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  Integrity’s iWorship: A Total Worship Experience
Artist: Various
Label: Epic
Length: 3 cds

Generally critical of compilations, I cannot say that Integrity’s iWorship is as great as it is advertised to be.  While it does offer many wonderful worship songs, several of these are not the original versions we know and love (I Can Only Imagine, Heart of Worship, Lord I Lift Your Name On High, etc) and usually end up being weaker interpretations of strong compositions.  This would be my biggest complaint however, as I must admit this 3-disc set is overall, pretty enjoyable.  Many familiar songs that you might not even realize that you already knew (Friend of God) make this a nice package of songs. 

The third cd in the package is labeled as being for kids but I found this quite enjoyable myself.  Well known praise and worship performed by children themselves.  You can’t help but smile listening to the sweet innocent child singing “Shout to the Lord”.  Too cute.

Overall, I have to say that while I enjoyed the majority of this package (aside from the cover versions), I always have to question the agenda of compilations themselves.  Being that there are so many of these worship albums out there, I can’t help but feel that this is another cash-in on a popular genre.  I wish this didn’t affect my opinion, but it does.  More of an advertising tool than a sincere worship experience, Integrity’s iWorship will please many, but it falls short of being what it claims to be: a total worship experience.

Levi Stofer 10/12/2004

Intregrity’s Next is a three disc praise and worship compilation consisting of three parts: Now, Next, and Kids.  Purportedly, the “Now” disc is comprised of songs currently popular in corporate worship setting and in radio play.  “Famous One” by Sonicflood, and “Agnus Dei” (Michael W. Smith) certainly live up to that billing.  “Here I Am To Worship” by Eoghan Heaslip also falls into that category.  On the other hand, did we really need another recording of “Shout to the Lord’ (Darlene Zschech) or “I Love You Lord” (Jason Morant)?  Or “Lord I Lift Your Name on High,” a song Petra did over ten years ago on their praise album?  How is it that songs congregations have embraced and already discarded are considered “Now”?

The “New” disc is just that.  Darrell Evans, MercyMe, Todd Agnew, Paul Baloche, and Phillips, Craig & Dean are the most recognizable names here.  “Blessed Be Your Name”, performed by Robin Mark, will become one of those songs you can’t get away from in a few months.  “Thank You Lord” (Don Moen) is another standout.

My five year old daughter loves the “Kids” CD.  It consists of fifteen modern worship choruses, and it sung mostly by kids, which does little for the quality of the vocals.  Favorites such as “Let the Praises Ring,” “Trading My Sorrows,” and “Forever” will be easily identifiable to adults as well. 

Clocking in at just over three and a half hours, Next is ideal for a road trip with kids, if you are the type the listen to praise music in your car.  If not, I recommend breaking this up into smaller doses, as the music can become repetitious at best, and possibly head toward the category of “vain repetition”, when the mind is not engaged on the subject of these songs.

Brian A. Smith
17 October 2004

Does the world really need another collection of run-of-the-mill, “done heard that” worship music?  Apparently Integrity thought it’d be a good idea to give the consumer another dose of worship music in its continuing iWorship series.

What’s offered here is just a confusing mess.  The set starts out with the “Now” disc, offering already popular tracks by artists such as Michael W. Smith, Sonicflood, and Phillips, Craig and Dean.  The black eye of this disc is the fact that a good majority of the songs are covers, save Michael W. Smith’s “Angus Dei,” Brian Doerksen’s “Refiner’s Fire,” and Darlene Zschech’s “Shout to the Lord,” all of which I wouldn’t really consider to be the biggest songs of today.  The reason that most of these songs aren’t by the original artist is most likely caused by label restrictions.  Integrity just isn’t able to offer the artists that will catch a listener eye and ear.  Regardless, this disc is still problematic because of its song selection. 

 The “new” disc has problems of its own.  While most of these songs are unknown and new to the average listener, they offer nothing that’s groundbreaking in the means of originality or content.  It’s just a copy of the first disc, reworked into new song titles and new artists.  This disc is even more boring than the first due to the fact unknown nature of the music.

If you’re a worship music fan that can’t seem to get enough of the same thing, over and over, then pick this up.  If you strive for originality in your worship music, go for something offered by the Passion series.  At least their artists write their own music.

Zach Delph  11/3/2004
www.zeejaydeedesign.com


 
 
 
 
 

 

   
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