First Impressions: Bethel Live – Be Lifted High
January 24, 2011Posted by on
What happens when you get a well known worship artist, a few lesser known worship artists and a few relatively unknown worship artists in one church together for a worship service? Well, you get a couple things, the first and foremost thing being a whole lot of music directed for the worship of our Lord…the second being an American church doing their version of Hillsong, but thankfully an equally talented and inspired way. I just received this today and have listened a few times already, so here are some of my thoughts.
Bethel Live is the worship ministry of Bethel Church in Redding, CA and features Brian and Jenn Johnson, Jeremy Riddle, William Matthews, Amanda Falk and Steffany Frizzell, some of whom you may have heard before, with some of Jeremy Riddle’s tracks being some of my own personal favorites to sing at church (Sweetly Broken, anyone? anyone?).
Be Lifted High truly does play the line that Hillsong has become famous for, even starting off with a pulsating pop rock track in “You Are Good”, which also happens to be by far the shortest track on the album clocking in at 4:25, so you can imagine that this is a seriously long album for those of you that just hate it when an album stops just as you were getting into the worship. “God I Look To You” is the first of many female lead vocals and I’m always a sucker for a good set of hallelujahs in a song, so it isn’t tough to sell me on that one. “I Will Exalt” is the first ballad in the bunch, which is a relief for me as sometimes these kinds of albums have a few too many and tend to put me to sleep, so as long as the album is it doesn’t feel like a total drag, which is a major blessing for a reviewer with a pop-punk mindset.
Overall, despite actually doing a good job of adding variety of pace and the change of vocals throughout, things do still run together a bit just because the style is absolutely nothing that hasn’t been done before. It seems that contemporary Christian music doesn’t want to make any advances musically or push any limits, but rather stay in the comfort of what works. Probably because it works and it sells and the general populace likes things right down the middle. I guess I can’t fault them too much for that, but it just seems that many talented artists settle for white noise in the industry. This will sell because there is a big market for this kind of thing, but I wouldn’t mind if once in awhile if a mega church tried things slightly different, even though it isn’t likely to happen any time soon. There are some good songs on here, I don’t want to act as if there aren’t, but I’m not going to pretend that I couldn’t replace it with ten other albums just like it pretty easily either. It is what it is.
|01. You Are Good02. One Thing Remains
04. Be Lifted High
05. God I Look to You
06. I Will Exalt
07. What Would I Have Done
|08. Hopes Anthem09. Love Came Down
10. Deep Cries Out
11. God of the Redeemed
12. Forever and a Day
13. One Thirst