NewSong “Swallow The Ocean” Album Review

Newsong has been a staple in the Christian Music
industry dating back to 1980, and along the way they
have seen no end of success, from being the founders
of the Winter Jam Festival even to the extent of
achieving a number one mainstream hit in the
holiday classic “The Christmas Shoes.” Enter Swallow
the Ocean, the 18th album studio release in the bands
history. Now, the debate between the respective
importance of ministry and artistry probably dates
back to before Alexander the Great, so I doubt there
is anything more that I can add to it that hasn’t
already been said. Anyone who is familiar with
Newsong knows that anything they give us is going to
be made with pure hearts and pure intentions, and
their message is going to be 100% fully Christ-
centered. For that, I applaud them and can fully
recommend them to those seeking an album with
those qualities. But 11 AC radio singles on one
compact disc that are designed to meet the lowest
common denominator for listenership does not great
art make.
In all honesty, the first impression that this album
gives is actually quite positive, and many might think
they will be pleasantly surprised. First of all, Swallow
the Ocean is a great title. The imagery there is great,
as is the concept behind it. Newsong’s multi-
instrumentalist Matt Butler said, “If we were to fill
the entire ocean with ink, and if we were to take pens
and try to write the love of God across the sky, we
would drain the entire ocean dry and still not even
come close to touching the surface of God’s greatness
and the bigness of His love.” Somewhere in this
concept, there is a really good album. Was this to be a
precursor to an original and praiseworthy new
project? Well, the opening song, “All I Need,” doesn’t
really raise those hopes, but it certainly doesn’t make
them crash and burn (was there actually some crunch
in that guitar in the hook?) Even “Choose to Love”
doesn’t dash all hope thanks to another catchy hook
and some more impressive made-for-radio
production. But by the time the title-track comes
around (that is, the track that theoretically realizes
the vision of the quote above), then all hope of an
original project is pretty much gone. In the end, this
album is exactly what could have been expected from
Newsong: approximately a dozen uplifting, made-for-
radio songs with straightforward and clichéd lyrics
heard on dozens of other worship releases set to
impressive production of unimpressive music mixed
with some catchy hooks.
God knows no one can fault Newsong for intentions.
In a way, they are merely doing exactly what they
need to do to reach the greatest number of people.
How can one possibly criticize that? But the ultimate
result from a musical standpoint is nothing less than
repetitive and tiresome. In a way, it is kind of ironic
(and, quite frankly, a little insulting) that the concept
behind the album is that even the ocean cannot
contain enough ink to write everything about God,
but the actual writing on this album is nothing that
hasn’t been written before. But the thing that is the
most bothersome is that Newsong is absolutely
capable of making truly great music. They have
enough budget, they have talented producers, they
have many talented instrumentalists, and I’m sure
someone in this 7-person group is a truly talented
songwriter. I dearly hope they realize that they have
made enough of the “same old same old,” and it is
time to move onto something new. It may involve
them stepping out of their comfort zone a little, but I
also know that God does not call us to live in our own
comfortable little world either. So please Newsong,
create for us a new song. I eagerly long to hear it!

Record Label: HHM Records
Album length: 11 tracks: 43 minutes, 49 seconds
Street Date: February 26, 2013
Buy It: AmazonMP3 (Deluxe Edition)
Buy It: AmazonMP3
Buy It: Amazon.com
1. All We Need (4:03)
2. Choose To Love (4:10)
3. Swallow The Ocean (Coming Alive)(3:45)
4. Never Be Another (3:31)
5. In Jesus’ Name (3:31)
6. Who Loved You First (3:52)
7. Every Victory (4:17)
8. Our Reward (4:01)
9. As It Is In Heaven (3:21)
10. Could It Be (4:28)
11. In Christ Alone (4:55)
Deluxe Edition Bonus Tracks:
12. Creator (3:52)
13. Only Children (3:42)
14. Furious (3:55)

I Am TholhuGospel

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