Salvation’s Tide is Rising Aims to Please a Specific Audience
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Unlike most most albums, “Salvation’s Tide Is Rising’s” artist may truly be Christianity. At least that’s what brings thousands of young Christians and Christian musicians to the Passion Conferences.
The “album” is a compilation of the songs performed at the 2016 Passion Conferences. The conferences were founded in 1997 by Atlanta pastor Louis Giglio and are designed mostly for Christian college students. The conference is annual and this year it took place in two cities: Houston at the Toyota Center and in Atlanta at the Infinite Energy Center and the Philips Arena. The Conference lasts six sessions over three days.
The artists featured in the album include Kristian Stanfill, Crowder, Brett Younker, Melodie Malone, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Christy Nockels and Jimi Cravity. They are all prominent musicians at the conferences.
The album begins with the aptly named song “Salvation’s Tide” preformed by Kristian Stanfill. A sweeping song, the instrumentals fit well with the overarching themes of salvation and devotion to God. With some banjo, this song has large buildups, and feels like an anthem. It’s an appropriate start to this album. The lyrics have the persistent themes of Jesus, sharing your life with Jesus, and Jesus making your life better.
The next song is “My Victory” by Crowder. This song uses more synthesizers than the other songs, and focuses more on salvation, and how Christianity can save you. This song is more dark and serious and feels more personal.
The album begins to sound more and more similar as it progresses. Most of the songs have a guitar line, a simple drum line and similar sounding synthesizers. The vocals seem to have two distinct styles: whispering and reserved and used heavily during verses and the quieter songs, and the resonant, drawn out style, used almost exclusively for choruses.
Although some verses deviate slightly, there is definitely a template all the songs follow. This is odd considering the number of artists involved in the project.
One diamond in the rough, however, is “I Turn to Christ” by Matt Redman. It’s a bright and optimistic song which still has the same lyrics as all the other songs, but it is memorable. It was one of the only ones I remembered after listening to.
Speaking of lyrics, “Salvation’s Tide is Rising” offers no standout lines. The lyrics feel recycled again and again. They also sound extremely preachy, to a point where it was almost comical. I understand that this is a heavily Christian album, but that’s no excuse to have dumbed down lyrics. Christianity is a diverse and vivid culture that extends past the the basic tenants and morals.
The music from the Passion Conferences is not for a mainstream audience. It is for the people attending the conferences, and past that, Evangelical Christians. If you do not fit into either of those two groups, this album will not resonate with you.
On a technical level, the instrumentals are well put together and sound professional. Although a bit monotone, they are easy to listen to, and don’t subtract from the album. They are not particularly good, or particularly bad.
Because of this, Passion is an ironic name. The artists certainly have passion for their message, but not for creating unique and memorable music.