When Chris Tomlin releases a new album, the church takes notice. And after the Billboard chart topping success of Burning Lights, this time maybe more than just the church will be taking notice of his upcoming release Love Ran Red (out October 27th).
Chris Tomlin has written many of the biggest worship songs in the past decade. You would be hard pressed to find a contemporary church that doesn’t sing one of his songs on a regular basis. Indeed, it is estimated by Time Magazine that Chris’ songs are sung by more people than any other musician in the world today. With so much past success from songs like Indescribable, Our God, How Great is Our God, White Flag and Jesus Messiah among many, many others it would have been easy for Chris Tomlin to put the feet up and take the easy option, churning out another album of similar sounding songs sticking with what worked so well before. But to his credit Chris doesn’t just play it safe.
Yes this is a worship album. Yes there are songs that are in the standard “worship style” we have come to expect with big anthem choruses and bridges. But this is an album full of heartfelt passion and it is clear that Chris hasn’t just written songs by number to fit the pattern but that these songs have come from a genuine place of worship. And on a number of tracks he tries fresh things, for example the dance vibe that kicks of Boundary lines which then builds into an epic song about God’s love and how we can’t contain it, full of energy and totally unlike anything he has released before. While not one that will work in most churches it is a great one to play out loud and throw some shapes, dancing like David did before the Lord.
Love Ran Red opens with Greater which has similarities to Our God in that it is singing about how God is greater than the grave. And it has the potential to go on to be as widely sung as Our God, with the chorus reminding us that Jesus is greater than our sin and the bridge reminding us He reigns forever. But this has an even more epic anthem sound to it, and is a really powerful song.
Another powerful anthem on this album is The Roar which takes the imagery of Jesus as the lion of Judah, with his voice calling out to us, the voice that calmed the raging sea. Again it is an upbeat dance vibe, but this is more subtle than on Boundary lines.
With so many worship songs out there it must be hard coming up with new metaphors for God’s love, but on Waterfall Chris manages, comparing God’s love to a waterfall, running “Wide and free” over us. It is a powerful image, and a very catchy song.
Psalm 100 on the other hand is anything but original – it is totally based on Psalm 100 but set to a modern pop-rock anthem tune and it works really well and is another song that deserves to be widely sung.
As well as the high energy songs there are quieter, slower paced songs such as Jesus loves me which is a reminder of the love we can’t run from, and I will boast which is a great song about the death Jesus suffered for us on the cross, taking the nails for us and how we therefore should boast “only in the cross”.
This is in my opinion a top class worship album, written by an artist who is clearly doing it for the joy of worship. He may have had big successes, but it is clear that is not what motivates him. These songs are genuine worship reflecting a heart that is totally devoted to Jesus and will be loved by all fans of contemporary Christian music (and may just win over a few who think the whole genre is cheesy and ‘happy clappy’ – musically this is a top notch, well written album). Highly recommended.
Rating – 10/10
Available October 27th – order now.