Covenant Worship 'Standing' Album Review
Prime Cuts: Your Great Love, Taste and See, Dwell
What makes a good worship album? First, since worship is about God, the songs ought to first and foremost be about the Almighty informed by the truths of Scripture. Second, since worship is corporate, the songs need to be catchy enough to want to make those who are tune deaf to want to sing along. Third, since worship albums are often used by as soundtracks for worship across churches of various sizes, the songs need to be replicable. There is not much point having a Mark Knopfler-wizened guitar riff if it behooves the average small church guitarist. With that said, how does Covenant Worship new disc "Standing" fair? Granted that there are some glorious Spirit-filled moments, not every of the 13 tracks are stellar. At least all the songs here are centered on God; though not all of the 13 songs here are immediately canorous, some of the melodies do replay in one's head after repeated listening. And with a few exceptions, many of these songs have a striking resemblance to the worship music coming out in the last decade or two. They are simple enough to sing along framed by some obvious chord structures making it easily replicable in many smaller church settings.
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Before we delve in a critique of songs, a word needs to be said about Covenant Church. Hailed from Dallas, Texas, Covenant Church is one of those success stories. Pioneered by senior pastors Mike and Kathy Hayes, the church grew from a struggling body in 1976 into a blossoming 10,000 member congregation holding services across 5 campuses. Part of their success story is that they have a strong worship team led by David and Nicole Binon. And together the team have released a number of discs with "Standing" being the first release with Integrity Music. A casual glance at the CD cover with a live picture of the team in worship and a montage of individual photos of the lead singers on the left somehow calls to mind the cover of Hillsong's "A Beautiful Exchange." And the resemblance does not stop there, like Hillsong they rotate the leads of each song among the worship team. But unlike Hillsong of late, they have not erred by having far too many anonymous-sounding lead singers. Thus, there is still a cohesive feel to the entire effort without having just the same voice right through.
Without yielding to the current trend of building up a glassy wall of explosive noise of jangling guitars and ear popping drums, the title cut "Standing" has a understated soothing 90s pop feel that effortlessly calls us to rely on the promises of Christ. Surrounded by some funky horns and some heavenly Motown like choir, "We Sing" is what makes worship fun and danceable before the King. When the team mellows down, pay attention to the Nicole Binion-led "Taste and See." A mid-tempo invitation to experience God's goodness, the song has an infectious Latin-influenced swaying feel that is contagious. And for ballad lovers, "Dwell" is just a gorgeous Spirit-anointed moment that commands our worship from the very first piano note. While the guitar-led "Your Great Love" is a heartfelt prayer of surrender to God that bristles with unguarded intimacy.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH Covenant Worship - Your Great Love [Music Video]
Unfortunately, there are also other moments where monotony abides. Songs like "Nobody Like You," "Faithful" and "We Will Believe" are as exciting as the titles suggest. They are by no means offensive; it's just that they are run of the mill torpid worship songs recycling phrases heard over and over again across various worship anthems. Besides the dearth of a fresh angle or image, the melodies for these tracks are just nebulous. Nevertheless, not all is irredeemable there are still some refreshing moments. "Dwell," for instance, is indeed a gem.
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