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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Passion: Awakening? It Will Take More Than This.

Earlier today I tweeted:

“Listening to a relatively new album that is apparently popular and wondering why I don't like even one song on it.”

I left it open-ended so people would try to guess what I was listening to. Many people jokingly guessed I was listening to Miley or Justin Beiber. Well, I’ve heard Miley’s album many times in this home with a 10-yr-old girl and, honestly, I enjoy Miley’s latest album more than this one.

The mystery album? Passion: Awakening.

In February, I was given a copy of the new Passion:Awakening CD. I love free music. I listen to most of the free music I get. I’m curious if nothing else.

I tried to like this one. I really did. I wanted to like it. Especially since I’m always on the lookout for good worship tunes to do at Westwinds.

I read the tweets. I heard the hype.

But, I don’t get it.

Some of my friends love it. I’m not a fan.

I asked my wife to listen to it with me just in case I am missing something. In case I wasn’t tapping in to my inner soccer mom and looking past my own musical taste and missing a jewel that would speak to our church.

She’s not a fan either. Nothing grabbed her (although she is more gracious than I am and said things like, “I can see how someone would enjoy this one”). Although, still, nothing got the thumbs up from her to try on the set list.

Passion has turned out some decent worship tunes over the years. Some of our favorite church tunes over the last few years have come out of the movement. Some of my favorite worship music artists have been and are still associated with Passion.

But, this one . . . falls flat in my opinion. It’s not horrible. It’s just not interesting.

I might be getting old but, I don’t think that’s the problem—I can still rock with the best of them and I have a diverse palette when it comes to music. (although I don’t really enjoy listening to any “artists” with acronyms for names, lame monikers, hyphens and dashes in their name if the dash or hyphen follows one letter, or most music made in the Disney laboratories).

Maybe it’s that . . . and I KNOW this sounds like I’m getting old . . . but . . . it all sounds the same. Or, at least it sounds like every other major label worship album with a marketing budget out there with the exception of very few.

Maybe it’s that I’m tired of worship music mimicking U2. And falling short.

Maybe it’s that I wish someone would tell the powers that be that songs don’t need to be four on the floor (ummm, a kick drum every quarter note) to be cool and energetic.

Maybe it’s the mix. Lots of vocals. Lots.

Maybe it's no variety in the instrumentation.

Maybe it’s that the majority of the lyrics are cliché. Overused. Same rhyme schemes. Not a lot of thought. I can get past a lot of cliché lyrics when there is a compelling melody that makes it hard not to sing but I was barely tempted to sing along.

Maybe it’s all the above.

I don’t want to take apart any specific artist or song. I wasn’t grabbed by any of them. Don’t get me wrong, I like many of the artists on the album, I just don’t like the album. Many of these artists are heroes of mine. Great people.

One exception on the album is David Crowder’s version of John Mark McMillan’s, “How He Loves Us” but that barely counts because it is 5-years old. The song has already been done by McMillan, Crowder, Kim Walker, Todd Agnew, Flyleaf, and The Glorious Unseen (am I forgetting anyone?).

A lyrical exception is Crowder’s, “Like a Lion” but, alas, Crowder didn’t write it. It was written by Daniel Bashta who should have done it on the album. The original is better.

There are a couple I might like if I didn’t like them better when they went by another title and were done in 1998. Or 2000. Or 2002. Or 2005.

Maybe the songs will work for your church. Maybe I’ll listen again and something will grow on me. Maybe a ton of people will request we do a song at Westwinds and we decide it’s worth a try. But, after 4 listens, I’m done.

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