Charlie Hall is not new to the music scene. In fact, this contemporary singer has been contributing to worship music for the past 20 years. Most notably, Charlie Hall made his debut with the Georgia bred Passion Band (who has sold a million units to date). From 1998 and on, he has been involved with the southern worship team including the likes of well-known solo artists Chris Tomlin and David Crowder. Not to be left out, Hall followed suit releasing four studio albums. His fifth project, The Rising is his most recent release. It is with this that one can't help but wonder, "Has Charlie Hall finally captured what his prestigious colleagues have already successfully done?"
The Rising opens up with the title track, an upbeat worship anthem. The lyrics, "Our clinched fists raise and slowly open to the God that saves, and heals the broken," unmistakably show Hall's heart for the rise of worshipers in this generation. "Let the Earth Awake" immediately follows. Sadly, it falls short of the energy set by its predecessor. Next up is "Ransom," a song about God ransoming the healing of his people. While "Ransom" has a great message, one cannot help but notice the similarities to the Newsboys' Step up to the Microphone days.
"King of Praise" continues with Hall's blueprint: strong lyrics plus a mediocre melody or, in other words, forgettable. However, the seventh track, "Lamp," stands out above the rest. A heartfelt cry about the power of God's word, Charlie ardently sings, "I don't put my hope in my wishes; I hang on your promises true. Your words like a sword searching all of my heart dividing the lies from your truth." While only three minutes long, "Lamp" is definitely a highlight of album.
At this point, if The Rising was a classic Passion record, the upbeat mood would have ended abruptly. Thankfully, Hall did not follow that prototype and included, "Yesterday is Gone" and "Make Me Alive." Even so, both songs fail to bring the oomph other worship acts like David Crowder Band or Hillsong United might. "Yesterday is Gone," is about letting go of the past. The song will fit nicely in the majority of CCM radio station's lineups. "Make Me Alive" is unique in the sense that is does not sound like any other song on the recording. But once again, Charlie Hall has the same effect on his voice as in all the previous songs and is far from anything noteworthy.
The album ends with a slightly disappointing closer. "Sleep and Dreams" is a soft, piano driven ballad about rest found in God. Although the melody is sweet, "Sleep and Dreams" is drawn out longer than necessary and goes nowhere for close to eight minutes. As a result, the listener can be left slightly bored with what could have been epic.
So has Charlie Hall penned a worship album that will go down in the history books as remarkable? The answer is probably not. While the album does have its good moments, they hardly make a lasting mark. In short, The Rising lacks dynamics. It is a straightforward journey where after hearing the first song you have already reached your destination. Charlie Hall is without question a sincere worshipper at heart. Nevertheless, it seems Hall's best works comes when working together with other artists and not by his lonesome.- Review date: 10/16/10, written by Benjamin Huffman of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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