Friday, March 9, 2012

Paul Baloche: The Same Love Review

For more than 20 years, Paul Baloche has been recording relevant worship projects through Integrity Records, in addition to leading worship at his church in Lindale, Texas, and recording worship DVDs to teach and instruct other worship leaders. Baloche’s twelfth studio album The Same Love is another heartfelt 13-track album that contemplates that the God of the entire universe is calling us deeper into a relationship with Him. In addition, the album features collaborations with other worship artists who lend their vocals on this album, making for an enriched listen.

Strings and a light drumbeat set the stage for The Same Love, the title track opening the album with an absolutely powerful chorus of deep thought: “The same love that set the captives free/ the same love that opened eyes to see is calling us all by name/ You are calling us all by name.” The track builds as it goes along, making for a nice radio single. Hillsong’s Ben Fielding appears on “We Are Free,” which follows, sounding much like a MercyMe radio single, a simple declaration of how God wiped away our sins and we are made completely free – a very celebratory track.

“King of Heaven” takes on a slight country twist, and is very enjoyable especially for the guest appearances of All Sons & Daughters, whose album Season One releases on the same day as The Same Love. Paul Baloche’s cover of “Nothing But the Blood” follows, but Paul adds a nice chorus to it, and re-titled it “All Because of the Cross.” Considering the theme of the album, it fits perfectly in its place.

The serene piano-only track “Your Blood Ran Down” contemplates the beautiful love of Jesus, while “My Hope” is more on the upbeat contemporary scale. Featuring Kathryn Scott, the message that Jesus Christ is our hope even when all else fails is certainly encouraging, especially the pre-chorus, “I don’t know where You’ll take me, but I know You’re always good.”

“Oh Our Lord,” a descriptive twist on Psalm 8, again features David and Leslie from All Sons & Daughters. The tri-harmony is simply stunning! Paul Baloche also covers “Christ the Lord Has Risen Today” in a very upbeat fashion with a country twist to it. I was actually surprised by how nice his version was, considering that Aaron Shust also covered the hymn on his new single “Risen Today” that released to radio earlier this month. Either way, Paul’s version, though edited slightly, follows the melody of the original, a very jubilant track.

“Reign In Me” features Jason Ingram, as it is a heart-gripping psalm, choosing to praise God even through the times when we are very weak and vulnerable. The bridge, featuring choiral effects is very strong in and of itself: “Forever I will say ‘You are good, and Your promises will never fade away, never fade away/ You’re pouring out your strength and Your joy is everlasting/ I will never be the same.’” Brothers McClurg appear on “Just Say,” a mellow track composed mostly of violins. Based on the leper in Matthew 8, it is a prayer that God would just say the words, and knowing that we will be made whole because of it.

Of the final three tracks off The Same Love, “Loved By You,” and “Shout For Joy” were originally recorded by Lincoln Brewster on his worship album Real Life. Personally, I probably enjoyed Lincoln’s versions better, but already knowing the tracks, it was certainly enjoyable hearing them from this well-known worship leader. The heavenly “Look Upon the Lord” appears in between, featuring Kari Jobe, and very well could be the soundtrack of heaven for its timeless praises to Jesus. However, the album does close on an upbeat note with “Shout For Joy,” and Baloche’s version is very good.

Paul Baloche does a fantastic job of transferring Scripture into a worship anthem! The Same Love offers 13 thought-provoking and worshipful tracks that contemplate the sacrifice of love that God shed for us, and the sacrifice of praise that we as Christians can offer back to Him in Thanksgiving. No doubt the guest appearances in most of the tracks enhance the worshipful experience!

Rating: 3.5/5
Release Date: March 13, 2012

Track listing:
1. The Same Love
2. We are Saved
3. King of Heaven
4. All Because of the Cross
5. Your Blood Ran Down
6. My Hope
7. Oh Our Lord
8. Christ the Lord
9. Reign In Me
10. Just Say
11. Loved By You
12. Look Upon the Lord
13. Shout for Joy

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