Reviews - What do customers think about The Champion?
A bit overated but still Carman's finest album May 14, 2005
This was the album chosen by CCM Magazine to include in its book "The 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music" [#99] (ASIN 0736902813) and while I feel it's nowhere near one of the 100 best Christian albums ever, it's definitely the best album in Carman's catalogue. Here, he was teamed with then-hot producer Keith Thomas (who's worked with Amy Grant among others) and crafts a peppy pop sound that was of the moment. While some have complained that this sounds "dated", discounting this record because of the synth and digi-drums is akin to asserting that NOTHING of musical worth came out of the 80s (not to mention completely gutting the new wave genre..).
Carman was one of the most popular figures of the 1980s in CCM circles. He was also quite controversial for his theology which leaned heavily on charismatic expression, "word of faith" healing, and at least hints that he empathized with prosperity gospel teachers. He also drew frequent criticism for legalism and ties to questionable "Jesus is a conservative Republican" themes in his music. ("America Again" from his album THE STANDARD especially fits this critique)
HIGHLIGHTS: "A Little Bit More Conviction" is a call to be more careful about our behavior in front of non-believers as Christians. It's got a passionate Carman vocal and a good track to buoy it up. "Revive Us, Oh Lord" (#10 Christian hit) is almost hymnlike and did find a home for "special singing" in many churches that had members sing with soundtracks. The title track is definitely the centerpiece of the album..the battle between sin and salvation played out as a boxing match. It lodged at #1 on Christian radio for 4 weeks and it's worth every second of the 8 1/2 minutes it takes for the recitation to play out.
LOWS: "Love Can" is a pretty trite "God loves everybody" ballad. It's boring to the extreme and loses a star for the album all by itself.
BOTTOM LINE: Carman comes closest here to assembling lyrics that opaquely present the Gospel message while marrying it to timely music. Those who don't consider themselves of a charismatic stripe or in agreement with "Word of faith" teaching may not agree with all Carman says here (predominantly in "Prepare to Die" and "Abundance of Rain", a #14 Christian hit). There are no misguided genre attempts here..he sounds comfortable. If you're curious about his appeal, this is the one to start with.
3 1/2 stars
Hear the true heart Jan 28, 2003
This body of music was a real encouragement to me and is now a favorite of my 7-year old son. He especially likes "The Champion". Its a song about the battle between good and evil, a theme whose boundaries have been blurred in our society with the propigation of gangster rap and it's ilk. Carman has a heart for those youth that feel disinherited and ignored. And in that spirit he lives his life and creates his music, to Glorify God and to encourage.
Not as great as it's made out to be Jan 9, 2003
For some odd reason, this album was voted #99 on the recent listing of the 100 Best Gospel Albums of all time. With that in mind, I decided to take another look at it.
Songs as follows:
1. Prepare to Die--rather typical song that addresses illness and healing in a rather simplistic fashion. Also, like most of this album, it sounds horrendously dated.
2. Abundance Of Rain--Again, horribly dated, although the song itself isn't bad. It's another fairly average uptempo song about revival.
3. Revive Us, Oh Lord--A great song about revival, again, sounds rather dated, but the strong lyrical message is able to overcome that.
4. A Little Bit More Conviction--The strongest lyrical entry on this album addresses the idea of holiness and sin in the everyday life of a Christian. Sounds not so dated as the others and the great lyrical content manages to make it great.
5. It Happened To Me--This simple, and therefore undated, song continues the run of greatness started with track 3 by addressing very simply the salvation experience. Beautiful.
6. The Destination Is There--another very dated one, but again, the strong lyrical content overcomes that. Uplifting, inspiring, encouraging.
7. Fear Not My Child--Another beautiful song, albeit with a little help in the vocal department. Uplifting, touching, beautiful.
8. Love Can--Entirely forgettable song that addresses the usual tripe about love bringing everyone together. Like we needed another song from the eighties about that. ;)
9. The Champion--The title song, with good reason, is a typical Carman epic, going for something over eight minutes. A strong message and a typically uplifting and inspiring ending to the song do not excuse it's extreme length.
All in all, the album starts out weak, segues into a sustained run of greatness in the middle, weakens briefly and then punches back with a pumped up finale that turns out to be, in retrospect, just a little too pumped up for it's own good, if you get my drift.
Carman is obviously Charismatic Sep 1, 2002
John F. MacArthur's book "Charistmatic Chaos" has helped me revaluate the dake-bonoist doctrine expressed by this work. My previous endorsements must be considered null and void. I cannot promote the errors within.
the #1 song sets the stage for the album May 8, 2002
"Prepare to Die" is the first song on the album. Carman wrote this song after a brief conversation with Rev. Dake (author of the Dake Study Bible). Dake was sick and Carman was trying to help Dake prepare for the afterlife through a song of encouragement. Fortunately the only thing that afflicted Dake at the time was a bad case of the gout; Dake ended up living quite a few years after that.
Carman wrote this song (a fact unknown to many people) when he was only 5 years old. He dictated the words to his mother because he could not yet write.
Take this glimpse into Carman's earliest beginnings in Dake-Bonoism and cherish it.