It's hard to watch the controversial film The Passion Of The Christ and not be affected in some way. Easily one of the most powerful movies a Christian can see, The Passion shook the world in the Spring of 2004. It's not a surprise that by the time it was released to home video in late Summer that a compilation of songs inspired by the film would be released at the same time. The Passion Of The Christ: Songs is an interesting mix of backgrounds and styles brought together for one single purpose: to reflect on how the movie has affected them.
The Passion Of The Christ: Songs can be first and foremost be described as a musically diverse project - something that serves as a double-edged sword for the project. On one hand, this album has something for everyone, while on the other hand, the record - as a whole - may be for very few, if anyone. This stylistically schizophrenic collection is even more diverse and varied than the WOW compilations that are so popular in Christian music. But does that immediately render this project worthless? I'd like to think not, but let's dig a little deeper...
An impressive three Christian pop and rock heavyweights join forces for the opening track "I See Love." The song kicks off with Bart Millard of MercyMe providing vocals with Third Day's classic southern-flavored rock sound serving as a backdrop. Millard's polished vocals provide a strict adult contemporary feel but are shown up by Mac Powell (Third Day) for the chorus and the seasoned Steven Curtis Chapman for the following verse. The song is a highlight on the record if not a somewhat odd triple-threat team up to begin with. To keep things interesting, former Creed frontman Scott Stapp, who recently proclaimed his Christianity publicly, offers "Relearn Love," a song lyrically about seeking Jesus while musically falling not too far from his previous venture's tree. P.O.D.'s "Truly Amazing" is a highlight, offering their brand of melodic modern rock, but the album takes an abrupt and awkward turn as it follows them up with Brad Paisley & Sara Evans's country recording "New Again." Another one-eighty brings Big Dismal's decent pop/rock "Rainy Day" before Lauryn Hill's R&B "The Passion." Kirk Franklin (featuring Yolanda Adams) is a suitable follow-up to Hill with "How Many Lashes," a song that gets off to a somewhat corny start but finishes as probably the most lyrically challenging song on the project. Another hard turn produces the surprise match-up of MxPx with Blink 182's Mark Hoppus for "The Empire." The rock track is somewhat lyrically shy than what one might come to expect from the artists while Charlotte Church's beautifully composed "Finding My Own Way" expresses her process of soul searching. Bebe Winans & Angie Stone offer the nice "Miracle Of Love" which prefaces the lyrically ambiguous and somewhat misplaced "To Give Love" from Dan Lavery. The project closes with a repeat contributer with Big Dismal's "Reason I Live."
A mixed bag of different styles and different spiritual backgrounds muddles the overall outcome of what could have been one of the most powerful and most spiritually charged compilation of songs ever. But don't get me wrong, this diverse collection has it's strong moments from start to finish, but I just can't shake the feeling that it could of been better and stronger... and should have been.- Review date: 9/7/04, written by John DiBiase
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