To be honest, the first time I saw Planetshakers (on DVD), it wasn’t a great experience for me—the band seemed a little too much like a smaller-sized Hillsong clone. I am a lyrics guy more than a music/melody guy and found the songwriting wasn’t really up there either. I turned the DVD off after a couple of songs (can almost feel Planetshakers fans pointing their daggers at me!)
Years later, I did fall in love with “Nothing is Impossible” though—it featured Israel Houghton you see.
Despite my overall skepticism for this band, when I got a review request of their newest release, I still wanted to give it a listen just to see if things have changed.
About the Record
“Outback Worship Sessions” is a collection of Planetshakers’ best loved songs reworked to supposedly be more accessible to those who are not diehard fans—I’m guessing that’s folks like me—so this review could be a good indicator of whether they’ve achieved that goal!
Produced by Grammy Award and multiple Dove Award winner Ed Cash, this record features 3 new songs and 8 of Planetshakers’ older songs.
About the Songs
Many records begin bad because of including a fast song at the top just for the sake of starting with an up-tempo song. Not this one—the slower-tempo “Like a Fire” kicks things off and immediately drew me in with its simple cry for more of Jesus.
Of late, there’s a refreshing trend of including more Holy Spirit oriented songs—something to be encouraged. In this project, we have two of them: “Spirit of God”, one of the three new songs and it’s brilliant (it has this chorus that refuses to leave your mind) and “Leave me Astounded”—also a great song—both are presented nicely too.
I confess I developed a newfound respect for Planetshakers by the third song when “My Soul Longs for Jesus” hit me…bam… and I was floored! Written by Ed Cash in hymn style, this is the song of the record for me—lyrically, melodically, musically and everythingally!
There’s a fresh arrangement of “Nothing is Impossible” too featuring a new verse, which isn’t all that bad either. But, I didn’t quite like the breakdown of the chorus beat.
More Planetshakers hits “Covered”, “Endless Praise”, “Made For Worship”, “This is the Day” and “This is Our Time” complete the rest of the album apart from another lovely new song “Father” giving it a welcome Trinitarian feel.
Here’s the official video intro of “Outback Worship Sessions”
[Video via YouTube]
“My Soul Longs for Jesus”, “Spirit of God”, Leave me Astounded”, “Like a Fire” and “Covered” should be easy additions to your set-lists.
To a great extent, Ed Cash succeeds in rearranging the songs to increase their accessibility for regular-sized church worship teams. If they can get me, I’m pretty sure this record will have no trouble in winning Planetshakers a lot more new fans.
In fact, I’m gonna stick my neck out and say that this is probably their best work yet!
Simply leave a comment to win a free digital download of “Outback Worship Sessions” by Planetshakers. There will be 2 winners.
Disclaimer: I received this album for free from the folks at Integrity Music to listen and post this review. The views expressed here are completely my own and I am not obliged to write a positive review.