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Artist: Brenton Brown
Label: Kingsway/EMI
Times: 11 tracks / 46:30 minutes

I have enjoyed Brenton Brown's ability to compose excellent praise and worship songs ("Your Love is Amazing," "Hallelujah" ["Your Love is Amazing"]) and beautifully lead praise and worship settings since the days of Vineyard's Winds of Worship series. It would have been good enough for Brown to continue in this vein as a solo artist; however, he's not only dusted off some of his best-known songs, he's progressed nicely and surprisingly with a very strong, smooth-flowing project.

Brown has firmly established his own artistic style. Throw in a tad of the following: Caedmon's Call, deliriou5?, Passion worship (and associated artists), Vineyard (of course) and straight-ahead pop/rock. Blending it all together, that's an attempt to define Brown's fresh sound.

Of songs we've heard, this particular rendition of "Holy" is definitely my favorite, as I've heard it (even by Brown) as too slow or too frenetically fast; the pace is perfect here! Its arrangement is also quite neat, as the texture of guitars and rhythm mix with Brown's voice nicely. "Our God Saves" and "Wonderful" are fine arrangements, as well.

A standout, perhaps frontispiece, of Adoration, is "1000 Stars," a first person-second person worship song that isn't friendly for group worship, but it is a lyrically keen straight shot from the singer to God: "I am on your shoulders / the stars don't seem so far at all / With you it seems I could be someone..." who can achieve his dreams. And actually, these lyrics take me back to Psalm 8, as God has given mankind a place just a little lower than the angels. This song is my favorite from Adoration.

Once again, Brown's compositions have always been excellent and often including intricate introspection (and never with boring repetition). Chances are that with the songs for which we're familiar, as well as the new ones, we'll hear phrases and themes we've heard in Bible study. That fact alone makes for excellent praise and worship songs.

Adoration, though, is just this close to being the perfect recording. "Amazing God" and "Come, Let Us Return," for example, are just short of spectacular. I sorely miss backing vocalists that would have been the icing on the cake to make me absolutely sing along with these songs (they're present on the title track and "Wonderful"). The listener will most likely sing along, nevertheless; however, I'd like to have had that ingredient that would have fully completed Adoration. It's more than worth the time for the listener to make that judgment, as Adoration is pleasing from start to finish.

Olin Jenkins  


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