Phil Wickham [Response] | Posted October 03, 2011 Staff Reviewer
After selling a quarter million albums and over a half million song downloads to date, a chart topping radio single, receiving accolades for his previous three albums, Fair Trade Services’ recording artist Phil Wickham returns with his latest album Response. Wickham provides listeners with eleven tracks that seek to give a voice to humanity’s acceptance of God’s love in any circumstance. In the same way that the Psalms offer expressions of joy, sorrow, repentance, hope and victory, Response gives a voice to the appreciation and adoration of God in every chapter of life. Wickham’s last two albums Cannons (2007) and Heaven & Earth (2009), were among my top 10 albums of those years. The first single from Response, “At Your Name (Yahweh, Yahweh)” is a surefire hit song which Wickham co-wrote with Tim Hughes. It’s exactly the type of catchy corporate worship song I’ve come to love from Phil Wickham, like “Cannons” and “You’re Beautiful.” The song is instantly sing-able and worshipful with a great chorus, “Lord of all the earth, we shout Your Name, shout Your Name, Filling up the skies, with endless praise, endless praise, Yahweh, Yahweh, we love to shout Your Name, oh Lord.” The first three songs, “Heaven Fall Down,” “Joy” and “One God” all flow together with a Brit-rock musical style and some more electronic pop like we heard in “Eden” and “Heaven and Earth,” but without the harder rock edge this time, which for me is the one thing lacking from this otherwise solid album.
“This Is The Day” and “All I Want Is You” are mid-tempo pop/rock songs that express Phil’s reflections and Christian worldview. “All I Want Is You” is filled with Phil’s sincere yearning, “we all want something more, there’s something more, we’re searching for. You’re so much more, You, All I ever wanted, All I ever needed…All I want is You.” “God Of Our Salvation” would fit on any Hillsong UNITED album. It includes the theological truth, “Hallelujah, Hallelujah, You are the God of our salvation, You have conquered, You have risen, You are the God of our Salvation.” It takes until track eight, “Sun & Moon” to hear my favorite musical style by Phil Wickham, an acoustic guitar based worship ballad. It has a similar feel to “The Light Has Come” and “You’re Beautiful” and is my favorite song on the album. The song has Phil’s signature vocal break as he prayerfully belts out “God, I want to feel You now, God I need a miracle, take my heart, make it glow, shine Your light from the inside out. You are the Sun, I want to be the moon, I want to be more like You.” “This Love Will Last,” “All I Am” and “The Victory” close out this very relaxing, sometimes mellow album. For me, there aren’t the big emotional moments that I experienced with “True Love,” “Cielo” and “Heaven Song” from the last two albums and overall it reminds me much more of Phil’s debut self-titled album with many of the songs having that more laid-back style.
Phil Wickham’s enthusiastic and reverent style of writing and singing praise and worship songs has consistently been a draw for me. Wickham’s prayerful sentiments are consistently filled with his personal adoration of God. Response is no exception. Several of these songs should be added to your Sunday morning worship set, especially “Heaven Fall Down,” “One God,” “At Your Name (Yahweh, Yahweh) and the gorgeous ballads “Sun & Moon and “The Victory.”