Thursday, March 28, 2013

Music Review: VeggieTales - Worship Songs

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: A great way to teach kids worship songs
Cons: Not for those without kids
The Bottom Line:
Target audience
Is who will like most
Perfect for your kids

A Veggietastic Worship Experience

Mention Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber and any Christian with kids (and most Christians in general) will immediately know who you are talking about. Heck, even though the straight to video movies have a distinctly Christian world view, even some non-Christians enjoy the humor and moral lessons.

Long ago the series branched out from just doing the videos. Soundtrack CD's have given way to CD releases of material never found on their videos. Worship Songs is one such release. Here, we get 12 worship songs that are familiar to anyone in Christian circles.

Knowing how silly the Veggies can be at times, I worried that this might come across as irreverent. Then I remembered the Kids Praise albums of my youth. Can talking Veggies be any worse then a singing songbook?

The answer is no. In fact, those looking for the standard Veggie humor will be disappointed. There's a joke or two, but the focus is on worshipping God, which is highly appropriate. As the disc opens, Bob and Larry show up to run the choir practice for Junior Asparagus and the kids at church. That's pretty much it. The CD focuses on the 12 songs with a minimum of dialogue between them to serve as transition. Heck, even the set up for the Boyz in the Sink number is rather brief.

The song list is a collection of modern classics. We've got "God of Wonders," "In the Secret," "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever," and "Come, Now is the Time to Worship." Music wise, we've got drums, guitar, and keyboard with a kids choir singing the words. We aren't looking at anything special, but they sound find. Much like they would on any other worship CD with one exception - some of the voices are cartoon veggies. Still, the voices of Bob, Larry, and Junior aren't enough to detract from the meaning of the songs.

As a surprise for the kids, Matt Redman shows up to lead versions of his classics "Better is One Day" and "Blessed Be Your Name." Matt even talks a little about how he got into writing worship music and what these two songs mean to him. "Blessed Be Your Name" starts off with the keyboard sounding a bit like an organ. That seemed like a strange choice to me at first, but it does work.

They have some true classics here. "Thy Word" and "Seek Ye First" are from my generation. Heck that last one was on the original Kids Praise record I mentioned earlier. We've also got Keith Green's classic "You Put This Love in My Heart" and the Gaither classic "I Am a Promise."

While most of the arrangements sound like something a worship band would do at church Sunday mornings, three stand out. "Forever" gets a calypso beat and sound almost like "Angels We Have Heard on High" from their first Christmas CD. Similarly "I Am a Promise" gets a jazz make over. Both of these took me back at first, but they work.

The one I still don't get is "You Put This Love in My Heart." This song is a classic from the 70's that gets turned into a modern boy band song thanks to the Boyz in the Sink (VeggieTales version of a boy band.) Its okay, but I find myself too distracted by the new sounds to fully appreciate the great lyrics.

And frankly, I think that's my biggest problem with the CD overall. These are great songs that I love to sing. But something about hearing cartoon Veggies sing them puts me off. I know kids will love it. It's more with their favorite characters. And it's not annoying, so parents wouldn't be driven crazy by it. For once, I felt the characters detracted from the CD for me. Could I be growing up?

Parents shouldn't hesitate to get this for their kids. It's a great way to introduce some great Worship Songs. And they'll enjoy listening to them, too. But this is one VeggieTales product best left to the target audience.

CD Length: 44:15
1. Come, Now is the Time to Worship
2. God of Wonders
3. Better is One Day (with Matt Redman)
4. Thy Word
5. Blessed Be Your Name (with Matt Redman)
6. Forever
7. You Put This Love in My Heart
8. I Could Sing of Your Love Forever
9. I Am a Promise
10. In the Secret (I Want to Know You)
11. Seek Ye First
12. You are Holy

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