Rich Mullins

Sandy Smith

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Unlike most other Christian music artists, Rich Mullins does not swim in the shallow end of the pool. His music has always served to challenge and convict while offering unabashed praise. Nowhere is this more evident than on Songs, a 16-song collection of mostly old material. As is standard with any "greatest hits" package these days, there are two new renditions and one completely new song.

No one will call Mullins an outstanding vocalist, but he sings with such passion that musical imperfections can easily be overlooked. But Mullins' strength has always been as a songwriter. While a college student, he wrote "Sing Your Praise to the Lord," an early Amy Grant hit that she helps him re-record here. (Grant omitted the midsection on her recording; Mullins revives it here.) He also updates "Elijah" and adds the new "We're Not as Strong as We Think We Are," a song that's not as strong as they apparently thought it was. That's OK, because there are plenty of other great tunes, like "Awesome God" and "Screen Door." Whether he's slurring his song titles, as on "Alrightokuhhuhamen" or picturing Jesus as a child in "Boy Like Me," Mullins defies all that is typical in Christian music. And that's what makes Songs such a delight.

Copyright 1996 by Shout Magazine

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