Pure & Holy Passion: Album Review
by Stephanie H.
It is a special bond when you find someone who loves the same music that you do. I discovered one such kindred spirit recently in a dear friend and prayer buddy. I’m the kind of person who discovers that I like a song, and then proceeds to listen to that same song for the rest of the month. Well, my friend happened to venture into conversation with me during one of these fateful moods, and was hopelessly barraged with links.
What a blessing that she rose to the occasion!
We ended up having a really sweet conversation about our mutual love for the old-fashioned Jesus music. Of course, there is plenty of more recent music that we both love, but there is just something about the older music, the ones that speak Scripture, that just speaks straight to the heart. We talked about Petra, I shared with her some of my favorites from Chuck Girard, and she mentioned really enjoying GLAD. I had some of their albums in my library already, but hadn’t gotten around to listening yet, so on the next available opportunity, I picked out an album called Pure and Holy Passion for a listen.
Even in the midst of a road-trip, when I can listen to hours of music in a single day, it was a few weeks before I listened to anything else. Here are just a few of the reasons I quickly became so fond of this album:
I love the depth of hymns, and the simplicity of learning to sing or play them. I often prefer them to the more energetic contemporary Christian music that is popular now. Pure and Holy Passion offers a pleasant mix of energy and the draw into the presence of the Lord. How Firm a Foundation is exactly the combination of a hymn and modern pop/jazz accompaniment. The other songs are more contemporary in origin, but easily parallel this sweet hymn, so that it is very difficult for me to choose just one favorite song.
Some of the music I tend to keep closest is that which I can use in my prayer time. Each ends up having its own mood that best suits praise prayers, comfort prayers, or “be still and know” prayers. Pure and Holy Passion is well designed for active participation. Some vocalists are very talented, but it may be more easy to listen to them than to join them in praising the Lord. This album is more like having time to dance with Jesus. The melody is easy to follow, but the music and the message can turn suddenly, and offer sweet reminders of the character of God that I seemed not to have noticed in the song before. It can draw me to joyful laughter and tears in the same musical phrase. It isn’t something to which I listen for my “be still and know” prayers, but I love to be reminded of the wild nature of the Lord.
The talent displayed on this album is amazing. I love it when I can just sit and listen to music, picking out the different voices of background instruments, or explore singing different parts of a harmony. While the melodies of these songs are wonderfully easy to follow in worship, the layers of music to explore are rich and deep. GLAD also does a great deal of a cappella music, so their voices function just as well as one whole as they do individually, and the result is wonderful to behold. That doesn’t stop the instruments from having a chance to shine, though. Every voice, string, and cymbal is given a purposeful role in this symphonic offering to the Lord.
I enjoy a variety of musical styles, but what always makes or breaks it for me is the lyrical content. The music I love most always has some way with its words to make the truths of God a little bit more real to me than they were before. This is the biggest reason I’ve been coming back to Pure and Holy Passion again and again for the past two months. Some of these lines just stick with me in a powerful way.
“The wisdom of a sovereign God,
Whose greatness will be shown,
When those who crucified Your Son,
Rejoice around Your throne.”
“Now from your dungeon a rumor is stirring,
You have heard it again and again,
Ah, but this time your cell keys are turning,
And outside are the faces of friends.”
“As long as I have breath I will praise You,
As long as my heart beats, I will sing.”
“And our voices join with the thousands who
Know mercy because of the cross.
All sinners washed in Your precious blood.
Forever we will sing!”
Even the order of songs is interesting to me. Many albums begin with the most energetic songs and progressively transition to those that are slow, deep, and personal. Pure and Holy Passion seems to do the opposite. Most of the songs are energetic, but the first half mainly comprises the songs that sing of our offerings of praise to God. Progressively, whatever we may do for God ebbs into the background as the music builds into crescendos of the eternal greatness of our Lord.
It is such a blessing to be able to share praise to the Lord through music, and to know that it will be our greatest joy to share again for eternity with thousands before and after us. I hope that this music may be as much a blessing to your time with the Lord as it has been to me.