I have been enjoying listening to a variety of new albums on Spotify again this month, so here’s another round of recommendations for you to try out.
Jars of Clay – The Long Fall Back to Earth.
This album was released only a couple of weeks ago, so it provided the perfect opportunity for me to check out yet another popular and successful Christian artist that thus far had passed me by. It took me a few listens before I really got into it. I would describe it as a consistently good album with no real stand-out tracks. There are lots of gentle, atmospheric melodic tracks interspersed with a few more upbeat numbers, and shades of Coldplay here and there. My favourite tracks on the album are Hero and Heart.
Jon Foreman – Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer EPs.
Jon Foreman is lead singer and main songwriter with Switchfoot, but last year he completed a series of four solo EPs, one for each of the four seasons, with a more acoustic and stripped-down backing than the Switchfoot albums. The quality of lyrics is high, with some songs telling poignant stories, and several based on Scriptural passages. The backing is mostly acoustic guitar with various orchestral instruments quietly in the background adding interest.
Here’s my pick of the tracks from each album. Fall: Equally Skilled. Winter: Behind Your Eyes. Spring: Your Love is Strong. Summer: Instead of a Show
Chris Tomlin – Hello Love
Having enjoyed his last two releases (See the Morning and Arriving) I had high hopes for this album, but must confess to being a little disappointed. Its not that there is anything ‘wrong’ with it per se, it just seems too similar to everything that has gone before.
Opening tracks Sing, Sing, Sing and Jesus, Messiah essentially carry right on from where he left off before. Perhaps he would benefit from working with a different producer and band on future albums. I’m not sure that many of the tracks will have the enduring appeal of previous congregational worship hits such as Indescribable and How Great is Our God. He covers Bluetree’s God of this City, which gives extra exposure to an excellent song. The title track Love, complete with Watoto Children’s Choir would be more suited as a theme tune to a forthcoming Lion King movie.
Jimmy Needham – Not Without Love.
Christianity Today magazine gave this album a rave review and even compared his passionate lyrics to Keith Green. I decided it was worth a listen even though the “jazz-inflected acoustic pop” is not quite my normal choice of music. The opening track champions the apologetic power of love over mere words and arguments, but its hard to be provocative when your making a point everyone agrees with. There’s a nice mixture of moods. My favourite tracks are Before and After and The Author. The spoken closing track is certainly passionate, but in my view a little overwrought. I skipped it on subsequent listens. Overall a refreshing change from my normal listening habits, but probably only one for occasional listening.
PS Apologies to any readers in regions where you can’t access Spotify. I’m sure there are equivalent ways of checking these albums out.