Monday, April 2, 2012

Steven Curtis Chapman: #1 Review


No other CCM artist has won more awards that the clearly talented Steven Curtis Chapman. Not only has he set the record for seven GMA “Artist of the Year” Dove Awards, he has already won 56 total Dove Awards and five GRAMMY Awards. Add that to Steven’s twenty albums, most of them best selling, and you have a perfect candidate for a greatest hits album. Sparrow Records is celebrating this seasoned singer-songwriter with another #1 collection from Steven Curtis Chapman. But this time, Sparrow focuses on his earlier years from 1989-2001 with a couple newer tracks added to the 13-track collection. It was these years when Steven’s albums Declaration, Speechless, Signs of Life, and More to this Life featured hit after hit, handing Steven the reins of Contemporary Christian music.

The 1996 hit “Lord of the Dance” kicks off the #1 album very well, immediately providing a treat to the ears of all long-time Steven Curtis Chapman fans. The energetic acoustic track with a country twist is definitely one Steven Curtis Chapman’s best tracks, still! Everyone remembers “Dive” from Speechless, which released in 1999, about jumping in to God’s presence. That follows nicely, with a more modern touch. The beautiful “More to This Life” (from 1989 – can you believe it?) and the country-flavored “The Great Adventure” both follow perfectly. Truly, Sparrow Records chose the best of the best for this collection – tracks that have made their way into music videos, covers by other artists, and constant airplay on Christian radio.

The slower section of the album follows, beginning with “Speechless,” the title track off the very first Steven Curtis Chapman album I ever owned. The wedding song “I Will Be Here,” nice with strong strings and beautiful acoustic guitar, “Go There With You,” a mellower track from 1992, and “God is God” from his Declaration album in 2001 follow, representing Steven Curtis Chapman’s slower hits.

“Fingerprints of God,” an acoustic pop track reminding the listener that we are created in God’s image, and the slower string track “Be Still and Know” follow from Speechless, as well. I wasn’t aware that “Be Still and Know” was one of Steven’s hits, but it definitely is an encouraging and beautiful track. “Magnificent Obession,” a beautiful but powerful track from Declaration, and “All Things New,” a newer track from 2004 close the album.

But what would a Steven Curtis Chapman collection be without “Cinderella”? This bonus track closes the #1 hits album with a modern twist to it.

All in all, Sparrow Records put together a fantastic #1 collection for Steven Curtis Chapman fans to enjoy. If there’s anyone who deserves a collection, it’s Steven. There a few lesser tracks on this album, in my opinion, as I would have expected to see “Heaven Is the Face” and “Live Out Loud” make it to this “early years” collection, but tracks like “Lord of the Dance,” “I Will Be Here,” “Fingerprints of God” and others on this collection will go down as some of the greatest moments in all of CCM history. I will definitely be looking forward to volume #2 of Steven’s greatest hits collections.

Rating: 4/5
Release date: April 3, 2012

Track listing:
1. Lord of the Dance
2. Dive
3. More to the Life
4. The Great Adventure
5. Speechless
6. I Will Be Here
7. Go There With You
8. God is God
9. Fingerprints of God
10. Be Still and Know
11. Magnificent Obsession
12. All Things New
13. (Bonus) Cinderella

Tomorrow at 8 PM EST, Steven Curtis Chapman will be playing an online concert at Klove.com. Check it out here, and don't miss it!

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