Pioneering worship leader Paul Baloche, best known for penning "Above All," "Open the Eyes of My Heart" and "Our God Saves," is releasing his brand new record this week, titled Your Mercy. Coming off the heels of his acclaimed live album, Your Mercy finds the singer/songwriter embracing a warm, acoustic-based aesthetic similar to what artists such as All Sons and Daughters have made popular. Although it's tempting to throw "cliche" and "unoriginal" as descriptors here, Baloche utilizes this sound effectively towards the goal to create music that recalls the joy of congregational worship.
From the beginning, the album makes its intention clear with the singable "Psalm 92 (It Is Good)." Opening with a vintage piano melody, steady percussion, and Baloche's warm vocals, the song brings the listener as close to a real church gathering as any audio experience can achieve. "Once For All" sounds more at home in a modern setting than the prior but is an excellent song nonetheless. Celebrating Christ's crucifixion and redemption is a major theme here and "Once For All" portrays this victory elegantly with lyrics such as "Nailed to a cross / there in our place / oh Lamb of God You made a way / Once for all You died so I could live again / Once for all you washed away our sin." "I Will Worship," "We Come To You Jesus," and "To The Cross I Come" (featuring Jennifer Holm and All Sons and Daughters respectively), are similar highlights that are executed beautifully.
It is to be noted, however unfortunate it may be, that the album falters in multiple places. "Found In You" is mostly forgettable and it lacks the ear-catching melody it's trying to go for. Likewise, "Peace On Earth" is only serviceable as a closer. Another drawback that may be mentioned is that the lack of musical variety throughout prevents a lot of songs from standing out. Even the ones previously mentioned don't deviate themselves from the norm all that much. Although, this is forgivable due to just how well these songs work.
Baloche's long-lasting relevance in the worship industry is truly something to be commended. Since releasing his debut under Integrity's Hosanna collection back in 1992, Baloche has produced nothing but quality music. Your Mercy is yet another solid addition to the worshipper's collection.
- Review date: 10/6/16, written by Lucas Munachen of Jesusfreakhideout.com