On the surface..
These two men have written some (underated IMO) crackers over the last few years. Some you may be aware of like ‘His mercy is More’ and ‘Christ the sure and steady anchor’, others maybe not so much. This album redoes some of the best, in new arrangements, and is great for reminding us of what we may have missed/forgotten.
Not all of them are easily singable by the smallish local church perhaps, not least because their technique for combatting the dullness of the standard hymn structure is to play a little with the time signatures. Fun to listen to and sing, not always simple to teach to the unmusical.
But at the very VERY least, this is a super encouraging and edifying album to have in your ears this summer.
Lyrics and setting
We got quite a range of subjects over the 13 songs here. From salvation to christmas to suffering to confession. You got it all.
They write really well lyrically. The lines flow poetically and the word emphases are always bang on. And for the most part the music style really compliments the topics. The only issues you may have will come with musical timing.
Will this work at my church?
Yes to all except the few slight caveats noted at the bottom of this section.
Special note of YES to..
Magnificent, marvellous, matchless love- if you were aware of this from the Getty’s arrangement last year, this is one that will seem much more achievable. Less frantically arranged, less feeling like a vocal exercise, and more space to think and ponder on the amazing truths being presented.
Sing we the song of Emmanuel. I LOVE this one. If you’re dying for a new christmas song to teach, please consider this, although bear in mind the timing in the second half of the verse is a little tricky. In a good way- it’s interesting, but just a little more movement than your average Joe might expect. Teach it well. (And feel free to can the ‘gloooooria’ bridge section)
Let the nations be glad.– Ever feel a little lacking in uplifting songs? This one is for you. Rousing, ‘this is what we know and so therefore let’s act on it’ type song that is perfect for sending the church out in mission or just into a normal week of living for the Lord where they are.
Lord have mercy (for what we have done) – We are quite lacking in good corporate confession songs, so this is one to definitely consider. A really brilliant song to add to your regular confession time in church. It again has bits you need to teach well, but if it is sung often, it will stick. Definitely worth adding to your ‘to teach soon’ list.
The king in all his beauty – This is one for Easter ( or maybe communion) and is brilliant. Contrasting the seemingly broken King we see at the cross, and the ultimate glory and beauty he shows in his resurrection and victory. Really beautiful and singable stuff.
Perhaps not for a church..
My Saviours’ Love (what tongue can tell) – this is great song, but doesn’t always go where you might expect. I’m not saying it couldn’t be done at your church, but just think carefully before trying. Do you have a strong lead and a confident congregation? Do you have time to teach all the sections clearly? Great. If not.. if you are at a smaller, under-resourced church, I wouldn’t try unless it perfectly fits your sermon series. There are other hymns that follow the same themes for now.
Lord from sorrows deep I call (psalm 42) – If you are spending time teaching through this psalm, then by all means go for it, but otherwise, it is maybe a little too irregular for many to pick up easily, especially with the contrasting chorus.
But seriously, what a beauty. It is may be my favourite on the album and has properly encouraged me today.
Come adore the humble King – I wonder if this is better suited as a solo during a reflection time after a sermon. It’s not unsingable by your congregation, but has a couple of jumps they might struggle to pick up quickly. Lyrically beautiful though, amazing truth about Jesus to reflect on.