Style: Medium-tempo, U2 arena-grandeur.
Worldview: "Holy, you are holy, / who was and is and is to come. / Jesus, precious Jesus, / thank you, Saviour. / I'm walking in the shoes of my miracle maker."
Overall quality: delirious? echoes U2, but no more than Coldplay does; besides, what delirious? does with those echoes (and with a cliché like "Our God Reigns" and with Edward Mote's 19th-century hymn, "My Hope Is Built") approaches the breathtaking.
Style: Modern folk-rock.
Worldview: "There is a river that washes you clean. / There is a tree that marks the places you've been, / blood that was spilled, although not your own, / for all of your tears are the wages for things that you've done."
Overall quality: The originals maintain the tone set by the Julie Miller cover; the singing maintains the tone set by Leigh Nash and the African Children's Choir.
Style: Bluesy gospel, soul, and funk.
Worldview: "This one's for the prostitute, / the drug abused, homeless, and destitute, / . . . the orphan who is all alone. / [. . .] / Your earthly father may have left you, / but your Heavenly Father told me to tell you / it's not over."
Overall quality: Lang's second album since his conversion testifies convincingly to his increasing maturity as a believer and as a performer (as a singer especially).
Style: Anthemic alternative rock.
Worldview: That faith in God is no more a guarantee that romance will prove smooth sailing today than it was in the days of Adam and Eve.
Overall quality: A noble and euphonious (if musically derivative and sometimes verbally inept) attempt to empathize with the difficulties faced by couples tempted to give up on their commitment when love seems like all work and no play.
Style: The quirky, catchy electro-pop for which these CCM veterans have become famous.
Worldview: "I don't know / when it's a ministry and when it's a show. / Maybe neither, may both. / [. . .] But one thing I know: / your love is better than life."
Overall quality: The song-composing marriage of Steve Taylor and founding Newsboy Peter Furler (on six of the 11 songs) still sounds as if it was made in heaven.
The reputation of Jonny Lang, who made his major-label debut at 16 as an electric-blues wunderkind, has suffered the backlash common to performers who get too hyped for their britches. And, indeed, despite sharing stages with numerous legends, his recording career has been inconsistent. With Turn Around (A&M), however, he seems to have finally arrived.
Like 2003's Long Time Coming, Turn Around finds Lang, now 26, composing under the inspiration of his Christian faith. The difference is that he has hit upon a churchy musical milieu that honors the blues while allowing him to explore other black styles and to discover within them a groove over which he can sing without sounding unnaturally "soulful." None of which would matter if he hadn't come up with attention-getting lyrics. A few attract attention for the wrong reasons (i.e., they're corny), but for the most part Lang sounds well aware of what it means to be in the world but not of it.