Singalongs & Pseudohymns
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Prime Cuts: To God All Praise and Glory, Almighty God, To You, O God
There's not a hint of hyperbole in the title of Mike R. Schuster's new album "Singalongs and Pseudohymns." You don't have to be a tunesmith in any sense of the word and you will find yourself singing along to these 12 offerings in no time. In a sonic milieu where the melody has often played second fiddle to polytechnics and the hippest guitar riffs, this is one of the few albums out there which thrive of great and memorable melodic structures. With the first half of the titular explained, the second portion "pseudohymns" needs some unpacking. This is an album of pseudohymns because eight of the twelve cuts here utilize the lyrics of ancient hymns, many of which are quite obscure. Schuster has dusted off these ancient words by dressing them organically with newly written tunes.
Schuster is a worship leader and singer-
Stylistically, Schuster adopts a breezy Eagles 70s-
Fanny Crosby's words gets a new lease of life again with "Able." Do yourself a service and listen to the words – God's sovereignty has never been more palatable than the way it has been expressed in this hymn. "All I Need" is to be noted for its simplicity and its gorgeous guitar backing. A remake of Henry Francis Lyte's "Jesus I My Cross Have Taken" written in 1824, the greatest utility of "To You, O God" is in the profundity of its words: "Perish every fond ambition, all I've sought or hoped or known; Yet how rich is my condition! God and heaven are still mine own."
With our propensity to love ourselves more than God, songs that give God our full attention are rare these days. "Almighty God" is one of those rare exceptions. Based on lyrics derived from The Psalter circa 1912 with a new chorus written by Schuster, this song definitely deserves to be sung across churches worldwide. "Singalongs and Pseudohymns" in sum does live up to its titular. The songs with their infectious melodies are definitely made for the church to sing along to. And with words so rich, profound, and thoughtful, worshipping to these songs certainly give our praises Godly heft.
Pastor Timothy Yap
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