Chris Tomlin is without a doubt one of the biggest names in Christian music today. His involvement with the Passion ministry and his solo work is known throughout the world and the man appears to have a pure heart for worshipping our Creator -- and in helping to lead others into a sense of worship through music. These are Tomlin's greatest qualities. Unfortunately, his ministry of music comes with a litany of same sounding songs from both a musical and lyrical perspective. You truly feel like Tomlin is doing everything for the purest of reasons, but you tend to get bogged down with a pretty boring experience when listening. This dilemma is certainly the biggest drawback to listening to a Tomlin record. So, just how does his newest record, Never Lose Sight, fare up against that history?
Tomlin opens the album with his cover of "Good Good Father" (written by Pat Barrett and Tony Brown). While it's actually a song that is quite good, I'm worried that it will be another song like "Indescribable" (written by Jesse Reeves and Laura Story), which is widely accredited to Tomlin for writing. Tomlin has never once claimed credit for writing these songs, but it's sad to see his fame sometimes overshadow some really great songwriters. Perhaps the Tomlin/Barrett tag team for the Good Good Father children's book will help. Overall, it's a really nice cover, and it's followed by what is likely Tomlin's most unimaginative song to date -- by title at the very least. The song simply goes on to list names and traits for Jesus. It's pretty innocuous, but it's about as exciting as reading the genealogies in Genesis, or the book of Numbers. While the album can only go up from this point, it never really reaches for new heights. This is evidenced even more with "Come Thou Fount (I Will Sing)." The concept of transforming this classic hymn into a modern worship song was already accomplished by Thomas Miller and Gateway Worship back in 2005. It's the concept of recycling old ideas that gets me down about this album. At other times, vague lyrics that don't make a ton of sense are the problem. In "Yes and Amen" Tomlin sings, "Faithful You are. Faithful forever You will be. Faithful You are. All Your promises are yes and amen." I'm still struggling to determine exactly what "All your promises are yes and amen," actually means. It's very likely a reference to 2 Corinthians 1:20, but it's an extremely clunky reference that muddies the meaning of the scripture. These lyrics bring to mind "All My Fountains," from Passion: Here For You -- I still don't know exactly what that song is about, but it's likely another strange reference to scripture. The brightest spots on the album would have to be the Danny Gokey featured "Impossible Things" and "All Yours."
It truly breaks my heart to critique an album like this so harshly. Especially given my stance that Chris Tomlin is doing this with the absolute best and purest of intentions. Unfortunately, the album is just dreadfully boring repeats and, at times, doesn't even really make sense lyrically. As a worship leader, I appreciate what Tomlin does and understand the congregation is going to know and love the Chris Tomlin songs they hear on the radio. With most of his albums, there are a couple of shining stars I can pull out to inject into the worship service at church. Regrettably, there really isn't a song here I would add in my church's rotation -- aside from "Good Good Father" which was being played before Tomlin covered it. I still hold onto to hope to Tomlin will come out of left field one day with a completely unexpected album. It would be great to see him really swing for the fences with something new and out there, but until that time, we have Never Lose Sight. Lovers of all things Chris Tomlin with undoubtedly love the new album, but I would only recommend this one to the hardcore Tomlin followers. If you don't fit that mold, I would recommend Crowder's newest album, American Prodigal, instead.
- Review date: 10/18/16, written by Michael Weaver of Jesusfreakhideout.com