Various - Songs Inspired By The Passion Of The Christ

Wednesday 1st September 2004
Various - Songs Inspired By The Passion Of The Christ
Various - Songs Inspired By The Passion Of The Christ

RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Universal FIERCD11
RELEASE DATE: 2004-06-19
RRP: £4.99

Reviewed by Phil Thomson

This album is a shock to the system. Where else would you find Ricky Scaggs and Elvis Presley rubbing shoulders with Leonard Cohen and The Blind Boys of Alabama? It's all Mel Gibson's idea - since he personally chose the artists for their songs - and lovingly eulogises in the sleevenotes on what it means to him. Not to be mixed up with the John Denby original film score, these are previously available tracks, all of them by artists at the very pinnacle of their craft, all of them uncompromisingly searching. I defy anyone to create such diversity, yet intensely focus on a single subject. It is their very juxtaposition which is so compelling. Only Dolores O'Riordon's "Ave Maria" - beautifully rendered in split-falsetto - creeps in to remind us of Gibson's ultra-Catholic roots. Otherwise the choices are contemporary, with the questions in song rolling relentlessly on: a quiet, almost unaccompanied version of Hank Williams' "How Can You Refuse Him Now?" by Holly Williams, Skagg's "Are You Afraid To Die?" hauntingly prefixed by Billy Graham, the Jessi Colter & Shooter Jennings entreaty "Please Carry Me Home". As if that isn't enough, Kris Kristofferson's "Why Me?" turns up as a highly charged plea by Lee Ryan. It is a dark and brooding proposition of an album by someone truly wrestling with what to do with the person of Christ. And it will draw you in. You can hear it most poignantly in "Darker By The Day" - the complex poetic narrative of Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - see, full of surprises - what are they doing here? You would be hard pressed to find such honest, riveting angst anywhere else. It is a brilliant, bleak and ultimately joyless experience - rescued magnificently in the end by no less than Bob Dylan reminding us that it's "Not Dark Yet". Buy it for yourself but give it away to someone close to faith. They will find the answer.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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Sample Track Listing:
1. How Can You Refuse Him Now [Listen]
2. Stranger In A Strange Land [Listen]
3. Are You Afraid To Die (Intro By Rev. Dr. Billy Graham) [Listen]
4. Please Carry Me Home - Jessi Colter & Shooter Jennings
5. Ave Maria - Dolores O'Riordan
6. Why Me [Listen]
7. Darker With The Day - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
8. Where No One Stands Alone - Elvis Presley
9. Harm's Way - The Ghost Who Walks
10. By The Rivers Dark - Leonard Cohen
11. Precious Lord - The Blind Boys of Alabama
12. Not Dark Yet - Bob Dylan

This track data is supplied by the Cross Rhythms CD/DVD review library. Please note that CD tracks may vary according to release region or product version.

Reader Comments

Posted by alan in montreal, canada @ 07:59 on May 28 2006

'How can you refuse Him now' WOW!!!
The quiet voice and background music only highlights the question. it's in your face but with an arm around the shoulder at the same time. Just the way we should be giving His mesage to the world.

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