Album Review: Awakening

I’ve always loved the Albums that Passion releases from their conferences. I love them because I know that it’s about far more than just music. As their website states: Passion exists to glorify God, uniting students in worship in prayer for spiritual awakening in this generation.

I loved Passion even more when I was fortunate enough to attend the ’07 conference in Atlanta. Everything about the conference was pushing us all to Jesus. There were big name speakers, award winning musicians… but Christ and his purpose for the world remained front and center.

Out of each of these conferences, Passion releases a live worship album. The most recent release, Awakening, was recorded at Passion 2010 in Atlanta, GA. The album consists of 12 songs that encourage this generation to wake up and realize the greatness of God in his Son Jesus  and to declare that greatness to the world.

Biblical Faithfulness:
The most clear biblical reference on the album is Charlie Hall’s King of Heaven (Isaiah 61). Isaiah 61 focuses on bringing the good news to the poor. Healing in Your Hands by Kristy Nockles draws from the end of Romans 8 where Paul tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Chosen Generation by Chris Tomlin has an obvious allusion to 1 Peter 2.

Lyrically, my favorite song on the album is You Alone Can Rescue by Matt Redman. Upon hearing it I immediately added it to our list of songs at NewBranch. It reads like a Hymn and is a celebration of the grace of God in Christ poured out upon wicked sinners. Many worship songs today tell us that God is gracious but they don’t tell us why we need that grace. Redman contrasts  our shame with Christ’s grace in a way that echoes Ephesians 2:1-10:

Who O Lord could save themselves?
Their own soul could heal?
Our shame was deeper than the sea
Your grace is deeper still

You O Lord have made a way
The great divide you healed
For when our hearts were far away
Your love went further still

Musical Composition:
This album is full of talent: Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Christy Nockels, Charlie Hall, Kristian Stanfill, Steve Fee, David Crowder, and Hillsong United. Having such a wide variety of song writers makes for a diverse sound from song to song. There is a strong balance between up-tempo tracks like Say, Say by Kristian Stanfill and more mellow songs like How He Loves Us by David Crowder Band.

Musically, my favorite song on the album is With Everything by Hillsong United. The song is one big rhythmic crescendo. It begins soft and ends with an all-out declaration of God’s glory (Listen to the song HERE).

My only critique comes from personal preference. Stylistically, a couple of tracks are too poppy for my taste (Say Say and Rise and Sing). That’s just me.

Singability:
This has always been a strong point of Passion albums. The songs on Awakening are very easy to incorporate in congregational singing. We have already incorporated 2 of the songs into our Sunday morning services at NewBranch (You Alone Can Rescue and How He Loves Us). I can easily see us singing others like Our God and With Everything.

You can preview a number of songs, purchase the album, and find out more about Passion on their Myspace Page. Enjoy!
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6 thoughts on “Album Review: Awakening

  1. I do enjoy Passion stuff, although, for me personally, they are in a preference bracket that is a tier below the Sojourn, Sovereign Grace, Red Mountain guys because they do get too “poppy”, because they are too polished, and because there is inconsistency in the theological depth (some have it, some don’t).

  2. I have never been a big fan of music that is too “poppy”, although I find myself listening to songs that are because of convenience (it’s played all day on the radio). I try to concentrate on the lyrics and I change to a CD or turn it off it I don’t like it. I have always preferred more of a raw sound to music. You know, the kind that sounds like it was recorded without too much rehearsal or touch ups, and with fewer instruments, no back up singers and speaking from the overflow of the heart. I like something straight from Scripture or a personal story behind it-a testimony of what God has done in the life of that person. These are artists usually out of the mainstream (or the stream I’m traveling in anyway). Suggestions anyone?

    • Lisa,

      I agree with your sentiment about music being more raw, except I can’t listen to much of what comes on the radio because of it.

      Check out NoiseTrade.com. They have a lot of good worship stuff on there for free.

      Much of the stuff that is on there is Christian so you can look through there and browse.

      In particular, I recommend Rain City Hymnal, Coram Deo Church, and Indelible Grace (you’ll recognize “Cling to the Crucified” from Kevin playing it).

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