Renowned for his live albums capturing his heart for Jesus, Paul Baloche has been in the Christian music industry for the past 20 years. Most of his albums are in a live setting, apart from his re recordings on ‘The Writers Collection’; which makes ‘The Same Love’ all the more special. I cannot remember the last studio album Paul Baloche recorded. This change is one I will gladly welcome, as every single song on this album can literally be sung in the church. With more collaborations, co-writes and guest vocals on this album than any other he has done, for me Paul has raised the bar higher than ever on ‘The Same Love’, which I am sure has the potential to be a classic worship album in 10 or so years.

Starting off with the guitar driven ballad ‘The Same Love’, written with producer Michael Rossback, Paul dives into the fact that the same God who died and rose again 2000 + years ago is calling out to us, asking us to draw near to Him and follow Him. This fact boggles the mind, yet Paul sings this song in a way that is reassuring, and tells us that God thinks the world of us so much that he is calling each one of us, by our own names! He knows us all, and wants us all. What a welcomed privilege that ‘… The same God that spread the heavens wide, the same God that was crucified, is calling us all by name…’

‘We Are Saved’ has a Hillsong United type of feel, and I am sure the song will be a hit in churches in the near future. A declaration and proclamation that God has saved us from sin by conquering the grave, Paul has crafted, with Jason Ingram and Ben Fielding, a piece of art that is sure to be around for a very long time. Ben Fielding even lends his vocals in the second verse, and with Paul and Ben praising Jesus and singing ‘…all the honour, forever, Jesus be lifted higher, we owe it all to You…’; I would be surprised if this doesn’t make radio airplay!

3rd is ‘King of Heaven’, a vertical worship song co written with Jason Ingram, and Paul is joined by All Sons and Daughters duo David Leonard and Leslie Jordan. To hear these three talented vocalists harmonise and sing together to praise Jesus, and to also hear the banjo riff and the spontaneous worship in the bridge, followed by the bridge proclamation ‘…King of Heaven come…’ is quite magical. This spirit anointed song gave me chills the first time listening to it. Paul has done a fantastic job!

‘All Because of the Cross’ is a rendition of ‘Nothing But The Blood’, and explicitly tells of the gospel, where Jesus died and rose again. It’s because of the Cross and Jesus rising from the Grave that we are now set free in Him. A prayer to thank Jesus for what he has done, Paul expertly creates a 5 minute track in which anyone can lay down their burdens and just worship God for who He is and what He has done, for ‘… on the cross our sin erased, in your death our life was raised…’.

‘Your Blood Ran Down’ is segued next, and is a simple piano based track, describing the sacrifice Jesus made for humanity. An honest and moving track in which Paul Baloche repeatedly sings ‘…Your blood ran down…’, this song captures the ultimate moment and sacrifice that Jesus must’ve felt on the cross when he died to save the world. He chose to sacrifice Himself for humanity, and for that, we as Christians should be ever grateful and offering our worship and praise to Him.

‘My Hope’ is one of my favourites on the album. A worship ballad heavily emphasising the guitars and sung with Kathryn Scott, Paul deftly explores how sometimes we as Christians sometimes ask God where He is in the midst of all of our troubles. However God is right there, and we know that all things will work out for good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Even when ‘… I don’t know where You’ll take me…’ we still ‘…know You’re always good…’ as God is God. Only He can truly be our hope.

‘Oh Our Lord’ reunites Paul with All Sons and Daughters, a song co written with them as well. A song in which God is praised throughout despite the circumstances in our lives; David, Leslie and Paul proclaim that God’s name has power, over all others. The name of Jesus can be used for comfort, and also for a reminder that He is on our side. ‘…Oh Your name is a light in the darkness, oh Your name is the word of truth, oh Your name, oh Your name…’. The song then breaks out into an all praise anthem in the bridge. Such a powerful song, this song is even re-recorded on All Sons and Daughters’ new album. A well deserve end to the first half of the album.

Following on is ‘Christ the Lord’, Paul’s own version of the song ‘Risen Today’ by Charles Wesley. Paul has perfected this masterpiece of a hymn and turned it into his own, never compromising on the message. A song about how Jesus has overcome the Grave and now we are free, I cannot stop dancing and celebrating in this song! Jesus has risen, and we are free!! That IS something to be happy about every single day! ‘… Raise your voice! The King has overcome, Hallelujah, Hallelujah…’

Jason Ingram then lends his vocals on the 9th track ‘Reign In Me’. A song reminiscent of one from One Sonic Society, Jason and Paul expertly sing together in harmony, a song of rededication of our lives to Jesus, asking him to ‘…reign in me…’. A song full of raw emotion and utter devotion to Jesus, how can we not be the same once we listen to this spirit anointed track? You cannot help but be changed by what Jesus has done for us! Well done Paul and Jason for an inspiring track.

The next couple of tracks ‘Just Say’ and ‘Loved By You’, both with guest vocal Angela Krusi, are piano based songs exploring the intricacies of the mind and will of God. Paul delves into how God has the power to heal with his words ‘…just say the word, I’ll be made whole…’ (Just Say); as well as one of mankind’s purposes on Earth ‘…I was made to be loved by You…to be loved by you Jesus…’ (Loved By You). A complete 180 from the upbeat songs earlier, Paul is equally effective in the reflective moments, the moments that make the listener more aware of the meaning of the lyrics. These tracks, while not as upbeat as the majority of this album, are still part of Paul’s heart for God, and I commend his efforts!

‘Look Upon the Lord’ is next, with guest vocal Kari Jobe, and is one of the most moving and worshipful tracks. With Kari and Paul harmonising well and singing in unison Jesus’ praises ‘…You are good and your mercy will endure, You are good and forever we are yours…’, this track blows my mind. I can truly say that this song will be timeless; one for the ages. As the song progresses, the piano base is added to, with guitars, strings, drums, and soon in the bridge, as Kari and Paul proclaim ‘…Holy, Holy, Holy, with one voice, heaven and earth are singing…’, and you can tell this song is something special. This song, the 12th on Paul’s near flawless album, is one to truly remember!

The album closer ‘Shout For Joy’, co-written with Lincoln Brewster, finishes off a well written and sung worship album. Similar in style to Lincoln Brewster’s (on his 2010 album), Paul makes the song his own, utilising the instruments and praising Jesus effectively. Singing out ‘…shout for joy for the Son of God is the Saving One, He’s the Saving One…’, it is evident that throughout the past 20 years, Paul’s faith has not wavered, in fact it has only strengthened. Well done Paul on an album that I’m sure will stand the test of time, maybe receive a Dove Award!

To sum up, these 13 songs that Paul has recorded (some of these in his house!) are truly a magnificent masterpiece! A work of art, nothing short of amazing! I’m not sure how many more years Paul will keep making music for, but let me tell you that his quality of his work, of his God-praising songs have only increased over time. I am eagerly anticipating your next album Paul, and I’m sure it will be full of treasures!

Score: 4.75/5

Track Listing:

  1. The Same Love
  2. We Are Saved (featuring Ben Fielding)
  3. King of Heaven (featuring David Leonard and Leslie Jordan)
  4. All Because of the Cross
  5. Your Blood Ran Down
  6. My Hope (featuring Kathryn Scott)
  7. Oh Our Lord (featuring David Leonard and Leslie Jordan)
  8. Christ the Lord
  9. Reign in Me (featuring Jason Ingram)
  10. Just Say (featuring Angela Krusi & Brothers McClurg)
  11. Loved By You (featuring Angela Krusi)
  12. Look Upon the Lord (featuring Kari Jobe)
  13. Shout for Joy

Favorite Tracks: We Are Saved, Shout For Joy, Reign In Me, My Hope, All Because of the Cross, Christ the Lord, Look Upon the Lord, The Same Love

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