Prime Cuts: Peace Be Still, Jesus Over Everything, Hosanna
Overall Grade: 3/5
"TEN," as the title indicates, celebrates the tenth anniversary of The Belonging Co., a church established in Nashville. Being at the heart of Music City also means that the church is never short of recording artists attending and calling the church home. Over the years, Natalie Grant, Kari Jobe, Hope Darst. Mitch Wong, Sarah Reeves, and many notable CCM songwriters and worship leaders have called The Belonging Co. home. "TEN" gathers 10 of their previously released songs, reimagines them, and pairs them up with some of their notable leaders. If you are casually acquainted with their music or new to their products, "TEN" is an excellent introduction to their music.
Not all re-imaginations of older songs work, but The Belonging Co.'s "allskate remix" of "Zeal" is stellar. Giving the original track a slight pop-shuffle feel with a newly added instrumental section and more atmospheric vocals, "Zeal" gets a cooler and more youthful update. Their take on "Peace Be Still" is more focused than the original live version, shaving off almost two minutes of padding. Natalie Grant showcases her prowess in "You're Not Finished Yet" and "Just the Mentioned of His Name." The latter has a Gospel-ish embellishment gorgeously brought out by Grant's soaring vocals.
Despite being a who's who in CCM church, the songs on this record lack diversity. Save for "Zeal," the other nine songs are energized power ballads that thrive on their huge choruses and whispered verses. Therefore, regardless of the lead vocals, many songs sound the same. Further, they all feel very long and overdrawn. With such a pool of writers and leaders, one would have expected more variety, tempos, and approaches. Even the lyrics are unimaginative and benign. Here's a sampling: "Jesus over everything/He reigns forevermore/Our song for all eternity/Jesus Christ is Lord (yes He is)." Or "Hallelujah, hallelujah/Praise the One who set me free/Death has lost its grip on me/Hallelujah, hallelujah/Jesus rose in victory."
There is a lot of potential in this record. The production is top-notch. The execution is impeccable. But there is a lack of an unmistakable hit. This may explain why, after ten years, The Belonging Co. has yet to charter a household worship anthem, the way Bethel Music has with "Goodness of God" or Hillsong Worship with "What a Beautiful Name It Is."