Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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Record PlayerMUSIC NEWS:

The Winter Jam Tour Spectacular 2015 will return to the area on March 29 with a 6:00 pm concert at the Peoria Civic Center. Doors open at 5:00 pm. There are no advance ticket sales. All tickets are just $10. Artists include Skillet, For King & and Country, Jeremy Camp, Newsong, Francesca Battistelli, Building 429, Family Force 5 and more.

Congratulations to Trip Lee for debuting at #1 on iTunes Hip-Hop/Rap charts and #3 on the overall charts with his new album Rise.

Congratulations to Chris Tomlin for debuting at #6 on iTunes overall chart with his new album Love Ran Red and #1 on the Christian chart.

Lecrae has released a new autobiographical new single on iTunes “Non-Fiction”.

Third Day’s new albumLead Us Back – will be released March 3.

Paul McCartney has released a Collector’s Edition of his excellent 2013 album New. This edition includes a 2 CD and 1 DVD package in a hard bound book with new photos documenting the release. It includes 3 previously unreleased tracks and 4 songs recorded live at the Tokyo Dome in 2013. The DVD features footage from release events in Las Vegas, New York, London, plus behind the scenes films and much more. I was interested in the three news songs, “Struggle”, “Hell to Pay” and “Demon’s Dance”. The latter two are quite good, but I didn’t care much for “Struggle”, which was a bit too experimental for a McCartney song for me.

Music Reviews

Rise – Trip Lee

This highly anticipated album is Trip’s first since 2012’s The Good Life and one of the best of 2014. Later in 2012 he announced he was leaving music and pursuing ministry and released his first book The Good Life. The 26-year old Lee has attended Boyce College, interned at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington D.C. with Mark Dever, and is a frequent speaker at churches at conferences. He became a pastor in 2013.

This album debuted at #3 on the overall iTunes charts and #1 on the hip-hop/rap charts. Four of the fourteen songs were released early to those who pre-ordered the album – “Shweet”, “Beautiful Life 2 (Mine)”, “Manola” (featuring Lecrae) and “Sweet Victory”. Then the album was streamed in its entirety the weekend before its release. Instead of collaborating with multiple producers as in the past, this time Trip worked solely with producer Gawvi for the entire album at his Atlanta studio. Gawvi also worked with Lecrae on his excellent Anomaly album and has produced several other Reach Records projects. Throughout, the music is diverse and Gawvi’s production is outstanding.

Writing about the album, Trip writes: “Rise has a lot of different meanings,” he explains. “It’s a call-to-action to rise from the dead and actually live. We’re born spiritually dead, and I’m calling for everyone to become spiritually alive. Secondly, don’t wait until later to live the way you were created. God created you to honor Him, find joy, and serve others. Don’t sleep on that. Lastly, rise above the low expectations people have.”Trip Lee

Below are a few comments and/or lyrics on each song:

Rise – Trip makes it clear he’s back:
Hold up, I’m back to boast in these tracks like
I’m mad that I might back slap mics
Never mind the fact that I never left I’m hype
Listen up, right, you ain’t got to ask my twice
I’m here, I’m here

How am I’m gonna retire when we need a crier that tells us to rise up and stand?

We all die, John 5:28-29
The judge returns
And all rise

Lights On – Talks about how we are all walking in total darkness until the lights come on from Jesus.
I’m praying that we’ll flip that switch and shine, you’re so blind
We know You got it, Lord, we know You got it
Only You could take us higher, You’re the Pilot
Lights, please!

Shweet – Here is Trip’s excellent video for this song.
I got a lot of problems, but I’m straight (that’s shweet)
I know my God will toss em in the lake (that’s shweet)
How many times I gotta tell ya He’s the boss
Under Him anything’s a piece of cake

Manola (featuring Lecrae) – I have to admit that when this track was released I didn’t get it. It sounded great with Lecrae joining Trip, but I didn’t understand the lyrics at all. Trip clears it up: “In Spanish, ‘Manolo’ means ‘God is with us’. There’s some gun terminology, but the weapon we’re talking about is truth. We fight lies with the word of God.” The song also features a hook from Gawvi.
I flip that page on em, my trigger finger stay workin
I got plenty ammo, got old and new, they both testify, my Lord

Red letters like a red dot on your door

His Word is my weapon

You Don’t Know – This song features some excellent drum work. It opens with a sample of Christon Gray’s 2011 song “Even with Evil Within Me” and is a beautiful song about the joy of being in Christ and making his election sure.

All Rise Up Interlude – A spoken word track about Trip’s ten year history with Reach Records artists.

All Rise Up – In this song Trip looks at his career thus far.
Plus there’s more haters
Saying we just do it for dough

If we all rise up
That’s be my dream
That we should all rise up
And give a standing “o” for the King
Cuz He’s good

I ain’t retired but I thought about it
I feel called to be a pastor. I’m all about it
See His glory in His Word and I gotta shout it
So I’m just trying to figure out how I can shout the loudest
Plus, I saw it’s hard to be a pastor

I read John’s vision and it’s plain
Christ reigns so I’m sticking in my lane
Rap don’t need me
Reach don’t need me
Christ don’t need me
I’m limping cuz I’m lame

Beautiful Life 2 (Mine) – This is a song from Trip to his young son and baby daughter, who you can hear in the song. It is a sequel to the pro-life “Beautiful Life” on The Good Life.
And I’ll be sure to tell you everyday
You made in His image baby, you ain’t gotta wait
To hear no affirmation from them dudes in the streets
You already know you’re beautiful to me

What a great gift from a great God
You belong to Him, but He gave you to me

Insomniac (featuring Andy Mineo) – Mineo is my favorite hip-hop/rap artist behind Lecrae and Lee. I can’t wait for his next full-length album.  This song is about going strong for the Lord while we can.
My life could end today, yeah, my heart stop
If I go out tonight, I’m going out on top
I give it all, this life ain’t all I got

Something New – A one verse track about Trip’s addiction to sneakers.
My addition isn’t to women or to booze.
Sneakersheads anonymous
I’m itching for some shoes

Lazarus (featuring Thi’sl) – This is a song about how as dead men we are raised to life by Christ.
From now on you can call me Lazarus
From a dead man walking to the risen ones

I mean the Captain, the Almighty Lord
Setting captives free, all aboard (all aboard)
Can’t stop Him when He got His mind made up
He don’t like that grave, sayonara, see you later
He make the blind see and got the lame up
So it’s no surprise He can raise us

All My Love (featuring Natalie Lauren) – about a married man battling his online pornography addiction.
Now it hits the depths of the heart, He calls
The way he grieve our Lord as he hang on the dirty cross
The way he hurt his wife and flaunts his perverted flaws
He might mess around and lose his family, so he pause
He takes his laptop, her pictures on the backdrop
He smashes it with a hammer and takes the trash out
He calls his wife and he’s repenting in tears
And says he wants to be committed for years, and God hears

I’m Gone – This song includes an upbeat piano and some serious words about Satan’s schemes against us.
I hear what you’re saying
But I don’t believe you
Cuz you’re just be lying
And I don’t need you
I got a new Lord
I know I don’t see you
But I see right through you
So I gotta leave you
I’m gone

Sweet Victory (featuring Dimitri McDowell & Leah Smith) – Trip shares the pain from his seven year-long battle chronic fatigue syndrome and how hard it has been on him and his wife.
So when I say “It’s been a few hard years” they think I’m playing
But you don’t know my life boy
You don’t know what it’s been like on my wife
Don’t know my fight boy

He then shares that as believers our victory is now based in what we do and how our life is going but in Christ’s finished work on the cross.Trip Lee Book
The victor ain’t the one that’s winning in the 7th inning
Trophies don’t go to ones that got a good beginning
When I say I win I don’t mean the state I’m in
I mean that day when the grace got fade out then
I’m winning cause I ran with him.

On January 27 Trip will release his second book Rise: Get Up and Live in God’s Great Story.

Love Ran Red by Chris TomlinLove Ran Red Deluxe Edition – Chris Tomlin
Chris Tomlin is a worship leader at the Passion City Church in Atlanta (where Louie Giglio is lead pastor), and a prolific writer of worship songs for the church. Each year he writes several new songs to be sung at the Passion conferences and included on the conference live album, in addition to his own solo albums. Some of the songs included on the Passion albums end up on his solo albums as in this case with “At the Cross (Love Ran Red)” and “Almighty”, and “Let it Be Jesus” (sung by Christy Nockels), which were included in this year’s Passion: Take It All album.

Prior to the release of Love Ran Red Tomlin released three songs, the singles “Waterfall” and “Jesus Loves Me” as well as “Greater”. The Deluxe edition includes alternate versions of “Waterfall” and acoustic versions of “At the Cross (Love Ran Red)” and “Let it Be Jesus”.

The album debuted at #6 on the overall iTunes charts and #1 on the Christian charts. One reviewer wrote that this album felt like a “Greatest Hits” package, as each song is “so power packed with potential that it’s a challenge to decipher which would be the next single”. I have to agree. Tomlin is at the top of his game with this release. He knew as much when we saw him in concert at the US Cellular Coliseum on July. He mentioned at that time that he knew he had a special set of songs and couldn’t wait to get them out to everyone.

Jesus is the subject of each song on this wonderful new album, which will definitely be among my top releases of the year, along with those by U2 and Lecrae. Below are brief comments/and or lyrics on each of the song on the album:

Greater – A worship anthem and one of the songs you received when you pre-ordered the album.

Greater is the One who lives in me
Greater is the love of Jesus
Greater than my sin
Greater than the grave
Above all other thrones
Above all other names

Waterfall – The first single released from the album. Tomlin performed this song at his concert Bloomington in July.

Your love is like a waterfall, waterfall,
Running wild and free
You hear my heart when I call, when I call
Deep calls to deep
Your love is like a waterfall raining down on me

At the Cross (Love Ran Red) – Since I first heard this song on the Passion: Take It All album, it has been my favorite song this year. Tomlin, as he has in the past, uses elements of an old hymn – this time “At the Cross” by Isaac Watts. I put this song in the category of Matt Redman’s “Bless the Lord (10,000 Reasons)” and believe it will soon be sung in worship services around the world.

At the cross, at the cross
I surrender my life
I’m in awe of You, I’m in awe of You
Where Your love ran red, and my sin washed white
I owe all to You, I owe all to You

Jesus Loves Me – The second single released from the album.

I couldn’t run, couldn’t run from His presence
Couldn’t run from His arms

Jesus, He loves me, He loves me
He is for me
Jesus how can it be, He loves me
He is for me

Boundary Lines – One of the more upbeat songs on the album, this one would be a good concert song.

My heart is a cup
Your love is an ocean
God, You fill me up
Like rivers overflowing

Almighty – A piano driven worship anthem that first appeared on the Passion: Take It All album earlier this year.

Almighty, we’re standing in the presence of Your majesty
You’re Holy, You alone the sovereign crown of royalty
You’re the king of kings

The Roar – This is another upbeat song that would sound good in a concert setting.

I heard the roar of the Lion of Judah
I heard the voice that calms the raging sea
He came to me, came to me
When I needed the Lord
I heard the roar of the Lion of Judah

Fear Not – Tomlin sings about God being our mighty warrior.

God He is faithful, faithful to us
Through every storm
Through troubled waters
He won’t abandon
Fear not, the Lord God is with us

The Table – This song has a Black Gospel feel and ends with a choir. It is a refreshingly different sound for Tomlin. It is a song about community, fellowship and the invitation of the gospel.

Come all you weary, come and find
His yoke is easy, His burden is light
He is able, He will restore
At the table of the Lord

Psalm 100 – This is another upbeat song which would be great for churches with a more contemporary worship service.

For the Lord is good
And His love endures, His love endures
For the Lord is good, and His love endures, His love endures
Forevermore His faithfulness it has no end
For the Lord is good, His Love endures, His love endures

I Will Boast – This is a beautiful piano driven song with a nice piano refrain that makes use of the title song’s melody.

I will boast only in the cross
Where my Savior died for me
Nothing else no other love
Goes so far and runs so deep

Only One took the nails
Only One tore the veil
Only One spotless lamb
I will boast only in the cross

Jesus, This is You – This is another great song for corporate worship.

Jesus, You are greater than the grave
Jesus, You have broken every chain
Forever You will reign
Forever we will sing
Jesus, this is You

In the End – This song starts with just a piano and then piano and then builds to a powerful ending.

In the end love will fill the earth
Raise the dead to life
In the end, we will see the Kingdom come
In the end all the darkness will be bursting into life
We will live here forever in the end

Deluxe Edition Songs:
Waterfall (Tritonal mix) – I didn’t find that this new mix added much to the original version.

At the Cross (Love Ran Red) – (Acoustic) – The is the third version of this excellent song released this year, with the live version on the Passion: Take it All album and the original studio version released on the standard version of this album. This is a beautiful acoustic guitar version of the song.

Let it Be Jesus (Acoustic) – A beautiful version of a song that was sung by Christy Nockels on the Passion: Take it All album.

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

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