And If Our God Is For Us...
By Lindsay Williams, contributing writer, gmclife.com
Chris Tomlin has not only brought integrity and notoriety to modern worship, he's helped define the genre. These immense accomplishments are what make each of Tomlin’s successive releases harder and harder to top. On his seventh major label release, And If Our God Is For Us..., Tomlin employs a formula that has worked for the past decade, churning out anthem after anthem proclaiming the greatness of God.
While he once again worked with famed producer Ed Cash (Steven Curtis Chapman, Amy Grant), it’s the addition of Dan Muckala (The Afters, Brandon Heath, MercyMe) at the helm that moves this project into new sonic territory. Muckala’s pop sensibilities provide a subtle transformation, most evidenced by the current radio single “I Will Follow.” The departure is a good one, breathing new life into standard worship choruses.
Where Hello Love centered around slower, lush cadences, And If Our God Is For Us... is a much-needed joyous follow-up with more than 60 minutes of powerful praise. Tomlin's knack for penning choruses the Church can make her own is uncanny. Single “Our God” gives listeners a taste of the epic sounds found throughout the album. The radio version is actually the live recording featured on Passion’s Awakening project, but the adaptation on Tomlin’s latest takes the song to a whole new level with the addition of full, intense orchestration.
“Majesty of Heaven” is poised to be a hit with a singable chorus and lyrics that instantly wash over the listener alongside a gorgeous melody that is truly majestic. Several power anthems follow – “No Chains On Me,” “The Name of Jesus,” “I Lift My Hands,” “Jesus, My Redeemer” – all high-energy tracks with solid lyrics and memorable choruses.
Though the slower cuts are rare, the sweetest moment comes in the form of track No. 8, “Faithful,” a song about the steadfastness of God. It begins with a simple melody and a predictable verse. However, it’s the bridge that turns this song from skip-able to repeatable. Building drums crescendo into a bridge, which Tomlin sings at full force with stunning vocalist Christy Nockels: “You are there in every season of my soul/You are there, You’re the anchor that will hold/You are there in the valley of the shadow/You are faithful God.”
“All To Us” is another notable track amidst the fine set list. An ambitious song for the Church, it contains the beautiful line: “Let the saving love of Christ be the measure of our lives.”
And If Our God Is For Us... may be the most pop-centered album he’s ever recorded, but these songs reveal Tomlin at his best. While it’s not drastically different from previous efforts, it provides a consistent collection of strong worship cuts sure to find a home at churches around the world, continuing Tomlin’s reign as one of the premier songwriters/worship leaders in the genre.