Album Review: Integrity’s iWorship Now/Next 2014

One of the things that set apart the church today from its early years is Music. For nearly a thousand years, no one was permitted to sing in church. There was a decree made in 364 A.D. by the council of Laodicea that no lay person could musically intone a syllable in church. Until the time of a Czech Reformer by the name of Jan Hus who publicly challenged the directive. As a punishment, he was burnt alive at the stake. Today, the freedom of singing is very well practiced by the church. Not only can we sing, but we have such a plenitude of worship songs of different styles with various musicalities. There are so much songs and albums to choose from. We can worship while singing our choice of music. Just like in the time of King David, he used music as one of his expressions of worship to our God.

Indeed, we have come a long way. The church and its history are knitted into God’s amazing tapestry. As colourful as the church history is, is its music. As diverse as the Christian music is, so does this years’ Integrity’s iWorship Now/Next. Comprising 15 top worship songs from Darlene Zschech, Planetshakers, Paul Baloche, Martin Smith among others, this compilation is a fabric of various thread.

Unlike the 2013’s iWorship Now/Next which was a double CD-release (a disc for “Now”, another for “Next”), this year’s has a single disc. The fact that this is a compilation album of different artists, it has varied styles. If you are looking for a powerful worship song with big guitar hooks, Planetshakers’ The Anthem fits for you. Originally found on their ‘Limitless’ album, this track has no verse until it was re-written in 2012 by Joth Hunt. Congregations love to sing the truths found on its lyrics. Its verse is Isaiah 53:5-put to song. This ultimate worship song is perfect to be paired with Darlene Zschech’s power praise, In Jesus Name. Recorded live with thousands of believers on her Revealing Jesus album, this has been one of today’s church’s favorites. Originally a ten-minute track, it is truncated to over five minutes. Those who are spiritually weary will surely be strengthened by God’s promises on its lines. Full of power and conviction, it literally shakes the heavens and the earth.

Simple treats await you as you reach Paul Baloche’s My Hope, Cory Asbury’s Ascribe, All Sons and Daughter’s Great Are You Lord, and Ryan Williams’ Come Like The Dawn. Each of these songs affords you a great time of worship with their simple musicality and straight-forward messages; ideal for quiet time devotions. On the other side of this are the praise party songs with Planetshakers’ Limitless, Worship Central’s Let It Be Known, and Martin Smith’s God’s Great Dance Floor. These tracks have two things in common. First, all are synths and electronic-effects-based, needless to say, sound effects and synths are very common on current worship songs. Second, these three are all album title tracks.

The City Harmonic is one the artists in Integrity Music Family which has a gift in writing in-depth songs. Last year, I had had a chance to write a review of their sophomore album “Heart”. I must say it is one of the best albums of 2014; songs are musically and lyrically brilliant. Their “Holy (Wedding Day)” from their debut album “I Have a Dream” is just that. It is simply moving and beautifully-written.

Whether you just want to hear the modern hits of worship songs on the radio or a worship leader looking for new songs without having a great expense, Integrity iWorship Now/Next 2014 is good for you. The great selection of songs and its variety in style give access to everyone in the church. Whatever your musical preference is, it is represented here. As the title goes, I know these worship songs of today (now), will stand the test of time and resource the church in the future (next). Strongly recommended!

Rating: 4.8/5

Disclosure: A review copy of Integrity’s iWorship Now/Next 2014 was provided for review by House of Praise, from whom you may purchase the album.

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