Chris Tomlin [Burning Lights] | Posted December 27, 2012 Staff Reviewer
Chris Tomlin, the worship leader, musician and songwriter behind hit songs "How Great Is Our God," “Jesus Messiah” and "Our God," is unveiling his newest collection of music, Burning Lights. Opening with an instrumental vibe, "Burning Lights" leads seamlessly into the standout song “Awake My Soul” featuring Lecrae. The song displays a more contemporary sounding side of Chris Tomlin who opened his last three albums with the worship anthems "Our God," "Sing, Sing, Sing" and "How Can I Keep from Singing." Tomlin’s last album, Grammy winning And If Our God Is For Us… ushered in musical experimentation with electronic beats, strings and gang vocals, mixed with his traditional Brit-rock worship style. This album has trademark songs expressing biblical truth combined with some personal lyrics reflecting his walk with the Lord. I was pleased to discover that balance, in particular from the lyrics “Speak to me, Word of God, speak to me” which reflects the seeking of God’s presence in each song, accentuated by Lecrae’s rapping the Truth from Ezekiel, “Your Word gives life to my dry bones…” Amen.
“Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies)” is chock full of the Truth that as Christians, we need to have full reliance on God to deal with the struggles of life. The song perfectly expresses that dependence: “I’m holding on to Your promises, You are faithful…I know Who goes before me, I know Who stands behind, The God of Angel armies, is always on my side, The One Who reigns forever, He is a friend of mine.” “Lay Me Down” is an unashamed declaration of faith and desire to serve God in the same musical rock style as “I Will Wait” by Mumford & Sons. “I lay me down, I am not my own, I belong to You alone, lay me down, lay me down…there is no life apart from You, lay me down” is the bold testimonial of this song which is a great anthem for Christians everywhere praying to live for God’s glory. All of these lyrics point to the wonders of our God combined with sweeping melodies and infectious choruses that will be replayed in your mind over and over again. You can experience the majestic nature of God in the music of Chris Tomlin. The opening tracks set the tone brilliantly for this exceptional worship album, sure to be one of the best of the year. I am very moved by these opening songs. I find myself raising my hands in worship after those opening tracks, and then I'm compelled to reach out horizontally to help show others the love of Jesus. “God’s Great Dance Floor” was co-written with Martin Smith of Delirious and is an unashamed declaration of faith to God wrapped around a new contemporary electronic musical style. I love the truth of the song: “You’ll never stop loving us, no matter how far we run, You’ll never give up on us, all of Heaven will shout, let the future begin. I come alive, I feel alive / I am alive on God’s Great Dance Floor.” You probably won’t be adding that song to your church services, but the song is hooked-filled, fun and you’ll belt it out once you learn the chorus. Since the last Passion: White Flag recording, I’ve loved “White Flag” and “Jesus, Son of God” featuring Christy Nockels which are both great anthems for the Church. Tomlin's albums have all included hymn-like congregational worship songs like "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" and “All The Way My Savior Leads Me." “Crown Him (Majesty)" features Kari Jobe and is a fantastic re-write of the classic hymn of the faith.
"Sovereign" features Tomlin’s signature powerful vocals and reflects deep faith in God's Lordship over our lives: “From the Beginning to the End, I can trust You, God whatever comes my way, I will trust You.” Amen. "Countless Wonders" is a great depiction of God's Word applying to us with the biblical words: "Your beauty fills the sky, Great God of countless wonders, I will lift my eyes." "Thank You God for Saving Me" featuring Phil Wickham is an incredible song for worshippers. This is an amazing song of gratefulness to sing directly to God at the top of your lungs: "My heart is Yours, my soul is free, thank You God for saving me.” The gorgeous closing song "Shepherd Boy" bookends the “Burning Lights” concept. The opening lyrics sum up the theme of the album: "I’m no hero of the faith, I’m not as strong as I thought I was, I’m just a shepherd boy singing to a choir of burning lights, I’m just singing, singing over you, come and lay your troubles down, cause Love is breaking through.” Amen.
What’s most impressive is how these catchy songs will have you singing along at the top of your lungs after just a couple of listens Burning Lights is my new favorite overall album by Chris Tomlin. There's biblical truth married to personal lyrics in the songs “Awake My Soul,” “Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies),” “Lay Me Down” and the moving song "Shepherd Boy." The album is loaded with incredible songs for the Church, especially “Crown Him (Majesty)," “White Flag,” “Jesus, Son of God,” "Countless Wonders" and "Thank You God for Saving Me." They are all instantly sing-able and worshipful arrangements that you'll want to add to your Sunday morning set-list. The themes of this album are Trusting God, loving Him and loving others as He loved us. All of the songs are catchy, exciting and worshipful. After listening to the album, I am stirred with compassion to love people as Jesus loves us. That's the heart behind this album, and thank you Chris for blessing us with your music and for singing the Truth of the Gospel for the Kingdom of God.