review of chris tomlin’s see the morning

Chris Tomlin released his new album through iTunes on Tuesday. It has quickly made it into the top 10. See the Morning is a gathering of new tunes from the guy who says that he writes so that “the most unrhythmic person can sing my songs.”

I first “met” Chris in the early days of the Passion movement. He was on a Q and A panel with some other worship artists. I was instantly taken with his honesty and wonder. “I just am pretty much in awe that I am here,” he said. At a gathering a few years later I was invited to a brief interaction with Chris, Louis Giglio, and some other passion guys. A few CD’s had been under his belt along with some big recognition. Still the same guy. Total respect.

The CD opens with “How Can I Keep Singing.” Good lyrics of wonder but maybe a bit too radio friendly. In Tomlin style, it is easily singable. “Made to Worship” is a good tune as a special music piece. It is getting some great radio play (at least a couple weeks at #1) but I can’t imagine we would use it as a strong worship song. Likewise, “Let God Arise” is a nice song but not directly singing to the Father.

I found myself digging the pad intro in “Glory in the Highest” and reached for the volume to pump up this tune. As the song progressed, the intensity built well. On my first pass I found the melody was a bit tricky in the bridge. My pleasure continued with “Awesome is the Lord Most High,” and “Glorious.” I am sure we will use “Glorious.” It may be my favorite tune on the album.

I was especially taken with “Uncreated One.” Here Tomlin and JD Walt take us beyond the tired and predictable lyrics of pop worship tunes. Paired with a moving bass line running in the first line of the verse, I hoped that it didn’t go from intimate to rock ballad. I was not disappointed. Beautiful.

At first listen, I didn’t hear much with “Rejoice” and I skipped through “Let Your Mercy Rain” after a couple of minutes. It may have been my ADD kicking in.

Chris brings it back for a slam dunk with “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone).” I first groaned at another rendition of this song. I was wrong. Tomlin changes the melody slightly which I thought would be hard to sing. Wrong again. By the second verse I was easily singing along. The history on the liner notes puts the song in a new context (I won’t ruin it for you). Chris adds a verse originally written by John Newton (the original author). For some reason the verse was dropped after Newton wrote it. Such a shame. Here it is put back in and Tomlin adds a refrain which matches the song masterfully. An absolute beautiful piece.

All in all this is a solid CD. Can you really go wrong with Chris Tomlin? Give it a listen and make your own call. We will definitely put some of these in our rotation in exchange. Time will tell if there are any tunes here that will compete with songs like “How Great is Our God,” “Forever,” or some other classic Tomlin tunes. It will be interesting to sit back and watch.

Thanks Chris. Thanks for pouring your life into loving God and writing with an honest heart. So many times you capture what we are trying to say when we just can’t seem to find the words.

[tags]see the morning, Chris Tomlin, review, Passion, Louis Giglio, How Great is Our God, Forever[/tags]

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