Album Review :
Chris Tomlin - How Great is Our God: The Essential Collection

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Artist: Chris Tomlin
Title: How Great is Our God: The Essential Collection
Label: Sixsteps Records
Release Date: 11/15/11
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre

Tracklisting:

  1. How Great is Our God (World Edition)
  2. Our God
  3. Forever (New Recording)
  4. The Wonderful Cross (w/ Matt Redman)
  5. Famous One
  6. We Fall Down (New Recording)
  7. Indescribable
  8. Holy is the Lord
  9. Enough
  10. Made to Worship
  11. Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)
  12. Jesus Messiah
  13. God of This City (Live From Passion)
  14. I Will Rise
  15. How Great is Our God (New Recording)

Chris Tomlin needs no introduction. Writer of the most well known and wide received worship song of the 2000s decade, ‘How Great is Our God’; has released his greatest hits album, comprising of some of his no. 1 singles spanning 6 albums and over a decade. With fan favourites ‘Jesus Messiah’, ‘Enough’, ‘Holy is the Lord’ and the recent worship anthem ‘Our God’, as well as new recordings of some older radio hits; the 15 tracks on How Great is our God: The Essential Collection are a well represented indicator of Chris’s repertoire of songs, with each worship offering a worthy inclusion on this album. A must-buy for Chris Tomlin fans, new and old; anyone who purchases this album will be blessed by his honest worshipfulness and heart for God!

Anchoring the album is the title track, ‘How Great is our God’. Arguably the most popular worship song of the decade between 2000-2009, along with other worship tracks ‘Above All’, ‘Here I Am to Worship’, ‘Blessed Be Your Name’ and ‘Mighty to Save’; Chris Tomlin has re-recorded his most popular song twice, both giving a more anthemic feel to a song that has found its way into many churches and millions of hearts around the world. The first version of this song on the album is with a world focus, incorporating languages from many worship artists around the world, in Hindi, Indonesian, Russian, Portuguese and Spanish, as well as Zulu, Africaans and Mandarin. Utilising each of the languages with their vocals and distinctive sounds (each of them singing the same song to God); has created a phenomenal track, musically with louder drums and stronger guitars; as well as creating a transcendent moment where everyone around the world is united with their praise and adoration for God. In fact, listening to this version of ‘How Great is Our God’ has led me to enjoy the song more, now one of my favourite worship songs ever. With more of a stadium-type feel, both the world version and the newly recorded guitar-and-drum focused rendition, has made me fall in love with Chris’s music even more. This is a stellar recording and should certainly be regarded as one of the most revolutionary songs of the decade. Well done Chris for such a spirit-anointed song!

With many of Chris’s songs celebrated around the globe, it is a difficult task to pick out 13 songs to be included in a best-of collection (with two version of ‘How Great is Our God’). ‘Famous One’, ‘Holy is the Lord’, ‘The Wonderful Cross’ and recent worship anthem ‘Our God’ are all included in this best-of collection, showcasing Chris’s strong vocals and powerful lyrical richness as he shows his adoration to the King of Kings. New versions of ‘Forever’ and ‘We Fall Down’, both originally on the album The Noise We Make, are re-recorded to invigorate a classic, bringing in new listeners in the process as both re-done versions are amplified, musically placing in strings, electronics and a choir towards the end of ‘We Fall Down’. Both ‘I Will Rise’ and ‘Jesus Messiah’, radio singles on the album Hello Love, make the cut on this greatest hits album, but at the expense of other songs overlooked like ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’ and ‘All the Way My Saviour Leads Me’. ‘Made to Worship’ and ‘Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)’ are the only representations from See the Morning, and though both of them are certain additions in a ‘Essential Collection’; I would’ve expected songs like ‘Let God Arise’ and ‘Glory in the Highest’ to have been considered in a perhaps-longer-track version of How Great is our God: the Essential Collection. ‘God of This City’, originally written by Bluetree and made famous by Chris, is placed on this album from Passion: God of this City, and is a nice addition to the list, creating a live atmosphere to a song that has been embraced in many churches around the world. Worship song ‘Enough’ (though I’m not sure how popular this song is: perhaps ‘Unchanging’ or ‘Not To Us’ would’ve suited more) is included on this musical collection as is also Laura Story’s cover hit, ‘Indescribable’.

Overall: All in all, this offering of Chris’s is arguably one of his best, and certainly a fair enough snapshot of his 13 years in the Christian music industry. Though I would’ve made a few song changes like including hits like ‘I Lift My Hands’, ‘I Will Follow’, ‘Kindness’ and Chris’s awesome duet with David Crowder on the live track, ‘This is Our God’; these 15 tracks will make you a fan of Chris’s songwriting, if you’re not a fan already. Chris Tomlin is a worship leader revolutionary; and has been cited in TIME magazine back in 2006 as being the most sung artist of all time. I doubt it has changed after 6 years. Chris has created melodies that have been celebrated by many people around the world. As he is currently writing for his new album, with should include certain singles ‘White Flag’, ‘Jesus, Son of God’ and ‘Chosen Generation’; Chris’s musical future is certainly looking bright. Well done Chris for such a stellar career!

RIYL: Passion, Matt Redman, Tim Hughes, Christy Nockels

Buy the Album: iTunes/Amazon mp3

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