Prime Cuts: LION (feat. Chris Brown & Brandon Lake), Same God (feat. Jonsal Barrientes), Dancing (feat. Joe L Barnes & Tiffany Hudson)
Overall Grade: 3.75/5
Elevation Worship returns with their most ambitious album to date. Fifteen tracks (with a couple of songs hovering around the 10-minute mark), this is a huge project clockwise as well as song wise. Musically, the album canvases a broader spectrum from rocking anthems to piano ballads to rootsy Gospel, it is great to see the team taking more risks. LION is the follow-up to their highly acclaimed Graves Into Gardens (2020) and special collaboration project Old Church Basement (2021) with Maverick City Music.
With the huge success trailing the previous two projects, expectations are high when it comes to LION. Overall, the team doesn't disappoint. In a genre that is currently inundated with slow pensive ballads, the rockish "What I See" is a much-anticipated track. Featuring an electric guitar-imbued undercurrent, "What I See" is a call to see how the resurrected Christ is still at work today. The pop-centric "Same God" has the word "classic worship song" written all over it. The title cut "LION," with its various depictions of Christ as presented in the book of Revelation, shows depth and maturity in the team's scribing skills.
Ballads abound, though not all of them are superior, the Tiffany Hudson-led "Forever YHWH" is heartfelt and prayerful. "Dancing," featuring Joe L Barnes & Tiffany Hudson, can be interpreted as a love song between couples or a worship song for God. The jazzy injunctions with its romantic assurances make this song endearing. Chandler Moore indulges in the Gospel-ballad "No One." The way Chandler effortlessly works his way to the song's anthemic climax is stellar.
Nevertheless, with an album this long, there are also fillers. Chris Brown's "Welcome Resurrection" tries to replicate their former hit "Graves into Garden" to disastrous effect. Chandler Moore's "The One You Love" meanders along aimlessly with not much a melodic guide. "Might Get Loud" tries to be a sanctified party empty with not much depth to infuse the song's excitement. As expected, it is difficult for such a mammoth album like LION to hold our attention all the way through. But there are enough gems to serve the church and individuals in worship.