Chris Tomlin is a great worship leader who is also a great song writer and a budding guitarist. I've always been a big fan of his work because his songs are easy to play and therefore great for worship leading. On his CD's you will always find he's singing it at capo 4-5 because he likes to sing high, but if you tone it back down, his songs are great for (normal) people.
I picked up the special edition of this album because it had a few extra tracks -- 3 "unplugged" tracks, and 2 completely new songs. I must say that getting the SE of the album was worth it because the final song "Over Me" has become one of my favorites.
This bit may come as a surprise and you may be thinking: "What, eBrian being critical? Against Chris Tomlin? No way!".
I'm slowly finding that, to me, Chris Tomlin (and this totally just my opinion) is starting to sell out or is in danger of doing so. What does it mean to sell out in a Christian context.. of course I'm not saying he's gone secular. I mean this in the kindest possible way because I'm a huge HUGE Tomlin fan, but if you look at his track record of late, it seems like a whole lot of self-promotion going on. Again I could completely wrong about this and maybe my views are way off and incorrect, but to me a worship leader is about writing songs for people to use to worship with. When an artist starts putting out "Greatest Hits" albums, "..in Concert", or "The Early Years" albums, then it's no longer new songs popping out, it's re-packaging old songs into different profit-inducing self promotional material. Granted I'm sure the proceeds go to very charitable if not God-driven ministries. I'm just sayin'.
Anyway, back to the album itself. The album itself is good. There are definitely a few songs that can be used for worship -- "Made To Worship", "Everlasting God" (one of my favorites), "Glorious", "Rejoice", "How Can I Keep From Singing". I really like the last one, it's based off an old hymn and basically redone, and it sounds great. Also one of my favorites is "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)", he basically does Amazing Grace but added a tag to it that makes it sound a little more contemporary and actually really fun to sing.
Overall, I would say this album is missing the kind of "Oomph" that the last album had. I remember listening to "Arriving" for the first time and being completely blown away with the lyrics of "Indescribable", and just playing it over and over and ignoring the rest of album for weeks, and then getting blown away for each song going forward. "Arriving" stayed in my car's CD player for at least 5-6 months before I got tired of it. Whereas "See The Morning" lasted about 2 weeks, and then I went into a rock phase and bought Guns N Roses.
In that sense "See The Morning" certainly has some great songs, there aren't any of those songs that you hear and go "Wow.. what a song. He is so right.." and prompt you to do some self-reflection or break out in prayer and thanksgiving. Perhaps another way to look at it, is that I didn't even bother to post any songs or lyrics up from the album.
So, a breakdown (I'm going to start using a scale for these).
Creativity (5/10) - Most of the songs sound very close to the previous stuff that we've heard from Tomlin.
Worshipability (8/10) - Songs are easy to play and can be used for worship on Sundays or fellowship. Not very many "fun" songs for jamming.
Value (8/10) - Although I did get more songs for the Special Edition, I also paid $27.
Longevity (6/10) - Perhaps because the songs all sound the same, there's nothing particular memorable about this album. When I started writing this review, I was listening to the album, but halfway through I got tired of it and switched to another band altogether. (Which also means another review is coming soon.)
Intangibles (10/10) - This is a fake category for me to boost an album's ratings. Haha.. but seriously this is about the packaging. I'm a big proponent of buying CDs and not mp3s. The album cover is nice, lyrics are neatly printed out. Also the special edition gives a 20 minute video of Tomlin, talking about his inspirations for many of the songs on the CD.