Posted by on Mar 19, 2013 in Blog, Recommendations | 1 comment

We probably all know that Matt Redman has written some great songs for the church over the past 15 years or so. But don’t be fooled: his new compilation album Sing Like Never Before: The Essential Collection (Nov 2012) is more than just a ‘dusting off’ of some dated recordings…

For a round-up of Redman’s best songs, this CD offers loads of new material. It kicks off with a brand-new radio version of 10,000 Reasons, which has very quickly become a classic since its release in 2011. That’s followed by fresh workings of Better Is One Day (based on Psalm 84), and the popular Our God (co-written with Chris Tomlin) – an anthem that builds to those great words from Romans 8:

“And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?

And if our God is with us, then what could stand against?”

At the heart of the album is the brand new song Love So High, which is well worth a listen. Written by the team of Redman, Tomlin, Reuben Morgan and Jason Ingram, it takes us back to the power of God’s love in the painful death of Jesus on the cross in our place:

“Thorns that made a crown;
Forgiveness falling down;
Your wounds are our healing.
The earth began to move,
And all of heaven knew
Death was defeated;
And all because of You, Jesus.”

Sing Like Never Before doesn’t just offer some great new songs, but the best arrangements of some classics, too. Blessed Be Your name, Once Again and You Alone Can Rescue are all here in simple yet creative realizations, which could quite happily be wheeled out on a Sunday morning. The only word of caution would be: some of the keys are probably too high for congregational singing. We’ve taken 10,000 Reasons down from G to F at CCB, and it’s a similar story for Blessed Be and You Never Let Go, another top song that is often underrated.

It’s true – the album doesn’t end quite as strongly as it begins. Dancing Generation, popular from the late ‘90’s, is arguably not Matt’s strongest song; it would’ve been great to see something like How Great is Your Faithfulness from his We Shall Not Be Shaken album (2009) in there. The final track – 27 Million – is commendable for how it’s raised a great deal of awareness to the global trafficking industry, but stands out as something quite different in style and application amongst this collection of otherwise congregational songs. But with the huge number of top-quality, sing-able songs that the rest of this project offers, this doesn’t taint it.

If you’re looking for a great mix of teachable, Bible-based songs in fresh, creative arrangements – look no further!

Ben Slee – Christ Church Beckenham