The first time I heard any of the songs on the new Charlie Hall Band record live was at Passion 2013. I remember hearing them start, listening to the sound, and immediately turning to my buddy Matthias and saying, “They have definitely evolved with this album.” I think that is the best way to look at the album Death of Death, an evolution of a band that not only shows their own creativity and ingenuity while presenting music that has incredible value and accessibility in the local church. While many albums contain one or two songs that could be sung in the church, this album is full of songs that would fit in traditional or contemporary contexts with equal acceptance and value.
Now to look at a few aspects of the album as a whole that stood out to me:
1. I enjoy the fact that the album can be listened to as a whole in a “concept” album form, where each song and “interlude” moment (tracks 3, 7, 11) build on each other to the end of the album, or they are just as enjoyable on their own.
2. The interlude tracks function as a welcome “Selah” moment for me. Not unlike the Delirious? Glo album, where songs were extended, this album has some neat improvisatory times that accentuate the song that has just been completed, and as a bridge to the next song. While some may consider these “throwaway” tracks, I see them as a vital portion of the album, a catalyst for the flow. I also like how they bridged faster songs to slower through the interludes.
3. If you know any of the members of the Charlie Hall Band, you know they have a passion for the church, for the body, and for the edification of the body through theology, worship, and renewal. These themes show throughout the album, from the hymns that are re-imagined to the depth of the lyrics that include confessions (Build Your House) to adding additional lyrics to their own songs to deepen them even more (Give Us Clean Hands).
Because I am a worship pastor, I broke the album down into songs we have actually used already, tracks we will use, and then overall tracks to listen to.
Tracks We Have Used:
Death of Death
Revive Us Again
Give Us Clean Hands
Tracks We Will Use:
Rock of Ages
Build Your House
Jesus, My All in All
All Things (Great is the Lord)
The Solid Rock
Tracks to Listen To:
Crowned/three/Death of Death–This is one of the strongest parts of the album for me. The way the band bridges between the two songs with the interlude makes a neat transition from a quicker, more aggressive beat into a reflective, yet driving message in Death of Death.
Build Your House–I appreciate the whole tenor of this song, from the inclusion of the confessional to the idea of unity of the Body. Great, thoughtful lyrics overall.
Overall, this is by far the strongest album that the Charlie Hall Band has released. They show innovation, an evolution of the band with the added keys/piano dynamic included in a strong way, as well as arrangements that are accessible for the church. While most churches might need to rearrange a bit, they are still very workable. Please note that just because I didn’t include tracks does not mean I didn’t enjoy or see them useful. 1 Timothy 1:7, for example, would be a great song to use as a devotional starter or to tie into a sermon setting in that passage. To me, this is a must buy, a must have, and a must use for our churches.
What are your thoughts?
What is your favorite track?