As a product of the VERY early “unashamed generation,” my teen years at church were filled with Tye Tribbett concerts and listening sessions of his albums. I have always enjoyed his style of hyper energetic praise, both on record and on stage. And even after news of his fall, and celebration of God restoring him and his ministry, I have maintained an appreciation for his very unique brand of music. After Fresh, I wasn’t sure what could be next, and when I heard news of Greater Than, it was all I could do to not freak out each time the release date was pushed back.
But as an appreciator of quality music, I didn’t want my nostalgia towards Tye’s music to cloud my judgment when listening to this new project. Any project released within the digital age has the danger of:
- Being over-hyped and not living up to said hype.
- Held just above sinking in the media because of the fan base’s allegiance.
- Being just another sub-par music project that becomes mainstream and gets pushed as “top quality.”
While keeping an unbiased ear towards the music, I bought the album on August 6th and proceeded to play the album as I did housework. The next thing I knew, I was worshiping in the living room on the floor.
After about the fourth day of listening to this album straight, It hit me:
This may be one of the best albums I’ve heard this brother put together.
But allow me to break down why.
This goes without saying. This is a Tye Tribbett Album! So, of course the album is going to be phenomenal musically. However, he didn’t fall into the trap of repeating what worked before to get the same result. He could have easily thrown songs together in some musical way that would sound cool, wipe his hands and say “that’s that;” But, each track has movements and chord changes that both soothe the soul and send it crazy with excitement simultaneously.
Being a musician myself, I’m constantly astounded at how he weaves entire song movements together, that could be standalone songs, into one complete sounding composition. “Nobody” has the signature first track anthem feel, like the Tye & GA albums we have come to know. But then, we’re hit with a musical right hook in the second track “Everything,” that has a trap beat like breakdown. (I’ve seen them do this song live. They get hype). The genius doesn’t stop there, as he “Tribbettizes” the CCM worship song “Overcame” and makes it his own, tweaking riffs and note changes all throughout the song. And, no Tye album is complete without a “shout track,” but its so well crafted, that you have no idea it’s there until you’re in the middle of the song singing “He Turned it.”
Sometimes, the ear can get what’s called “listener’s fatigue” with hearing the same array of notes over and over. However, Tye’s exciting musical arrangements keep that have happening all throughout the album. For the songs that aren’t intricately composed, this will keep you interested.
Nothing upsets me more than worship leaders who lead worship in a routine fashion; no passion, no energy, just fake, phony, rehearsed words to give the expected posture of the title “worship leader.” There is NO hint of that in this album. The live worship experience that is created with this album can make you feel like you are there in person, worshiping along with the congregation. Now, if you don’t like to worship God, then this album isn’t for you. But if you enjoy getting lost in the truth of lyrics, then go right ahead.
You can feel the sincerity of song meanings as Tye, the background singers, and featured artists Zacardi Cortez and KJ Scriven sing. There are even songs on the album that feel like they were birthed from spontaneous worship occurring the night of the live recording. As some songs transition from one another, like “Stayed on You” to “You are Good” or “There is nothing like/Glory to God,” I found myself singing along time and time again, forgetting where I was driving to or what I was supposed to be doing. The chorus alone of “Better” will get stuck in your head for an entire week if you let it (and that’s not a bad thing either). Overall, I give this thing a 10 in a very important category.
While I am a big supporter of all of Tye’s work, I cannot say that I have enjoyed playing every CD he’s made all the way through, each time I give it a listen. Sometimes, I may skip a song or two, depending on my mood, but that has not happened all week. With a week full of up and down moments, I have never pressed skip on any of the songs on this album. Where past songs on previous albums have spoken to situations, situations that not everyone can relate to, I believe that this album’s lyrical focus on God keeps it fresh for any occasion.
I have played the album straight through three times and not skipped a song, and I can’t say I have ever done that with any album. The vertical nature of the songs make this album about God, who He is, what He’s done, how great He is, His wonderful attributes, and there is never a bad time to play a song that focuses on that. You will just have to choose if you want something slow or upbeat.
I haven’t really had many albums I’ve bought that MAKE ME come back and play them more than this album has. I have tried to force myself to play other CD’s, but I still end up singing the songs from this album during the day, at work, etc. This is a complete project for the more modern contemporary Christian; who is musically well rounded, isn’t just about “church music,” can appreciate other musical styles, and enjoys meditating on God’s greatness.
I usually am satisfied after seeing an artist live in concert once, but this album has rekindled my love for the live worship experience, so I’m looking forward to when I can go to another concert to be able to get out of the pew for once and jump around if I want to. Whether it be iTunes, Amazon, or Best Buy, this album is worth the purchase.