REVIEW REVISITED: Paul Baloche – “The Same Love”

For Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday of this week I’m going to be revisiting “classic” reviews I’ve written of a few truly excellent worship CDs. Todays is The Same Love by a wonderful pastor & worship leader, Paul Baloche. To be honest, the first few times I’d heard it, I wasn’t sure what to make of it – the flavor & feel of the CD was quite different from all of his earlier work. In hindsight, I now consider it one of my favorites from among his recordings. As best I can describe, it’s still Paul, but deeper – the melodies are richer & more complex, & the lyrics deeper. Though I don’t use many of these songs corporately, it’s one of my favorite listens for personal worship. Below is my original review
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thesameloveArtist: Paul Baloche
Release: The Same Love
Label: Integrity
Highlights: “the Same Love”, “We are Saved”, “Just Say”

 

Paul Baloche needs no introduction. Even if you don’t recognize his name, you’ve sung his songs.  I regularly use no less than 12 of Paul’s originals in corporate worship, which is significant given the number of new worship songs that flood the market daily – he is truly a masterfully gifted songwriter.  What’s better, however, is the Jesus-centered heart of the man, which overflows in his lyrics & personally, for those who’ve been face-to-face with him.

That’s all to say – too be fair from the outset – I have liked Paul’s contribution to the singing church for some time.  In fact, his last CD, GLORIOUS, is probably among my favorite worship CDs of all-time.  You may think that means I’d be biased towards THE SAME LOVE – you would be wrong.  I will explain why.

THE SAME LOVE is by no means GLORIOUS part 2 – or “part 2” to any of his prior releases – which definitely caught me off-guard at first because usually Paul’s songs sound like…well…Paul.  They are consistently solid, & if you like one of his releases, chances are that you’ll like the others.  Not comfortable to re-tread the same old (albeit very successful, highly impactful) ground, Paul really steps out on this one – experimenting with songwriting styles & structures often more in-line with Hillsong than his back catalogue.

In other words, if you’re a long-time fan, this one may take a few listens to adjust to, but if you’ve always wanted to give Paul’s music a chance, this would be a good place to step in.

The title track is more along the lines of what is to be expected from him: a “must sing” corporate anthem extolling the beauties of God’s great love.  The lyrics are fresh & uncontrived, the melody is memorable, & the chorus hook is one you’ll find still running around your head late at night when you’re trying to sleep.  It, and “We are Saved” – another personal favorite – are “classic Paul Baloche”, in the best sense of the words.

My other personal favorite, however, is almost lullaby-like in it’s subtlety.  “Just Say”, a faith-filled confession of God’s ability to fix brokenness, heal sickness, & make right the wrong, reminds me more of an Innocence Mission song than anything Paul has written before.  It seems to musically draw attention to open space, & quiet, as much as it does the melody itself.  And the lyrics nearly move me to tears.

I was also taken by “Look upon the Lord”, though it took a few times to grow on me – a song that brings to mind Hillsong’s quieter fare, slowly buildings towards its powerful chorus.

Worship pastors who like to incorporate modern-hymnody into their services would also do well to note “All Because of the Cross”, an interesting re-write of the classic hymn “Nothing but the Blood”, and “My Hope”, a particularly catchy re-purposing of one of my old favorites, “The Solid Rock”.

Though, on a first listen, I didn’t immediately pin-point a whole collection of “must sing” songs like I did with his last, Paul is pushing forward in a few fresh, new directions here, and with repeated listening a number of excellent corporate songs rise to the surface.  I’m looking forward to singing “The Same Love”, “We are Saved”, & “Just Say” in our churches soon, & anticipating many more fruitful years of Paul sharing his gift with God’s people.

Thank you for not being content to stand still, Paul.

Amen.

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Comments

  1. Matt H
    Twitter: mphoage
    says:

    Thanks for your review! I haven’t had a chance to listen to the whole album–only “The Same Love” and “We Are Saved.” I have to agree that it seems Paul is trying different things out, and that is what, in my opinion, has kept him fresh over the years. I recently saw him on a video as a background singer to a Ron Kenoly video from 25 years ago…I only recognized Paul and Carl Albrecht. These men are ready to adapt, and that’s what keeps their ministry going. Even in his previous albums, Glorious and Our God Saves, those are much different than music the 90s and even earlier in this decade. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the album at his LeadWorship Conference in a couple weeks!