Recording information: Berwick Lane, Atlanta, GA; White Cabin Studios.
Photographer: Lee Steffen .
Matt Redman is one of the most recognizable names in Christian worship music. The British songwriter has, over the last decade and a half, helped to redefine the reach of contemporary Christian "church music" by making it fresh, relevant, and inspiring -- even to those who do not believe in his God. Redman not only understands the tenets of modern rock and pop music in terms of melody, dynamics, and production, he weds these to insightful lyrics that eschew trite clichés yet underscore unwavering faith. His best songs become veritable anthems that have been embraced across the globe. Sing Like Never Before collects 15 songs from his catalog, and provides evidence. A shining example of what is found here is "Blessed Be Your Name," the CCM Top 50 stadium rocker that affirms faith even in periods of personal suffering. Other Redman hits include the title track; the synth- and string-drenched update of "Better Is One Day"; the fuzzed-out bass funk of "Dancing Generation"; and the poignant "Twenty Seven Million" (co-written and performed with rappers LZ7), which uses the life of an abducted Eastern European forced to serve as a sex slave in order to draw attention to the plight of the millions in the same situation. While it's a fact that Sing Like Never Before is for fans and church groups seeking to distill the best of the best -- and there will be arguments as to whether or not this collection actually accomplishes that -- it also serves as an excellent introduction to what Redman does so well. ~ Thom Jurek