Over the last decade, Chris Tomlin’s music has become so recognized by the church worldwide. His “How Great Is Our God”, “Forever”, and “Our God” are just some of the songs that are being sung by thousands of Christians around the world every week. Every time he releases an album, it surely is a big event in the Christian music industry; and at the same time, people’s expectations heighten. Such thing can be tough to handle, but as for his latest release, “Love Ran Red”, he handled that pressure strong enough.
“Love Ran Red” celebrates the love and sacrifice of Jesus, and brings us back to the cross where the redemption was purchased. It is available in standard (with 12 tracks) and deluxe (with additional four tracks) editions.
“Greater” opens the album with a slow-tempo worship song. This Colossians 1:16-inspired song is a very good album kick starter. As the song grows, so does the intensity; and this trend continues to “Waterfall”. Though musically brilliant, I must say that this song along with “Boundary Lines” fell to the pitfall of worship cliché.
“The Roar” is the album’s most catchy track which sings of the Lion of the tribe of Judah who is roaring over us. It reminds us of the hope found in Jesus in times of troubles; and this message has been elaborated on the next track “Fear Not”, the album’s most musically diverse song.
Re-making of old hymns is one of Tomlin’s strongest skills. “At The Cross (Love Ran Red)” is a re-work of Isaac Watts’ hymn, dressed in a new elegant robe. I heard it first from Passion’s Take It All album, and since then I fell in love with it; it’s the album’s central point. Another outstanding re-make is “I Will Boast” of Steve and Vikki Cook’s 1997 hymn “I Will Boast in the Cross”. Needless to say, this track is this record’s most touching and honest song. I love its latter part where a piano plays a coda from “At The Cross (Love Ran Red)”.
As I stated earlier, the deluxe edition features an additional four tracks, which includes “In the End”, “Waterfall (Tritonal Remix)”, “At The Cross (Acoustic)”, and “Let It be Jesus (Acoustic)”. “Let It Be Jesus”, Tomlin’s co-write with Matt Redman and Jonas Myrin, is another track found on Passion’s “Take It All” release. There, it was sung by Christy Nockels, and unmistakably, one of that record’s prime cuts. In this album, Chris has given it an elegant acoustic makeover, making it more irresistible to sing, and more passionate.
“Love Ran Red” may not top Chris Tomlin’s growing discography, but the fact remains that this record is a very good one. Though I have found some songs with generic, cliché lines, I don’t mark them as album fillers, because they contributed to the album’s dynamic musical element. Overall, “Love Ran Red” is a solid release to celebrate God’s love and redemption.