Saturday, February 2, 2013

Sing like Never Before: the Essential Collection - Matt Redman



A heart making melody

Sing like Never Before: the Essential Collection
Artist: Matt Redman (www.mattredman.com)
Label: Sparrow/sixstepsrecords
Length: 15 tracks/72:20 minutes

The number of Matt Redman songs that are now familiar in modern worship circles is amazing. Some may wonder if they know any. Sing like Never Before: the Essential Collection brings the best together with a few bonuses, and listeners will mostly likely recognize some of these contemporary standards that are sung in churches around the world. 

The opening “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) – Radio Version” is as memorable as anything that Redman has done and makes its first appearance on CD. Check your spiritual pulse if this has no appeal. Included are new recordings of “Our God,” Better is One Day” and “Love So High.”

One need not look further than opening lines to find poetic imagery:

The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

In “You Never Let Go” Redman enshrines a truth that we might consider astonishing if we avoid mindlessly singing it:

Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

God never lets go in every low? Isn’t that when we feel most abandoned? This promise is something to remember when a high is a distant memory.

Aside from being able to hear the original artist singing classics in our age, you get to hear the lesser known that deserve recognition like the new “Love So High.” Along the same lines is the tender, stripped-down, keyboard driven, “The Father’s Song.” It’s the heart making melody. It may especially resonate with the broken, those desiring a quiet sense of God’s presence. The same subdued longing is found on the better-known, “The Heart of Worship.”

One of the more unusual cuts is the closing, “Twenty Seven Million,” which also makes its debut on CD. It serves to raise awareness and offer hope in relation to human trafficking. It is a collaboration with LZ7, a dance/rap group that give it a strong urban vibe.

Redman lives in Brighton, East Sussex in the United Kingdom. The driving Brit pop/rock of artists like Delirious is in evidence, which adds to the appeal for a younger audience.

Redman may not be as celebrated as an artist like Chris Tomlin, but he is in the same class. Redman is a co-writer with Tomlin and a couple of others on “White Flag,” which is included on Tomlin’s new Burning Lights release. The two have shared stages and continue to do so as those that lead a new generation in worship.

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