Gateway Worship

Wake Up the World

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Wake Up the World is the second installment of live contemporary praise tunes from Gateway Worship, the thriving music ministry of Dallas-based Gateway Church. Like its predecessor, the impressive Living for You, this new set of Sunday morning choruses finds the worship team sticking to what it does best: stadium-sized pop/rock large on anthems and accessibility -- not unlike the repertoire being churned out by Hillsong, New Life Church, and other megachurches year after year. The resemblance is not so much Gateway's fault. After all, they're simply following a pattern that's proved extremely popular and serviceable in the modern worship canon. The melodies are indelible, the hooks steadfast, and the lyrics are kept congregational to the fullest, while the sequencing follows the funneled approach of most contemporary church liturgies. The reverb-rich ambiance created by producer Walker Beach only adds to the euphoria evoked by some of the more dramatic numbers, like the booming "New Doxology," the plaintive "You Are Good," and the solemn "We Cry Out" -- all so huge as far as ambiance and Wall of Sound, there's not much to be said for restraint or discreetness. In spots the set list shows some signs of intimacy ("When I Speak Your Name," "Beautiful"), but on the whole, these live offerings seek to recreate the ecstasy of the original concert, a church extravaganza that's as big as the state of Texas. In the end, that's exactly why Wake Up the World works: not because its songs have much to add in terms of new expressions of gratitude or adoration, but because they fit the ethos of modern worship in the new millennium. In other words, the disc is a functional resource for churches that crave this sound -- nothing more, nothing less.

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