Release Date: August 17th 2018
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Nobody Loves Me Like You
- Goodness, Love And Mercy
- Our God
“…Because of our English language, it just says praise the Lord everywhere in the Bible. If you look at the original Hebrew, there’s seven different words that mean praise and they all mean a little something different…[one means to lift your hands to the Lord, another means to dance foolishly and a third means kneel]; I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, how have I never heard this?’ I spend my whole life leading worship, trying to lead people to praise God and I’ve never heard this myself. It was a game-changer for me that day, and I thought it would be a real game-changer for the churches and people of faith and people who worship God…” There’s no need for me to write an introduction on Chris Tomlin. If you’re reading this review, then chances are that you know exactly who Chris is. If you don’t…then check him out on Wikpedia. Seriously, go ahead- he’s who I would say is probably the founder or father of modern worship music. Even if you haven’t been immersed in worship music for as long as I probably have; everyone knows “How Great Is Our God”, right? Let me quickly break down a few hit songs from Chris to jog your memory if you are still forgetful! So… Chris has written probably some of the most meaningful and sought after (by the church) worship melodies- songs like “Forever”, “Jesus”, “Home”, “We Fall Down”, “The Wonderful Cross”, “Our God”, “Amazing Grace My Chains Are Gone”, “Indescribable”, “Holy Is The Lord”, “Famous One”, “Enough”, “Jesus Messiah”, “I Will Rise”, “I Lift My Hands”, “God’s Great Dance Floor”, “Whom Shall I Fear?”, “Jesus Loves Me”, “Waterfall”, the aforementioned “How Great Is Our God”…the list goes on and on. With these songs being just a snapshot of his most impacting and influential global hits; something you’re guaranteed to hear is lyrics which are heavily rooted in scripture.
Though at times Chris’ music can sound a bit too CCM-ish and cliché (sometimes I do tend to agree!), Chris still has that uncanny ability with his written words and his distinct singing voice to draw us in, and to get us singing along to even the simplest of tunes. This certainly was the case with “Resurrection Power” when it released in January this year, and the same goes for Chris’s latest EP Nobody Loves Me Like You. With 4 new songs present on this EP as well as a reworked new recording of “Our God”; this new EP serves as a precursor for Chris’ upcoming new album Holy Roar; however, these songs at times can sound a tad too Tomlin-ish- meaning that it sounds like Chris is covering old ground and not really stretching himself to create something new. Though my impression of these new songs overall may change after listening to Holy Roar at the end of October; at this point in time, this EP is just ok (you’ll love them if you’re a die-hard Chris Tomlin fan)- and I prefer albums such as Hello Love, And If Our God Is For Us… and Burning Lights!
Let me start off with the weakest song on the album. Yep it’s the EP title track, which contains a lot of lazy rhyming (morning rhyming with morning, story with story, mountains with mountains…really? Has it come to this?)- no offence to the Cash brothers (Ed and Scott), but I for one don’t really connect with this song. Someone else may, but that someone isn’t me right now. With guitars and light keys present in this mid-tempo CCM pop melody, we are presented with a heartfelt anthem with Chris ardently declaring that no one loves us as much as Jesus, yet while this song screams out ‘radio’, it doesn’t scream out ‘creativity’ or ‘originality’, and that’s a shame, because Chris is so much better than this.
Thankfully the EP only gets better from here, but slightly. “Satisfied” is a pop/country infused bouncy 3-minute melody co-written with Jason Ingram, that gets me tapping my toes and bobbing my head along to the infectious and contagious melody. Thematically similar to “Counting Every Blessing” from Rend Collective and “Satisfied” from About A Mile; Chris fervently relays to us that Jesus satisfies us just by being in our lives and by our side, and that’s enough for us to praise Him- and it is this assuredness of the sentiment that encourages us to declare this ever true statement in the near future, claiming it for our lives as we truly are satisfied. EP highlight is the acoustic guitar driven scripture-in-song Psalm 23 inspired “Goodness Love And Mercy”, cowritten by brothers Bo and Bear Rinehart from Needtobreathe (complete with a gospel inspired bridge where Chris declares ‘…I’m gonna dwell in the house of the Lord forever…’); and let’s hope that Needtobreathe will record this song in the future, cause that would sound so cool! The mini-album then wraps up with 2 middle-of-the-road ho-hum tracks- “Impact”, your typical corporate worship song that would do pretty good on radio (though it’s nothing memorable), and a rerecording of “Our God”, which is nice to hear, but completely unnecessary.
Over the course of his ten plus years as a singer and a worship leader, Chris Tomlin has given us great and powerful songs that many churches are singing right now all around the world. And now, we are given the chance to hear Chris sing some more powerful worship tunes, starting with “Resurrection Power”, and then with this EP and Holy Roar later on this year. Though Chris Tomlin is absent from the upcoming live Passion album Whole Heart (who’d have conceived this 10 years ago, that Chris would be phased out of Passion by 2018?), this doesn’t mean that these songs are irrelevant or out of touch with today’s wants, hopes and dreams of young people. Rather the opposite. I reckon Holy Roar is probably one of the year’s most anticipated albums for the rest of 2018, and while it doesn’t matter if Chris Tomlin isn’t exactly your favourite artist, there is enough heart and passion on all of these songs on Nobody Loves Me Like You to have us eagerly waiting the next Tomlin album. For me, I cannot wait to hear what Chris has in store next, so check out the EP and let me know what you think. The EP may not be the most inventive, but you still may find your next worship anthem for the year!
3 songs to listen to: Satisfied, Goodness Love And Mercy, Impact
RIYL: Matt Redman, Tim Hughes, Kristian Stanfill, Chirsty Nockels, Kari Jobe