Passion has been releasing an annual album since 1998 (with the exception of 2001 and 2009). The group that made Chris Tomlin, David Crowder, Matt Redman, and Charlie Hall household names returns with their 2012 installment entitled White Flag. The concept behind the album title is raising your white flag to surrender to Jesus. Long time member Christy Nockels along with relative newcomer, Kristian Stanfill (since 2006) are also back on board for this newest release.
In order to rate this fairly I had to look at the two sides of the album; the first being the music with the second half being the worship experience from the live recording. The album excels in one area and lacks in the other. The Kristian Stanfill lead "Not Ashamed" kicks the album off with a bang. The fast-paced, electric guitar and distortion-filled anthem gets things rocking in a hurry declaring, "I'm not ashamed of the one that saved my soul, my soul. This fire inside of me is burning for Your name. I'm not ashamed!" The sad part is that the album never touches that energy or pace again musically. In fact, the album almost never even picks up pace again. "Lay Me Down," "Yahweh," "The Only One" and the deluxe edition bonus track "Let Me Feel You Shine" are the only songs that really pick the speed up at all out of 17 total tracks.
Like most worship albums, the music is boring. It seems that the most creativity that goes into the music is going away from the overly common keys of E or G and switching to A or D. It's no surprise, but the most diverse offerings come from David Crowder*Band. Another deterring factor for White Flag is the length and repetition of the songs. I understand this was a live worship event, but it is simply not for popping in your car and cruising. The constant repetition of one sentence and an average track time around five minutes just do not work for your average, practical listen. The fact that Passion has not come up with a more diverse musical product after all these years is a major disappointment.
However, as for the worship: It's amazing. I have always wanted to go to a Passion conference, but have never had the opportunity. I truly believe the individuals in this group have a wonderful heart for God, worshipping Him, and leading others to Him. I believe this passion (pun most definitely intended) is evident on this record. Although many people have jumped on the "worship music" bandwagon to cash in, I remain confident that Passion is not in it for fame, fortune, or Grammy Awards. As always, they go for the simple, but powerful approach with their lyrics. There isn't anything profound here lyrically, but it is all pure and heartfelt praises to God.
If you have a time or place to sit alone and spend some time singing praises to a loving Creator, this album is amazing. To close your eyes and sing along with some of these remarkably powerful lyrics, with no other thoughts or distractions, will take you to a true place of worship. Passion has always excelled in this area and they continue to do so, even after 14 years.
Some of the standout tracks are "Not Ashamed," "White Flag," "Jesus Son of God," "All This Glory" and "Let Me Feel You Shine." As good as the worship may be, the musical creativity and diversity is equally as weak. Taking all of these things into consideration and viewing White Flag from two different angles seemed to be the fairest way to proceed. While Better is One Day and Sacred Revolution are my favorite Passion albums, White Flag is a solid addition to their extensive catalogue. This is worth picking up for any Passion or worship music fan.- Review date: 2/23/12, written by Michael Weaver of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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