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A quick look at the contemporary Christian sales charts shows that worship albums are hot right now. MercyMe leads the pack, but several other artists and compilations follow close behind.

These CDs cover the spectrum of musical styles, from pop to adult contemporary to rock.

Several times, I’ve expected a CD to rock and been disappointed to hear mellow arrangements oozing from my speakers. To prevent that, I strongly suggest you check out a few clips from your intended purchase on www.cdnow.com, www.christianbook.com or www.amazon.com. These sites usually offer clips in both Windows Media and Real Player formats.

Here’s a quick look at a pair of current worship CDs.

• “Worship Together: I Could Sing of Your Love Forever,” various artists. This double CD offers some of today’s best worship songs performed by some of today’s best worship artists. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite live up to its potential.

The biggest flaw is pacing. It’s so uneven as to be jarring at times. Songs of different tempos seem to collide, and studio and live tracks are mixed together in a seemingly random manner. This prevents any mood from taking hold.

In addition, some of the individual tracks are disappointing. While “Worship Together” bills itself as offering “worship resources for a new generation,” many tunes have been slowed to the point where they seem to be meant for the older generation. On the opposite extreme is “Every Move I Make,” which has been given a rhythm so up-tempo — and jerky — that it’s very difficult to sing along with.

Despite all of this, it’s not a bad CD. It offers a lot of solid tracks that provide a good introduction to today’s worship music. I just recommend that you listen to a few clips on the Web: www.worshiptogether.com.

• “A Deeper Faith II,” John Tesh. John Tesh has no trouble establishing a mood. It’s mellow. Although I’d say it’s almost comatose, my wife likes it, which means this is definitely a chick disc.

With that in mind, I can admit that it provides a pleasant listening experience. Simple acoustic arrangements and soft voices are its hallmark. For example, “God of Wonders” and “I Can Only Imagine” become soothing songs of worship suitable for a quiet time.

This disc is packed with 17 tracks, including many popular worship tunes. If that tidal wave of mellowness doesn’t wash away your stress, nothing will.

On the Web: www.tesh.com.

On the charts

Top contemporary Christian albums as reported by SoundScan, according to The Associated Press:

1. “Almost There,” MercyMe.2. “Throne Room,” CeCe Winans.3. “Illuminate,” David Crowder Band.4. “Worship Together: I Could Sing of Your Love Forever,” various artists.5. “Red Rocks Homecoming,” Bill & Gloria Gaither and Their Homecoming Friends.6. “Stacie Orrico,” Stacie Orrico.7. “Rocky Mountain Homecoming,” Bill & Gloria Gaither and Their Homecoming Friends.8. “WOW Worship (Yellow),” Various Artists.9. “Simple Things,” Amy Grant.10.“The Beautiful Letdown,” Switchfoot.

— Today’s Praise is a roundup of news and reviews from the contemporary Christian music industry. It appears every other week on the Religion page.


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