Capitol Christian Music Group
Release Date: August 6th 2021
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- I See You
When you’re Chris Tomlin, and you’ve seemed to have conquered everything- sold our tours, hit number one songs, and a country influenced album that has impressed critics and fans alike… what is next? Given that the pandemic is still going, and that concerts are just starting to come back up again, albeit with a continued presence of social distancing rules and regulations; I guess the next thing you do if you are Chris, is to release another volume of Chris Tomlin & Friends. Chris Tomlin & Friends: Summer EP release about a month ago, and I reviewed it here. But the long and short of that release was that I thought it was a tad lazy to release a 5 song EP with 2 ‘double-ups’ and similar guest vocals. It’s an unfortunate blip in an inspiring and impacting career thus far; however, this past week, Chris has released something new. “I See You”, a collaboration with Brandon Lake, is a song that I did have high hopes for… considering that Brandon is one of my favourite worship artists currently- and his collaboration with Phil Wickham in “Where I’m Standing Now” is one of my favourite collaborations all year. So it stands to reason that this melody with Chris is equally as powerful and resonating and encouraging? Well… not so fast, cause I reckon that this track is a bit of a mixed bag, depending on your position and view of the worship industry at large, and also depending on whether you love CCM-ish worship songs.
A typical CCM song in that Chris and Brandon together passionately and vibrantly relay to us that we can indeed see Jesus in creation and in everything in our lives, that ‘…I see You in the morning light, I feel You in the fire by night, I hear You say, “Child, I am with you, everything will be alright.”, I see You in the tears that run, I feel You when the healing comes, I hear You say, “Beloved one, I am with you.”, every moment of my life I see You…’, we are met with an enthusiastic melody… but a melody nonetheless whereby I as a listener am not that impressed. Because you see, it’s a track that is forgettable. Sure, Chris’s heart is in the right place… but when the best part of the song is when Brandon Lake sings; well that’s a problem. Nothing against Chris, but this seems like something from a forgotten B-side or something like that. Thematically the song is indeed encouraging, as God is evident in everything around us. But songs like these have been done to death, like “I See You” from Rich Mullins, “At Your Name” from Tim Hughes, and “God Of Wonders” from Mac Powell and Cliff & Danielle Young. Do we really need another song like this released now? Sure, it’s true, but does anyone want to hear this song during the pandemic when emotions are high and we all aren’t thinking clearly? Do we need a reminder of ‘God is here and all-around us’ when we’ve heard it all before?
You’d think that after Chris Tomlin released his country album Chris Tomlin And Friends, that he’d be branching out further, into maybe a pop album or a rock album or an EDM album. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), Chris has gone back into cliché CCM/pop/worship tunes like with the album Holy Roar and Never Lose Sight. Not that that is bad, but I would’ve thought Chris would have evolved more as a singer and as a songwriter by now. Objectively and subjectively, “How Great Is Our God” is still Chris’s crowning achievement… and it looks to stay that way at this point in time. “I See You” is moving and inspiring… but it’s not that memorable. If you all love the song, well that’s great. But for me, I’ll be spinning Arriving, Hello Love and Burning Lights a whole lot more other than this … snoozefest. Sorry Chris, but this isn’t your best effort, not by a long shot.
RIYL: Crowder, Kristian Stanfill, Christy Nockels, Jesus Culture, Meredith Andrews