Freedom is a special two-disc (plus one DVD) compilation project, available exclusively from Family Christian Stores. The funds gained from the sales of this album support International Justice Mission in fighting modern-day slavery. The project is for a good cause, but in itself is a worthwhile collection of music. At least half of the songs are completely new, never before released tracks, while others are new versions of well-known songs.
All of the songs on Freedom are influenced with the themes of slavery and redemption. Some are just encouraging, and others are a call to love. Some highlights include three acoustic tracks: "Hold On" by TobyMac, "Home" by Natalie Grant, and "Safe" by Phil Wickham. Also, there are brand new songs from several artists like Tenth Avenue North, Brandon Heath, Relient K, Sanctus Real and Jars of Clay. Not all 26 tracks are going to be easily recognizable, though. Two of the artists featured on the project, the Green River Ordinance and Washington Projects (formerly SoulJahz), are more mainstream artists who happen to have a passion for fighting slavery. Lesser known names also include Ten Shekel Shirt, Gabriella DiPace, and Over the Rhine. Not to say that the songs from these artists are not good as well, but it is always refreshing to hear some new material from the more widely-known artists on a compilation album.
In general, the songs are soft, sometimes acoustic, tracks that are very reflective and moving. The songs on Freedom are all about the meanings behind the songs and lyrical content; "Turn Down the Music," from Shane and Shane's latest album, is all about hearing God and loving with the love He speaks: "If You were hungry / Would we give You food? / If You were thirsty / Would we give You drink? / If You were a stranger / Would we let You in?" While the lyrics and themes are probably the most important point on this project, that is not to say there are not catchy tunes and melodies to find here as well. "All I Have," "Justus" and the acoustic "Safe" all have very creative sounds and can get stuck in your head in a good way. At the same time, though, there are some songs that leave something to be desired, either because of a lack of musical inventiveness, or from just being too simple.
With two discs, plus a bonus DVD about International Justice Mission, this project has quite the roster of music. Not only is it to support a good cause, but the songs are good and enjoyable to listen to more than once. So, then, if you're looking for fresh new music, and are willing to sit through a few less than interesting tracks, then try out this album. Even if it's just to hear some extra tracks from artists like Relient K or Jars of Clay, Freedom: Artists United For International Justice Mission has enough music to be worthwhile.
Review date: 6/4/11, written by Ben Coakley for Jesusfreakhideout.com