Album Remarks & Appraisals:
This project highlights some of the best songs that were played during the Passion 2010 in Atlanta, GA., earlier this year. In fact, it was recorded LIVE during the Passion 2010 Conference. It's an amazing collection featuring 8 new songs from Chris Tomlin, The David Crowder Band, Charlie Hall, Matt Redman, Christy Nockels and Kristin Stanfill. In addition to the new releases, others contributed, including Hillsong United and Fee. One of the songs from this album, David Crowder's How He Loves Us, was so popular it made the Top 10 on Billboard's Hot Christian Songs Chart. The entire Passion Awakening album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Christian Albums Chart and at #15 on the Billboard Top 200.
"In 1997 in Sherman, Texas two guys named Louie Giglio and Jeff Lewis had a vision. That vision was to see a spiritual awakening take over the next generation through prayer and worship. They named this vision, Passion. Since then, the people behind the Passion Conferences have put on not just a life changing experience but have also produced some of the greatest catalysts of worship music today. Artists such as David Crowder, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Charlie Hall, Steve Fee, and the list goes on. With the latest offering from the Passion events we see glimpses of the vision inAwakening.
The album simply opens with a piano and worship leader Chris Tomlin on the title track "Awakening." As Tomlin sings, "In our hearts Lord, in this nation, Awakening. Holy Spirit, we desire Awakening," he sets the stage for the theme of the album. The song's lyrics and music aren't complex, the melody is simple, but the heart of this song is a deep calling on the Lord to wake us up. While some modern worship bands feel it is necessary to start an album off with a "pump-up" song, the Passion group goes against the grain and aims right for the heart of worship. However, this intimacy transitions quickly into the first fast track, "Say, Say," which sings of being loud about the saving grace of Jesus. The only problem with this song is that it feels abrupt and almost disrupts the intimacy created by the opener. Nevertheless, "Our God" returns to the softer sounds of worship proclaiming the greatness of God, which is something Tomlin regularly does in his worship songs. To say the least, you can expect this one to become a regular on the Sunday morning set list at your local church.
"How He Loves" marks the return of David Crowder to this Passion event. While this song was already featured on Crowder's Church Music, it's great to hear the rawness that a live recording produces. "Healing Is In Your Hands" continues the softer depths of worship. While it is a very heartfelt song, it's not a track that is easy to listen to. Nockels belts it out with a load of passion when it could have better been done with gentle vocals. "King of Heaven (Isaiah 61)" brings us back to the upbeat mood. While not a track that compels a mosh pit of worshipers, it's a great anthem that calls us to see the king of Heaven for who He is (Also, it's great when a song is evidently pulled from scripture).
Unfortunately, that upbeat atmosphere plateaus with "You Alone Can Rescue." Let me state that the song is not bad, it's just out of place. With the tempo feeling slower than the previous song, it feels like a bumpy roller coaster of worship rather than a flowing river. "Where The Spirit Of The Lord Is" goes back to the faster side of worship as Tomlin and Nockels sing a beautiful duet about the liberty that the Lord gives. It's another simple song with lyrics we've probably all heard before, however the way it is delivered is strong and actually creates a good atmosphere for worship whether corporate or personal. However, "Rise and Sing" follows a, quite honestly, very awkward intro. As Steve Fee, a newcomer to the Passion group, yells in a moment of unbridled excitement it kind of caught me off guard. But the song turned into a very enjoyable track proclaiming that the Church is meant to rise and sing of the glory of God. "Like a Lion" premieres a new song from Crowder, and honestly it's unlike a lot of what we've come to associate with the boys out of Waco, Texas. To say the least, it's original and fresh as Crowder sings, "Let love explode and bring the dead to life... our God's not dead, He's surely alive. He's living on the inside roaring like a Lion!"
Tomlin returns to the list with "Chosen Generation" and the title pretty much says it all. It's a straightforward song about how God has chosen his church to live steadfast for Him. And something new to the Passion Conference was the involvement of Hillsong Church out of Sydney, Australia with a song from one of their latest annual offerings, "With Everything" which was actually a pleasant surprise as the arrangement had been changed quite drastically and was a great way to conclude the album.
Truth be told, the Passion group has produced some of the greatest worship songs in the past decade. With Awakening, sadly, the album lacks flow. It feels like some tracks are out of place and disruptive. While not bad songs, they don't transition well which is extremely important in creating an atmosphere of worship. That being said, Awakening might not be their strongest compilation but it still holds true to the heart of the vision; a spiritual awakening. And as the hearts of the church are opening more and more to it... it will definitely be happening." -JesusFreakHideOut
"Passion Awakening was recorded live and captures some of the best moments from Passion 2010 that was held in Atlanta, GA. and was attended by over 22,000 university students. The Passion Conferences were founded by Louie Giglio and Jeff Lewis in 1997 in Austin, Texas and have become an annual spiritual gathering for young adults and are aimed specifically at college students.
The conferences are also referred to as the 268 Generation. That name is taken from the group's spiritual verse, Isaiah 26:8, "Yes Lord, walking in the way of Your truth we wait eagerly for You, for Your name and renown are the desire of our souls."
Passion- 'Awakening' features 12 songs from some of the most well-known Christian worship artist and bands including, Chris Tomlin, David Crowder Band, Matt Redman, Kristian Stanfill, Christy Nockels, Fee and Hillsong United.
Being a live style recording you really get a strong feel for the passionate worship that's found at these very appropriately named conferences, especially when the audience starts singing along with the music like found on several of the songs.
Things start off with the title track, "Awakening," by Chris Tomlin. This track is one of the more reverent sounding ones lead by its piano part and backing choir vocals.
Track-2, "Say, Say" performed by Kristian Stanfill picks up the pace with its electric guitar part and thick drum beats that drive its rock anthem like beats.
Highlight tracks for me included the lively worship song, "Where the Spirit of The Lord Is" by Chris Tomlin that also features vocals from Christy Nockels. The mixing of male and female vocals when done right really punches up a song and on this one does it right.
Another highlight track for me also happens to be the last one, "With Everything," from Hillsong United. When it comes to modern worship this is probably one of the best known groups out there and they don't disappoint with this 8:35 long song that's an all out love fest of worship & praise to God that also includes nice audience participation on it." -BreathCast
Audio Mixer: Shane Wilson.
Recording information: Philips Arena & George World Congress Center, Atlanta, (2010).
Photographers: Scott Wade; David Molnar; Mary Caroline Mann.
Each year, the Passion national college Christian music movement is a multi-day arena sellout and a springboard for Six Step Records' worship roster. Passion: Awakening was recorded live in January 2010 in Atlanta, GA in front of an audience of 22,000 university-goers. This 12th installment in the series is only slightly less magical than its predecessors because of its predictability, but it does capture particularly vulnerable and emotional moments from DCB, Chris Tomlin, and others. Eight of the 12 tracks are new material, more new material than many previous Passion installments. Kristian Stanfill's "Say, Say" and Charlie Hall's "King of Heaven" provide the toe-tapping, fist-pumping anthems we've come to expect, as does "Where the Spirit of the Lord Is," a rousing duet between Chris Tomlin and angelic-voiced Christy Nockels. ~ Jared Johnson