Spotify Albums of the Month – Dec 2009

OK, I’ve got really behind with these, and my album reviews probably will be a lot less frequent now that Spotify no longer release spreadsheets of all the new albums available. Because of the Christmas special I did, these are actually albums that appeared back in November (December and January have been extremely quiet for CCM releases anyway).

Phil Wickham – Heaven & Earth (Listen on Spotify)

Phil Wickham has firmly established himself as one of my favourite artists over recent years, so I was eagerly anticipating this new release, and it doesn’t disappoint. His style has evolved slightly, with more electronic elements present in the arrangement of the songs. This one features Because of Your Love which previously appeared on his free Singalong album. My favourite is probably the cheerful and catchy The Time is Now.

Rating: ★★★★½

Sara Groves – Fireflies and Songs (Listen on Spotify)

Christianity Today consider this to be the best album of 2009. It has a nice mellow easy-listening vibe throughout (if slightly melancholic in places). One disadvantage of checking out new albums on Spotify is that you don’t have the lyrics to hand, meaning that the songs take several listens before you get a proper grasp of the stories they tell. I’m not sure it beats Tell Me What You Know, but all the songs on the album are strong with the exception of the irritating country track Setting up the pins. Different Kinds of Happy and Joy is in our Hearts are probably my favourites.

Rating: ★★★★☆
Keith & Kristyn Getty – Awaken the Dawn (Listen on Spotify)
This new album from the Gettys starts of nicely with an atmospheric Celtic Hear O Israel, reminiscent of Iona. It seems that most tracks on the album are co-written with Stuart Townend, a writing partnership that works remarkably well at producing a steady stream of theologically rich hymns with strong melodies. Kristyn Getty is the vocalist, and the arrangements are stirring without being overdone (although it does get a little syruppy in places). Nevertheless I’ve enjoyed this album a lot more than I thought I would. It would be great to see a number of these hymns working their way into the worship of many local churches.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Delirious? – History Makers: Greatest Hits (Listen on Spotify)

Given that several live albums also feature the same tracks, its hard to see what this compilation has to offer except for those who don’t already own the albums featuring these hits. Having said that, it is a fair reflection of their greatest hits, with a generous helping of tracks from their earlier material. I enjoyed re-listening to classic songs such as History Maker, Majesty and Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble.

Rating: ★★★½☆

And in the famous for one song category, check out solo albums from Marie Barnett (writer of Breathe) Heaven Came Down, and Laura Story’s (writer of Indescribable) Great God Who Saves.

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