Album Review: Charlie Hall – ‘The Rising’

You really have to feel sorry for Charlie Hall.The Rising

As a worship leader he’s stuck between two great worship leaders who also just happen to be great songwriters as well. Charlie is almost as eccentric as David Crowder with his use of both electronic and acoustic instrumentation -even with matching ‘crazy man beards’ – but he falls short in the bringing them together… to a point that at times it just sounds quirky, which works well at times, just not all the time.

On the other hand Charlie’s songwriting is solid, blurring the edges between what is seen as traditional style of contemporary worship music -albeit with an alternative edge and secular music -the kind of music anyone would hear on the radio by Life House or The Fray, which I believe is needed because  church worship should reflect what is happening in the world and pointing us towards heaven… but that’s a whole blog right there.

Like Matt Redman, Charlie is good at interpreting  Christianize and putting it into language that we would all use as normal human beings, in normal conversation, the difference is Matt Redman has this amazing ability to be able to make it sound intelligent and his songwriting has that U2 ‘zing’ to it… While in comparison Charlie Hall’s songwriting is simple… simple rhyme, simple phrases – and it just doesn’t seem to challenge you as a listener, there’s no need to really dive in and submerge yourself in Charlies writing because it’s all there in front of you… I personally like to be pushed and challenged both musically and lyrically in worship just like when I read the Scriptures and it feels like sometimes Charlie is playing Worship nursery rhymes.

I know that it’s not fair to play comparisons but Charlie Hall has fallen from the song leader who was most likely to push boundaries in the Christian scene to someone who is almost pushing the alternative envelope… falling from someone who put words in a fresh new way to someone who has forgotten the importance of measuring and fussing over every words and every phrase – it may not be that way but  it comes across lazy.

I was left feeling disappointed – not gutted – just ho hum about The Rising… Charlie has so much potential as someone who could really push boundaries in the worship music scene, but has been left floundering somewhere between Matt Redman and DCB while new artists like Gundor start to out Charlie – Charlie Hall.

The Rising is a good album, but not a great album… certainly worth a listen, my personal preference is to download your favourite songs from the album… but as yet… I’m not convinced enough to by the whole album. New songs will shine on this as people start to hear them living in that personal setting known as The Concert with 50000 people singing along with you.

Key tracks: Let Earth Awake, Make me Alive – purely for the guitar riff that Orson would be proud of.

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