in their best offering to worship along with the church. Hence, this album is the team's greatest hits made for us: so that we can use these songs in worship as a collective as well as individuals.
The team's matriarch, Kim Walker-Smith, launches us into this worship experience with "More than Enough." The song itself isn't bad though it doesn't move away from Walker-Smith's signature turf of big balladry with that power-packed chorus. Walker-Smith's other entry is her live take of her recent solo single "Insatiable" (a title that is on the clumsy side). She would be better off singing her single from last year, "Just Be;" which is screaming for a live rendition. Mack Brock gets the award for best song on this record for "Still in Control." Brock makes Psalm 46 come alive; a song so befitting for these COV-19 times. Giving affirmation to God's goodness despite our circumstances, Chris Quilala offers to sing his recent single "Nothing But Good."
Of note is Chris McClarney's earnest heart's cry "Revival." Joining the oeuvre of Hillsong's "Awake My Soul" and Bethel Music's "God of Revival," McClarney's "Revival" is an urgent prayer for God's church that bears constant repetition. Bryan and Katie Torwalt get two entries. "Anticipation," their single from their recent EP, is a great worship set opener with its inviting melody and its faith-filled lyrics. Entry #2 is "Gold;" the song is already gaining traction with many worship leaders. An intriguing title and concept for a worship song, "Gold" speaks of how God sometimes uses the trials of life to refine as fire refines gold.
Derek Johnson's "I Will Not Fear" closes the record detailing scriptural soaked reasons how Christ has conquered every fear we face. The crescendo-building chorus, Johnson's gritty yet booming delivery, and the unwavering power inherent in the song make this a go-to song whenever we feel inadequate. Like a greatest hits album, every song here is good and deserves to be sung in our churches virtual or physical. Here's looking forward to the second volume....