Released: August 7, 2008
Complete with corporate singing, hymns, and some of Phil’s best originals songs, this is quite possibly the best worship album of the year…and I don’t just mean this year. One of the key components to worship music is community—without it worship music is just plain old music. The Church created worship music to sing and worship God corporately and that’s the first thing I thought about when I heard Phil Wickham’s latest worship album Singalong. The very nature of a “singalong” is to sing together and once I began listening to this album, that’s exactly what I was doing.
The unfortunate thing about Christian music today is the over saturation of worship music that has entered the market. We have artists like David Crowder, Chris Tomlin, Tim Hughes, Passion, Hillsong, etc all seeking to produce worship music for the masses. Then you have bands like Third Day, Newsboys, Jars of Clay, Kutless, and others who have set aside their writing to lay down one or more worship albums. Though I don’t find anything wrong with this, I often find their albums to be expensive, not theologically sound, and/or just not that great sounding. But with that in mind, enter Phil Wickham’s Singalong: he’s giving the album away for free, it’s lyrically rich, and you’ll find yourself worshiping in song whenever you listen to it. Singalong is a breath of fresh air in a city of smoggy, smelly… oh, I’ll say it, plain old garbage worship music.
Singalong is a completely live album, recorded during one concert in Portland, Oregon. According to the album download page it was a project that Phil had in mind for a while and he was finally “able to do a show…with just me and a guitar and record it.” Musically, it’s just that—an acoustic guitar and Phil’s voice (and of course the singing of the 3000 people at the show). The simplicity of the solo acoustic guitar for this album is perfect. Phil’s a talented guitarist and he does a great job of making the songs simple and singable. Anytime we can strip down the worship music to where we can hear ourselves and those around us sing is a good thing. This is almost counter to the Christian music industry that spends thousands of dollars producing worship music with more synth, loops, or whatever they can find in hopes of creating music that people are supposed to enjoy. Better still is that this album is not really about Phil Wickham’s talent or even high quality production, it’s about singing.
All of the hymns he chose to sing are done so well that you have no choice but to think about what the Saints of old were talking about when they wrote them. Songs like “It Is Well With My Soul” and “Nothing But The Blood” will encourage your soul and remind you of the greatest sacrifice ever made. But let’s not overlook Phil’s own songs that are at their finest on Singalong. The album opens with “Desire” from his Cannons album. Unfortunately, I don’t think I ever really listened to that song until I heard it done here. With conviction and the sound of thousands singing, the truth of the lyrics “Iâ€™d be nothing without You, yeah I would die” make us look to Christ for our identity. The song “Messiah” couldn’t be more real than it is on this album. How can someone sing or hear people singing “Messiah… You are our only hope” and not be drawn in to worship the only God who saves us from our sin? At the end of the record everyone sings loudly the song “True Love”. It’s easily one of Phil’s best and is really a simple song about the Gospel. Honestly, I don’t like the way the original version of that track on Cannons, but when Phil plays it acoustic and when people are straining their voices to sing it—it honestly gives me goosebumps.
If you’re looking for a refreshing worship album that you won’t get tired of then go now and download a free legal copy of Singalong. I truly believe this album brings to light the nature of worship music and why we’re called to sing in the Scriptures. Singing together is a part of what the Church is called to do and I know that you heart will be encouraged and you’ll long for the quick return of our Great Savior.
Download a free copy of Singalong here.
Hear more full tracks from Phil Wickham at Last.fm.
Learn more at the Phil Wickham official site.