Chris Tomlin

Sparrow Records, 2004

REVIEW BY: Daniel Camp


In the category of made-for-church contemporary Christian music, no name comes anywhere close to meaning as much as Chris Tomlin’s. Behind songs like “Be Glorified” and “We Fall Down,” the man has cemented a reputation for himself as America’s worship leader for the modern generation -- and Arriving is his best album yet.

Behind biblically based lyrics and simple, beautiful melodies, as well as the intangible Tomlin touch that made songs like “Forever” so irresistible, Arriving was truly his final validation as a musician to those who steadfastly insisted that he would eventually run out of things to say. The beauty of Tomlin’s music, however, is that his message my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 is essentially the same in every song, but the presentation is always different, and always earnestly sincere.

“How Great Is Our God,” easily the biggest hit off the album and perhaps Tomlin’s most famous song, has essentially the same message as “Famous One,” a previous smash hit recording the glory of God. Yet behind gorgeous instrumentation and smooth, heartfelt vocals, it all feels new.

“Holy Is The Lord” is another instant classic, made for a congregation lifting their hands in praise. Simple, warm, and inviting, Tomlin is given a chance to soar vocally on the bridge, and nails the opportunity. “King Of Glory,” a song fit toward the end of the album, carries a similar melody and message, yet manages to maintain its own identity. Through some indefinable stroke, songs with the same themes and musical patterns are never mistaken for each other.

The best song, lyrically and musically, is the Laura Story-penned “Indescribable,” a beautiful piece about the majesty of the Lord, with verse lyrics taken straight from scripture. Although all of the previously mentioned songs are ones I have sung in my church, this is the one that engenders the greatest response from the congregation and helps me worship best. Something about putting the Bible to music carries with it a unique kind of beauty.

The best slow song on the album is an underrated acoustic masterpiece, “Mighty Is The Power Of The Cross,” in which Tomlin shares the vocals and is accompanied simply by one guitar and a cello. Though a tad long, you can almost see this one being performed in your head as you listen. The music takes you to another place, high praise to be sure.

All in all, the talent of Chris Tomlin is a gift from God, and it is exceptionally obvious on Arriving. Buy this album, and then anything else by the man that you can. Your heart will be blessed by it -- guaranteed.

Rating: A

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