Joy-Driven, Hope-Centered, God-Infused
By Cory Kruse
With each new Chris Tomlin release, you know to a degree what you're getting: stirring, smartly-written worship anthems and intimate, heart-sundering Psalms. His blend of acoustic/pop is at once easy on the ears and purifying to the soul. His creativity and talent are readily apparent; at times subtle, and at others bombastic, his genius and skill always make themselves know. Tomlin has always had an aptitude for penning catchy melodies and beautiful, God-centered lyrics. All share a singular focus: glorifying Jesus and leading others to Him. Never Lose Sight, Tomlin's eleventh studio outing, is no different. Commencing in a huge way with the destined-to-be-hymnalized "Good Good Father," and the current radio single "Jesus," the album proceeds with a joyful urgency and an ethereal vigor—as if heaven itself is converging with earth. The former tune, a resounding declaration of God's character and love and the Church's identity within His saving arms, is a cover of Housefires' original. While the original is a profound and utterly moving examination of God as father—a gracious and loving dad or papa who sees and knows and moves; draws near; calling each of us as His own—Tomlin's rendition adds its own flair and life, the additional production coalescing with his angelic voice to foster a truly spiritual and divine experience. The latter, "Jesus," is a piano-driven exclamation of the Savior's love and providence; hope radiates in every lyric ("Who stands in the fire beside me. He roars like a lion. He bled as the lamb. He carries my healing in His hands") and listeners cannot hear the song without feeling as if Jesus is speaking directly to them, meeting the listener in whatever his or her situation might be. The album doesn't let up from there; what comes next is a string of worship odes and anthemic, praise-driven songs that feel somehow both eternal and intimately immediate, as if they were written just for us and this day and age; as if they were songs the very choirs of angels sing, a current of divine, golden music leading directly to the Father in heaven. They're Psalms that speak to the human experience and offer comfort and worship and infusions of joy; they're golden-glossed vantages presenting an awe-inspiring glimpse of what's to come. Throughout, the album keeps a consistent pace and flow, undulating naturally between ballads and upper-tempo affairs throughout. Tomlin is aided by several guest collaborators, whose voices provide a refreshing change-up and elegantly supplement Tomlin's own. Another hymn ("Come Thou Fount") is given new life and adroitly so (Tomlin seems to have a genuine knack for eliciting new, refreshing choruses for hallowed classics; see "Amazing Grace" and "Crown Him" from previous albums). The final cut of the standard album, "First Love," concludes the proceedings on a celestial, heavenly note that again brings the focus back onto God—the perfect ending.
With this latest release, Chris Tomlin has not lost sight of his calling, nor of his creative and artistic potential. Here he is better than ever; his musicianship and talent are on ready display. Here his heart of worship and joy radiates through every song, and he offers a lasting collection of gorgeously-crafted hymns that the whole world ought to sing. Here his God-anointed purpose continues, and it has never been more meaningful, more transcendent.