Hello Love | 3 stars out of 5
I really wanted to love Chris Tomlin's new album.
Seriously, despite our curmudgeonly reputations, critics love to see or hear something great, and where should you expect that more than from someone who has already proven their greatness? Tomlin is ostensibly the voice of Christian music today, an artist responsible as much as anyone for merging the worlds of the church and contemporary Christian music. I have enjoyed his music and learned to play some of his songs, so it seemed like a good day when Hello Love arrived in the mail.
But after a few listens, it seemed as if someone needed to give Tomlin a little push.
This isn't a bad recording. There are a number of terrific songs here, including Sing, Sing, Sing and God of This City, which we heard earlier this year on the latest Passion CD, and a gorgeous new rendition of an old hymn, All the Way My Savior Leads Me. There's also Jesus Messiah, the hit single that preceded the album. It's all good.
It also sounds very familiar, a stringing of melody, chorus and vertical lyric that is starting to sound repetitive as praise and worship settles down from hot trend to establishment. Tomlin just seems a bit too comfortable as Tomlin, so while there are definitely some nice songs here, there's nothing as compelling as, say, How Great Is Our God or Made to Worship. Granted, no one writes a blockbuster every time, but it would feel a bit better hearing less compelling Tomlin if we were in turn finding some adventure, as we do in his fellow Texan and Passion artist David Crowder.
Unfortunately, Hello Love, even with its standout tracks, sounds a bit too much like the complacency that ails contemporary praise and worship.