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Song Café: 20 New and Rising Worship Song
Times: 20 tracks/77:17 minutes
After I popped the six-song advance pre-release of New Song Café in my CD player, my first thought was, "This can't be!" I called my local Christian bookstore to borrow a copy of the full 20-track CD to ensure I was not doing an injustice to the label that has brought us some of the most exciting praise and worship music in contemporary history. My thought of "This can't be!" holds true after three months' of listening, hoping it would get better. It doesn't. Most performances from New Song Café, are unimaginative, sullen, bland, lackluster, dry, and unfortunately, just plain boring. There's nothing wrong with the songs in and of themselves. Imagine Robin Mark's "Take Us to the River," Delirious?'s "Everything," Matt Redman's "Better is One Day," or Paul Oakley's "I Will Never Be the Same" rendered in the same vein as the 1999 Heaven and Earth project (produced by John Hartley, who co-produces New Song Café along with Derald Daugherty). The listener who was disappointed with Heaven and Earth should stay away from this one, as well. There are two absolute gems here which save it from sheer boredom: this set's first track, "The Eyes of My Heart," and "How Good It Is" are so breathtakingly beautiful that they stand out like sore thumbs (but good sore thumbs, if there's such a concept). The best thing for worship leaders to do is to download these two songs' charts to use for worship. As for New Song Café as a whole, the listener will need plenty of caffeine to stay awake during its 77-minute duration.
Olin Jenkins September 29, 2002