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X Worship
Artist: Various
Label: Worship Together
Time: 15 songs/1.1 hours

Ever since I can remember, I have never been able to walk through the CD aisles of a Christian bookstore without noticing the specific section labeled “Praise and Worship.”  Years ago, I noticed a lot of Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant on the shelves; now I walk by and see artists like Shane and Shane or Chris Tomlin.  Though each of these artists are talented and bring a lot to the market, I’ve never been able to understand what qualifications an artist must have to be in the “Worship” section of the store.  It appears as though “Worship” has become a genre of light guitars and pretty vocals, not just an attitude of reverence to God.  

So what about the Christian rockers out there? Alternative Christian rock may be unconventional in sound and lyric, but despite others' beliefs, it still can be an act of worship, and X Worship does an great job of incorporating enough variety in sound to give listeners a satisfying taste of the possibilities of worship through rock.  What makes X Worship a noteworthy compilation is that it hits all ends of the Christian rock spectrum: new (“Do Not Move” by David Crowder) and old (“I Am Understood” by Relient K); Christian market (Delerious?) and mainstream (Switchfoot); newer artists (Dizmas) and established artists (Sanctus Real).  Other artists include Jeremy Camp, Kutless, Showbread, Telecast, and Thousand Foot Krutch.  Even Reese Roper, lead singer of the former Five Iron Frenzy, even makes an appearance as featured vocals in Showbread's song, "Mattias Replaces Judas."

Overall, the CD is fairly mellow and steers clear of the harder-hitting, rock driven music, which surprises me because there is a lot of good, aggressive worship music available now.  The closest thing X Worship gets to harder rock is a song by Underoath; yet, even the song itself is mellow compared to the rest of Underoath's music.  I guess my question is why didn’t they just add a couple more songs and call this album WOW 2005 or X 2005 because I don’t see a strong enough difference between X Worship and these other collections.  

I would have also liked to see artists creating new worship songs in their own styles specifically for the X Worship project, rather than just creating a compilation of already-recorded songs.  The only brand new song that is not yet available on another album is “When All We Have is Taken” by Edison Glass, and if _X Worship_ could have included even a few more originals recorded specifically for the project, the quality and admiration of the album would increase greatly.

Also, I don’t quite understand why they included songs that are a couple years old when artists are constantly putting out new material that is just as good, if not better.  For example, the CD opens with “My Glorious” off of Delirious?’s 2000 album Glo – why they didn’t begin the record with a stronger, newer song that’s not five years old, I don’t know. Or take the songs “Spirit” by Switchfoot and “I am Understood?” by Relient K.  Both artists have grown tremendously in their song-writing and musical capabilities – why not include some newer material?  Another thing that bothers me is that even though the album generously gives exposure to newer artists such as Dizmas, Telecast and Edison Glass, it completely overlooks established artists who have already done great things for the Christian music market, such as Pillar, Project 86, Blindside, and Falling Up just to name a few.  

There’s no cookie-cutter formula to making a song a “worship” song.  Worship implies an attitude of reverence and submitting oneself to God, which is exactly what each of the artists on X Worship embrace and represent on this album.  The creators of X Worship are headed in the right direction, and even though it did not reach it’s potential for being an incredible album,  it is still a strong piece worth checking out. 

Sarah Verno 11/21/2005



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