Keith and Kristyn Getty (alongside cowriter and fellow worship leader Stuart Townend) are at the forefront of the current hymn revival. Traditional and contemporary congregations alike have embraced their 2001 anthem "In Christ Alone." There's more where that came fromhence their 11-song debut album, In Christ Alone (Gettymusic).
Good hymns require strong melodies and theologically rich lyrics. The Gettys have both going for them on this album. Songs like "There Is a Higher Throne" and "Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer" are simple enough for corporate worship and can be adapted to various worship styles, whether the singing is led by an organ or praise band. The poetic lyrics carry layers of meaning, as seen in the prayerful "Speak, O Lord":
Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility;
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.
Many songs, such as "Across the Lands," have a biblically broad scope as they reflect on all that God has accomplished through Creation, Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection:
You're the Author of creation;
You're the Lord of every man;
And Your cry of love rings out
across the lands.
But while a sameness of melody may ease corporate singing, it doesn't always make for an exciting listening experience; many songs on the album are stuck in the same inspirational pop sound. This hurts "The Power of the Cross," which feels too light for its reflective, somber Good Friday text ("Tried by sinful men, / Torn and beaten, then / Nailed to a cross of wood"). And while the Gettys write lyrics that mirror the cadence of hymns, the result doesn't feel all that different from the pop offerings of Twila Paris, Fernando Ortega, and Matt Redman.
Still, several of the songs on In Christ Alone may make their way into widespread church hymnody, demonstrating the Gettys' ability to successfully bridge the gap between the traditional and contemporary worship camps.
Russ Breimeier, online managing editor, christianmusictoday.com.
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In Christ Alone is available from ChristianBook.com and other retailers.
The Gettys' website has lyrics and short samples from the album.
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