on December 10, 2011
This album reminds me of what was commonly said about Larry Norman in his day, "Too rock-n-roll for Christians. Too Christian for rock-n-roll." Phil Wickham's Response would be playing on the pop charts today, if it wasn't Christian. At the same time, it's too good to classify it besides Steven Curtis Chapman, Lincoln Brewster and other Air1 artists as "Christian" music.
Don't get me wrong: Phil's passion for praise is ever present in each song. Relevant, contemporary and perfectly-produced, I was into every song within the first four measures. Many of these songs will find their way into the regular rotation at our Sunday morning services.
In the 70s, I enjoyed listening to Phil's parents' music in a band called, "Parable." John and Lisa must be so pleased with Phil, using his God-given gifts in service to our Lord and His church.
on October 4, 2011
After selling a quarter million albums and over a half million song downloads to date, a chart topping radio single, receiving accolades for his previous three albums, Fair Trade Services' recording artist Phil Wickham returns with his latest album Response. Wickham provides listeners with eleven tracks that seek to give a voice to humanity's acceptance of God's love in any circumstance. In the same way that the Psalms offer expressions of joy, sorrow, repentance, hope and victory, Response gives a voice to the appreciation and adoration of God in every chapter of life. Wickham's last two albums Cannons (2007) and Heaven & Earth (2009), were among my top 10 albums of those years. The first single from Response, "At Your Name (Yahweh, Yahweh)" is a surefire hit song which Wickham co-wrote with Tim Hughes. It's exactly the type of catchy corporate worship song I've come to love from Phil Wickham, like "Cannons" and "You're Beautiful." The song is instantly sing-able and worshipful with a great chorus, "Lord of all the earth, we shout Your Name, shout Your Name, Filling up the skies, with endless praise, endless praise, Yahweh, Yahweh, we love to shout Your Name, oh Lord." The first three songs, "Heaven Fall Down," "Joy" and "One God" all flow together with a Brit-rock musical style and some more electronic pop like we heard in "Eden" and "Heaven and Earth," but without the harder rock edge this time, which for me is the one thing lacking from this otherwise solid album.
"This Is The Day" and "All I Want Is You" are mid-tempo pop/rock songs that express Phil's reflections and Christian worldview. "All I Want Is You" is filled with Phil's sincere yearning, "we all want something more, there's something more, we're searching for. You're so much more, You, All I ever wanted, All I ever needed...All I want is You." "God Of Our Salvation" would fit on any Hillsong UNITED album. It includes the theological truth, "Hallelujah, Hallelujah, You are the God of our salvation, You have conquered, You have risen, You are the God of our Salvation." It takes until track eight, "Sun & Moon" to hear my favorite musical style by Phil Wickham, an acoustic guitar based worship ballad. It has a similar feel to "The Light Has Come" and "You're Beautiful" and is my favorite song on the album. The song has Phil's signature vocal break as he prayerfully belts out "God, I want to feel You now, God I need a miracle, take my heart, make it glow, shine Your light from the inside out. You are the Sun, I want to be the moon, I want to be more like You." "This Love Will Last," "All I Am" and "The Victory" close out this very relaxing, sometimes mellow album. For me, there aren't the big emotional moments that I experienced with "True Love," "Cielo" and "Heaven Song" from the last two albums and overall it reminds me much more of Phil's debut self-titled album with many of the songs having that more laid-back style.
CLOSING THOUGHTS (Staff Review, NewReleaseTuesday)
Phil Wickham's enthusiastic and reverent style of writing and singing praise and worship songs has consistently been a draw for me. Wickham's prayerful sentiments are consistently filled with his personal adoration of God. Response is no exception. Several of these songs should be added to your Sunday morning worship set, especially "Heaven Fall Down," "One God," "At Your Name (Yahweh, Yahweh) and the gorgeous ballads "Sun & Moon and "The Victory."
From the earliest days, expressing worship through music has been on a trajectory. You can trace it from the beginnings of Jesus Music through labels like Maranatha, Vineyard and Integrity. It will not peak until the day that Christ returns but all that has gone before has surely led us to this place.
Who knew that combining rock and worship could be so powerful? Power is sometimes associated with loud in Scripture: The God of glory thunders! Loud is not inconsistent with worship: "Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!" (Psalm 150:5 ESV, italic added). I like quiet as much as anyone, but loud is powerful. It can be an appropriate response to an all-powerful God.
This idea of response is behind Phil Wickham's latest offering. Worship is our response to God's revelation. Worship is personal, but Wickham makes it collective. He employs more musicians, writers and producers than on any previous projects, including the well-respected Brown Bannister as a co-producer. Wickham succeeds in creating songs that are inviting so that people will sing along.
This is a collection of tracks that are easy to get into but have depth. Wickham even waxes poetic as on "Sun & Moon": "If you are the sun, I want to be the moon / I want to reflect the light that shines from you / And if this is war, then I'm gonna draw my sword / This time I know what I am fighting for."
Modern worship can be narrow in scope, but I appreciate the subtle diversity found in both the lyrics and music. For example, how often do you find a song about joy ("Joy"), a response to all that God has done? The focus of the next track is all about there being but one God ("One God").
It may be typical of the genre, but the yearning for God and recognition that He is all we need is movingly evoked. Thankfully, the focus is not on our lack but God's sufficiency. There is a recognition here and elsewhere in this movement that worship is not about us but about the person of God. There is a good balance between the extolling of His attributes and the cry of our hearts to know and love Him.
The European influence in the music is felt throughout and adds a unique texture. The Edge-like guitar work, witness the opening sounds of "Heaven Fall Down," can make it sound like Wickham is being backed by U2. You could also easily mistake this for Delirious.
Wickham is doing modern worship as well as anyone. He is among the leaders of a new generation that are declaring God's praises.
The first single, "At Your Name (Yahweh, Yahweh)" is like a banner waving high with an anthem-like chorus accompanied by explosive guitars. A powerful God calls for powerful worship, and this song like so many on this release conveys it.
on August 18, 2014
The idea of "Response", I believe, was to bring people into a worshipful attitude of praise towards God for all that he did for us when he died on the cross and rose again, taking all the blame and sin that kept us from Him. Phil Wickham did just that for me... this album (along with his others) just fills me with praise towards the Redeemer and a thankfulness to Him for saving me! The opening song "Heaven Fall Down" sets the theme for the album, putting his listeners in a worshipful state of mind, and is one of my favorites on here along with "One God", "At Your Name", "God of Our Salvation", "This Love Will Last Forever" and "All I Am". I highly recommend this album to everyone reading this!
on October 17, 2013
I subscribe to Rhapsody and can download any music I like whenever I want. I CHOSE to purchase the CD because I wanted to share Phil Wickham with others. It was purchased as a gift for someone I care about. The way that PW conveys his heart for the Lord is beautiful, haunting, inflaming, unforgettable! Cannons, Heaven & Earth, Ascension, Response - all worthy of owning and sharing.