For its latest album, Acquire the Fire & Teen Mania Ministries decided to, for the second time in a row, take a step in a distinctly new direction. For Unshakable, the live corporate worship recordings of the past were discarded in favor of an artist-driven compilation. Now, Live the Difference takes ATF into an area of teen-focused worship that's as much of a step back into what makes ATF what it is, as it is a step forward.
Unshakable was a fine album, but it failed to capture the raw, energetic edge of the modern worship segments of ATF's live conferences, the way that its predecessor, Live God Loud, did. Live the Difference recalls that energy and passion, but with vastly improved production values and tracks recorded entirely in the studio (not live). Young worship leaders Don Hejny, Micah Tawlks, Stephanie Tawlks, and Lindsay Hall not only perform on the album, but also contribute to the songwriting and instrumentation. Though producer Otto Price provides rock-solid production, the entire album has the distinct stamp of youthful exuberance from beginning to end.
The songs are mostly originals, along with a few established choruses thrown in, like "Here I Am To Worship" and "I Can Only Imagine," which, despite their reliance on rock guitars, still tread on territory that's all-too-familiar to maintain your attention as much as the new stuff does. A bonus track of Keith Green performing his perennial favorite, "Oh Lord, You're Beautiful," is also, inexplicably (and completely unnecessarily) thrown in at the end. But the new compositions give Live the Difference a unique luster. This disc brings to mind the kind of self-assured, throw-caution-to-the-wind abandon and replayability factor that the first Sonicflood album had.
Album cover courtesy of Inpop Records.
By Robin Parrish